Maybe I'm not too sensitive, maybe you're just a dickhead?
Sophie King first caught my eye when her “stop telling girls that boys are mean to them because they like them’ jacket stopped me in my midmorning scroll. TRUTH served right there and it hit me hard. I remember telling my own little babe this exact thing when a tiny little asshole started to push her around at school. On seeing Sophie’s work, I immediately realised how programmed women are from an early age to accept that as gospel. ‘Oh, he must like you!’ being such an embedded phrase in our vocabulary is a super dangerous way to raise our girls and diminishes the need for little boys to be held accountable for their behaviour.
We’ve got to give ourselves a massive shake to get this archaic language out of our system for good.
Through her work, Sophie uses embroidery as a powerful tool to communicate important messages about the world she recognises. She uses textiles, paper and rose petals as her canvas - each encapsulating the message she serves.
Exploring themes involving psychological trauma, emotional wellbeing and rebirth Sophie examines the issues women face day to day. Her work is a juxtaposition between delicate beauty and harsh reality. The most delicate of the rebels we love.
That jacket that caught my eye led me to this article by Sophie. I see that image all over my Insta feed ALL of the time. It’s shared far and wide and often uncredited. Sophie shares how this ‘adoption’ of images affects her.
**It’s worth noting that this article was published with Sophie’s permission FYI.
I can’t speak for everyone but I think most artists have no issue with their artwork being shared online, as long as they’re clearly credited. Of course, it’s all down to personal preference and artists are at liberty to not want their work shared, even with credit so it’s always a good idea to ask for their permission first.
My issue is when people, especially accounts with large followings, brands, businesses and so forth, take images without giving credit to the rightful owner.
When you share work online without crediting the artist, it creates so many issues for them.
As soon as artwork enters a public space without a clear owner, individuals and companies believe it’s up for grabs for themselves. Like a thief that enters a park and sees a handbag left on a bench, even though they must know it has an owner, they take it anyway. In their eyes it’s there’s now.
I’ve heard every excuse you can think of for why they didn’t bother to credit. “Well it’s the artists fault for putting your work out on the internet, what did you expect? Everyone does it.” WRONG.
When artists publish their artwork online, they mainly do so on their own website or social media accounts. In doing so, they're clearly stating "this is mine".
The issue is when people take their artwork from their website or social media accounts and don't clearly state whose it is or where it came from. You're effectively taking the ‘bag’ from someone's home, and leaving it on the park bench yourself for thieves to nick. You're assisting the crime. “I found it on Tumblr/Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter without credit, I didn’t know it was yours” WRONG.
The internet isn’t some generator of free anonymous artwork, all the images you find online have an owner. If you don’t know who the artist is, it’s your responsibility to do due diligence and find them. If you can’t find them, don’t post their work, it’s so simple.
There is a direct correlation between artwork being shared online without credit and brands ripping off said work. It’s happened to me several times, brands (Missy Empire, Alien Outfitters, the list goes on…) post my work to their social media, see the interest it generates from their followers and rip it off a month later.
When they post images of my work without credit, they’re misleading their followers and suggesting it’s actually their design. When their followers ask if they’re selling it, they don’t correct them, in fact, many times I’ve seen brands go along with it and tell them they’re selling it soon! They’re essentially testing market interest, they already know my design will be a hit before they take the risk of spending thousands of pounds ripping it off.
It’s so shady, which is why I think people should pay special attention to brands that post artists work without credit, you don’t want to support businesses that are fake.
When businesses use artist’s images as “content” for their social media, they're using our work as free marketing material to promote themselves. Offline, they’d have to pay thousands to create their own “content”, to pay for a studio, models, photographers, lighting assistants, editors and so on. I'm not asking for money, all I'm asking for is credit.
Brands taking other people’s work and using it to promote themselves is also detrimental to the meaning of their artwork. MacDonald's can't just take the Mona Lisa and stick it their Happy Meals. Brands need permission because artists might not want the message of their artwork to be associated with theirs.
Do you realise how shit it is to see my work posted without my permission by brands that only want to promote "girl power" because they think it's trendy? Then I get lumped in with their fake feminism. They preach #girlpower, until it comes to actually supporting women. There's nothing feminist about not giving women artists credit where credits due, taking advantage of them for your own benefit.
There’s also a whole online industry of people who run Instagram accounts that post solely other people’s images, to build a following and do sponsored posts or paid promotions. They’re indirectly making money out of artists, using their copyrighted material for free, without even bothering to credit them. None of their content is legally theirs, their account wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for artist’s images. It’s only fair they credit.
When such accounts post my work without credit, I often have to beg for attribution - they act like they’re doing me a favour by crediting me hours or days later, they really begrudge doing it. Most of the time they ignore me or their attitude is dismissive. They act so entitled to my work, I honestly think they believe it’s theirs.
Posting artists' work uncredited online is particularly detrimental for creatives just starting out. When your work gets spread without credit, no one knows it’s yours. That work gets ripped off by more well- known “artists” and people recognise it as theirs, not the original creator.
Young artists have to start over. As now people who come across their work will just assume they're ripping off the more well-known people, when in fact they're the original. Their style has become a "trend" that people are bored of, as they've seen it all before.
If you're an artist, do not underestimate the value of your work. You have every right to protect it. It’s yours, no matter how many times people attempt to undermine your right to ownership. Don't forget that you have something of value, that people will try to take for their own gain.
The internet is a great place to find new artists, who definitely wouldn't stand a chance in the traditional art world, let's not ruin it by sharing their work without attribution, making it harder again for them to get their name out there.