It's a difficult time for everyone trying to make it on their own two feet in any sort of business at the moment. The market in every direction is flooded. You have to stand out.
But one area that's certainly having a very tough time (more so than it already was) is start up artists and designers.
How do you get your work seen and get fans, traction as an artist? In an age where almost everything visual is expected to be given away free online it's pretty tough to get out there without risking your work being knicked or used in ways you are not happy about.
I remember working with photographers who had seen their pictures on T-Shirts in Camden Market, also people who had sent artwork and ideas to large brands only to hear nothing, yet see their ideas play out on those brands shelves months later. Just recently a really cool custom pin/badge creator found their designs being sold under a different name by a large brand. This is not cool.
You HAVE to get your work out there. That's obvious. And you HAVE to put some trust in the people out there not to steal or rip off your idea. You won't get anywhere if you keep all your thoughts and creations hidden away on your hard drive.
And sadly you HAVE to be prepared for the potential of your work being used/copied.
So the logical step is to speak out, shame the people (so long as you are sure of course) that steal or rip off your work. Promote them to your following if you find them - get it out there and talk about it.
And brands and companies that are guilty - think about it - would you not rather collaborate and work with these talented people rather than be underhand? How much further it could go if you worked together and could use the source of the creativity rather than a copy?
We have a project in the making that will aim to help tackle this problem for the creative start ups and artists coming up the ladder.
In the mean time this is a great podcast from Artsy that takes a look at some of these problems in more depth :