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Submitted on
September 16, 2010
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Hey guys, for a long time now a sort of drama has been unfolding between myself and another deviantart user, Luisa Rafidi (now known as lulles). The only reason I bring this up is because, as Luisa herself mentioned in a journal entry she wrote a little while back, many people have been sending notes about it to both of us. The issue is that many people feel that Luisa is copying me - not just my artwork but also my layouts and overall web activities - and want to give me a heads up about it. Luisa's journal entry is intended to clear up the situation and to state that she will work on the problem, but since then I have still received notes on the issue (relating to her latest blog post). Also, since the journal does not represent my feelings on the matter at all, I want to write my own journal entry in order to clear things up from my side.

First of all, for those who have sent me notes on this issue, I really appreciate it. I get notes all the time about my artwork being 'stolen'. Sometimes (most of the time, even) this is the case, such as my artwork being used for layout templates or being sold on ebay. Sometimes it's not the case at all. These are just people expressing concern over whether my artwork is being used in a fair way, and I appreciate the gesture, even though sometimes this concern is unjustified. Here on the web it's hard to keep track of what's happening with your work and it's great to see people looking out for eachother; I have done the same myself for other artists in the past.

As for my side of the story, let me begin by saying this: I'm not posting this journal with the intention of starting some kind of feud. I do not want people to stick up for me or, worse yet, go after Luisa. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. I don't want to start any heated discussions or fights. I simply want to explain this situation from my perspective, since I have never addressed this issue openly (with the exception of a few angry twitter messages) and the only journal entry that does (Luisa's) gives the wrong impression of the situation, in my opinion.  

To begin with, Luisa states that "it all started with a blog layout and tutorial" and mentions that a few of her art pieces incidentally resemble mine, and leaves it at that. This is not how I experienced it. It did begin with layouts, since she modeled her website after one of my old designs and then proceeded to literally copy/paste all of my CSS coding from my blog into hers, after which I contacted her and asked her to stop. She said she understood and indeed stopped copy/pasting, opting instead for eyeballing which resulted in almost identical designs anyway. Let me be clear, however: blog designs are not a big issue to me. Sure, I find it irritating when someone copies my layout without crediting me, but it doesn't bother me that much and I can move on.

However, around the same time, her artwork began to look a lot like my own as well. Of course, we are all influenced by other artists. However, few of us can say that we are influenced by one artist alone and seek to imitate their work almost completely, which I felt was the case with some of Luisa's work. Again, though, not the first time this has happened to me and I can live with it. If it bothers me a lot, I talk about it with that artist, which I did with Luisa. However, nothing changed.

And then came all of the extra details. Her facebook profile page suddenly contained almost the exact biography. Her F.A.Q had the same design, structure, and CONTENT: literally the same topics which she claimed were frequently asked to her. She began joining all the websites that I had accounts on, including vimeo, where she began posting progress videos of her artwork within days that I had done this exact same thing. Her profile information on these pages were freakishly similar to my own. Link buttons and website graphics which were almost identical to mine appeared on her sites. Her website biography had the same structure, length, and even identical sentences to my own. And the most agitating thing of all was that if I changed something, within a few days Luisa changed it too, which made me feel, honestly, like I was being stalked.

I began to get pretty angry about the issue. Every time I received a note alerting me to these things I would get really upset, I simply don't know how else to put it. Not just angry but offended and hurt. I had tried to sort it out with Luisa many times, by talking with her through e-mail and deviantart notes, and she always seemed understanding. However, her behavior only seemed to show that she did not understand at all, and I had given up on trying to talk to her about it since it yielded no results and drained my energy. I tried to completely ignore the problem.

That is the main issue which I feel isn't addressed in Luisa's journal entry. This is not just a fellow deviant who has been 'inspired' by me. Honestly, I have seen many people here inspired by my work, just as I have been hugely inspired by others, and I must say that 'inspiration' is very different. Luisa has been imitating me. Not just my work, but my words, my designs, my activities. It is very severe and I have never experienced something like this before.

The second thing in Luisa's journal which I absolutely don't agree with is her statement: "This is mine and Loish's problem." She makes it sound like she and I are sorting this out and that everyone else should mind  their own business in the meantime. Let me be clear: she and I are NOT sorting this out. I tried to talk about it with her so many times, with so little result, that I just gave up. Since then, I recceived two notes from other people who were clearly speaking on her behalf, one of them asking me if I could fix the situation of people sending her notes and later adding that Luisa is too scared to talk to me herself. Although I understand that Luisa is overwhelmed by this situation (that she caused herself), she has no reason to be scared of me. If she cannot bring herself to talk to me directly, then she shouldn't write a journal making it appear as if we are sorting things out. This is far from the truth.

Most importantly, she should not blame those people who are sending her and I notes or tell others to just "mind their own business." I feel quite strongly that the only person who can solve this issue is Luisa, and not by writing evasive understatements in her journal and telling others to shut up, but by facing her problem and admitting to her behavior. Luisa herself has admitted to me that things like this have happened to her before. This is the time for her to open her eyes and develop a healthy attitude towards digital art and promoting it online, to develop her own voice and learn to express herself and not imitate others.

I hope this makes my side of the story clear. In Luisa's journal she also states that she will work on this problem and that there are no need to send notes anymore, statements which I completely support. By writing this journal, I'd like to put an end to my involvement in this whole situation and just move on. Anyone who notes/comments/emails about this in the future will simply be provided a link to this journal so that I don't have to put any more time into explaining what is going on, and hopefully this whole problem will be nonexistent soon. Thanks for reading!
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:iconcalliope5:
Calliope5 Featured By Owner May 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Took me long enough to find this journal entry but now I'm glad I did. Thanks for the explanation, not that it was necessary but it certainly helps me understand why yelling ensued when I commented on one of her "pieces". Meh, anyways, good luck with that jazz.
Reply
:icontare-musume:
tare-musume Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That sucks.  I saw her stuff and the thought crossed my mind to note you.  But my friend linked me this journal.  I would be more okay with the obvious style similarity if she would just credit you as the source for her inspiration and call her stuff a study on your art style, but she doesn't.  She disables comments too, which i thought was interesting.  Sorry this is happening  :\
Reply
:iconannezca:
annezca Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012   General Artist
I had seen her works before, and since I admire you a lot, I instantly recognized the style. Sometimes, trying to imitate at one point can be benificial to an artist who is learning (in which I thought what she was doing at first and made no big deal out of it, since at the beginning, even if she was trying to copy your style, yours definitely way beyond the level), but not deviating from it is what make it not good. I didn't know she tried copying everything about you, even if copying is the highest for of flattery, I feel bad about this situation. Let's put it this way, you are the original, and she made herself the pirated/fake copy.

I feel for you.
Reply
:iconmesononso:
mesononso Featured By Owner May 20, 2012
I know you're urging everyone to stop updating you about the matter but I just thought you should know that Luisa posted a journal about you only a month ago titled "About Loish" [link] (Funnily enough the journal itself is kind of like an imitation of this one you posted 2 years ago)

Also something she painted in 2012 [link] which she describes as "Overcoming hardships" is freakishly similar to your [link] which you have described as "a desire to move forward from events".

She obviously hasn't let go of the matter and is in fact still imitating you. But I guess it wasn't as bad as 2 years ago.

Sorry for digging this up but it was just unfair to see her continue what she was doing after 2 years and also slandering your name in that journal post.
Reply
:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
thanks for letting me know! but don't bother getting worked up about it, i've learned that it is just not worth it ;)
Reply
:iconjamesdenton:
JamesDenton Featured By Owner May 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Not dragging old business up or anything, but I picked up May's issue of ImagineFX and she's featured in it.
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:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner May 23, 2011
i appreciate what you're trying to do but i'd really rather not hear any more updates on her :] i just want to forget it and leave it behind me. nothing personal against you, just letting you know!
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:iconjamesdenton:
JamesDenton Featured By Owner May 23, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hey no sweat. Didn't know if you cared or not. Wasn't trying to stir anything up. :)
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:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner May 24, 2011
:)
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:iconspawnofjaws:
spawnofjaws Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2010  Student
I hate to sound like a debbie downer, but are you sure she isn't, like, stalking you? D:
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:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2010
no idea, but i consider this issue settled either way!
Reply
:iconspawnofjaws:
spawnofjaws Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2010  Student
Phew! I'm glad to hear that!
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:iconkitton:
kitton Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I have to say... the most sickening thing is the people trying to defend her. I mean I get that everyone wants to help a friend in need, but I wish people just wouldn't feel the need to get involved. If you don't know all of the facts and details, then the only contribution you can make is argue how much or little she is actually ripping you off, which is moot both bceause it's subjective but also because it doesn't deprive from the crime (that is a strong word) itself. It would be like arguing over how you murdered someone. Sure slipping them a pill isn't as violent as shooting them in the face but you still killed them so discussing how humane the way you did it relatively pointless and uncessary.

All of those people defending her would probably feel differently if they actually understood what had actually happened. Talk about putting your foot in your mouth.

But I will let it go because I'm sure you want to focus on bigger and better things. On that subject, I am currently living in Vancouver and you and Arjhun are more than welcome to come and visit me whenever you get the chance!

PS come on chat more often wtf!
Reply
:iconarshesnei:
arshesnei Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010
I'm not surprised. I mean there are a lot of people who defend Jessica Elwood for all the BS she did and still owes thousands in commissions.

The problem is "social networking" is bullshit, "friends" means really little as people really do not know each other.

You also have fans that are rabid one way or the other.

You can only hope to just associate with those that are more logical or use more common sense about matters.
Reply
:iconkitton:
kitton Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I have no idea who this Jessica Elwood is, I do feel pretty out of the loop cannot lie :0
Reply
:iconarshesnei:
arshesnei Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010
She is/was pretty popular on Deviantart. There's an ED article on her now, but she used to pretend she was dome blond Jewish girl from Mexico and even posted fake camwhore pics (stealing someone else's photos - some she did commission but not all). She then took a lot of people's money for commissions claiming computer problems but spent them on expensive swords and anime resin kits. Many commissioners still haven't received their commissions after 2 years. You may recognize her art when you see her page since it used to be on the front of DA a lot. :iconjessicaelwood:
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:iconkitton:
kitton Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Huh thats so sad for those people.. but no, never seen her stuff before haha!
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:iconniruf:
niruf Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010  Professional General Artist
wow..freaky! disadvantages of being an artist who's not only good at what they do, but shares tips and is so accessible...
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:icongunnergurl:
GunnerGurl Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah it's too bad because she clearly has enough technical skill to be her own artist with her own style, but clearly lacks the confidence to do so.
I, like everyone else, take loads of inspiration from others, but at the end of the day, I want people to like my art because it is mine, not because of how much it looks like someone else's.
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:iconb1nd1:
B1nd1 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
I don't understand how some people are defending her actions? Honestly, if she were as original as some people claim, this would NOT be an issue right now.

I see people jacking your style all the time, and yet this girl is the only one to have her own journal entry about it so far. You're not one to jump on someone for nothing, and people should realize that. She crossed a line. Anyone would feel violated and uncomfortable in your position.

Her behavior in mimicking you sounds really unhealthy and I hope she can come out the other side of this pre-teen identity crisis.
Reply
:iconkamehamehaa:
KAMEHAMEHAA Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2010
Dang creepy..
Reply
:iconvenikins:
Venikins Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I wish you luck & many blessings on this endeavor. :)
Reply
:iconodanishii:
Odanishii Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
eeeeeeek! I have to admit, i also tryed to imitate your awesome work, but never that far! Ha ha its like having a Mini me! I wouldnt know what to do if that happened to me!... May the force be with you! :P
Reply
:iconcri-kee:
Cri-Kee Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I had no idea this was happening. I hope the issue will be solved soon and you can move on :)
Reply
:iconchryloch:
chryloch Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2010
Wow... maybe it's a bit of a stretch to say this, but it sounds like she's almost attempting to steal your (artistic) identity. It's unfortunate that she isn't able to develop her own unique style and has resorted to this... especially to this extent. This definitely isn't called being "inspired". :| You're handling the situation so well! Props to you for having put up with this kind of behaviour and moving on! She can sure try to imitate you, but we know you're the original, one and only. :)
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:iconfeozzyblack:
FeOzzyBlack Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2010
Loish, as a guy here said to you... you don't have to worry about it. Your style is very very unique, and no one will ever be as good as you on it, just because of the simple fact that... well, they're not you :)t a
Sometimes I also get inspired by your work, I admit it... but on a healthy way, I guess... but a person can only master on her own style. Maybe this girl got lost trying to find her own style...
I hope this unpleasant situation changes, although. You'll be fine now! Congrats on your pieces, they're are really beautiful.
Reply
:iconm-ra:
M-ra Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
of course we imitate our favorite artists but doing exactly what they do is really weird :).
Reply
:iconjumei:
Jumei Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
imitating IS doing exactly what others do...
Reply
:iconm-ra:
M-ra Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yessir! i should say we inspire from our idol artists :).
Reply
:iconavalanchepark:
avalanchepark Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
saddened by this and wishing for a new day ahead
Reply
:icongraymary:
graymary Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
man, that's wild. :/
Reply
:iconsweets-buttons:
sweets-buttons Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Hmm, that sounds sort of odd, that you contacted her so many times and she hasn't stopped. Then again, you can't really get angry at someone for joining the same websites, but... this all seems a bit overwhelming. I'm going to take a look at her blog. *shrug*
Reply
:iconrosella-of-daventry:
Rosella-of-Daventry Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
That is freakishly weird, my friend. Hopefully she will come to a realization about this, like you said. I will be hoping for the best. :3
Reply
:iconjumei:
Jumei Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
About copycats... I used your CV as an example for mine. I liked the simpleness of it. :')
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:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2010
you bitch!!!! (kidding...)
i used a friend's CV as an example for mine. haha
Reply
:iconjumei:
Jumei Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Haha! I guess we all peek at other people's stuff for inspiration all the time. :')
Reply
:iconelisw:
elisw Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
Hugs Loish!
Reply
:iconmmxii:
MMXII Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I know how that is. I've been in the same situation before. Same thing, they started off as "being inspired by me" and then they literally started to imitate everything I did, and even the way I looked. It was scary, sick, and effing annoying.

I tried to report the fact that they were stealing my art style. Because like you said in the journal, there's a difference between getting inspired, or being influenced by someone else's style, and literally COPYING it. This person even told me "I want to master your style". When I tried to report it, more specifically as "intellectual property theft", I was dissed and told to "take it as a compliment that someone wants to imitate me and be like me". I say fuck it.

I obviously couldn't rely on the authorities to do something for me, so the only way I was able to fix it was speak directly to the person, and straight out tell them to stop doing it. Luckily, it seems like they indeed stopped doing it, but apparently it took them a long time to actually fully understand what they were doing was wrong, and took them a while to apologize.

I'm sorry this is happening to you, I know it's really frustrating. But well, my advice is to resume attempts to work it out directly with her. Good luck with everything.
Reply
:iconlassebauer:
LasseBauer Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
Honestly, I donīt think you have anything to worry about.
Sure, itīs odd, weird and far out that someone wants to copy everything you do, as it sounds like.

But from my POV her style hasnīt matured and you are in a completely different league than her.
You have a unique and recognizable coloring, composition and lighting style - she doesnīt.
Donīt sweat it. People who follow in other peopleīs footsteps will never get in front.

Take this as a weird compliment from her, and focus on your amazing art :o)
Reply
:iconthe-pythoness:
the-pythoness Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
This sounds like Luisa is stalking you, and that she's either being very callous and manipulative and underhanded about it, (the way she manipulates your feelings in her notes and PM and stuffs) or she's a bit unstable, and has taken to imitating you in a bit of a stalkerish way.

This happened to a friend of mine, except it wasn't on deviantART but in real life. This girl used to put my friend down, and get mad at her for copying her, when in reality this copycat was borrowing her clothes and makeup style and hobbies, and imitated her by liking the same videogames and getting accounts on deviantART and livejournal and imitating her posts and interests of the moment. This girl denied copying my friend all the way through, and people used to look at both girls and get them confused all the time, which depressed my friend a little/lot depending on the day. She tolerated it until the copycat started going out with an ex boyfriend of her's, at which point she cut off contact nearly completely.

I don't have too much to add to what you've been doing already to help, but I think you can take comfort in the fact that you are a badass and you have tons of people on the internet backing you up. ;)

We got your back, loish! :)
Reply
:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
wow. what a sad story! i hope your friend is doing okay!
Reply
:iconthe-pythoness:
the-pythoness Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
Yeah. It happened a while ago :\ She's all better now.
Reply
:iconsucka-fish:
Sucka-Fish Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wish her luck in the future. I used to be, and still am, greatly inspired by you. But there is nothing more accomplishing than taking the sum of all of your inspirations and finding your own unique method of creating art; something that feels uniquely "you." I hope that day will come and I hope that she won't fight against it. :)
Reply
:iconbabycalliope:
babycalliope Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
You are handling this so professionally and are incredibly humble. It's one of the many reasons I admire you, and I would only hope that I would react as calmly and collective as you in a similar situation. I know this will work itself out, just keep up the amazing work and know that your work is your work. No one elses'.
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:iconpepsicolatier:
pepsicolatier Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
No one (or at least, most dArtists) is a stranger to art, or even style theft. Many (famous) people have encouraged people to copy, actually, because it improves your art on very many levels (and I am no stranger to that)

This situation is, admittedly, a little creepy. To me, on your side, it seems as if she is masking herself with your face. To me, on her side, everything seems quite unintentional (to an extent). Although, she lacks information about copying the content of practically everything you post. I'm talking facebook profiles, FAQs, etc. You completely covered every topic between the two of you, while she is missing some. Therefore, I'm leaning towards the fact that she is either incompetent and a very strange thief, or just a very strange thief.
Reply
:iconloish:
loish Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
i think she was just tired when she wrote her journal and neglected to mention a lot of details (she said herself that there was no need to go into detail). i didn't agree with her though. but as far as i know she is committed to fixing this problem :]
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:iconpepsicolatier:
pepsicolatier Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
At least she's reasonable (to an extent). Unlike those other art thieves out there *shudder*
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:iconmartinhoulden:
martinhoulden Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional General Artist
WAHT
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:iconsaray:
saray Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010
Wow, that's really crazy. And creepy.
I hope this will resolve itself, I can imagine the stalkerish feeling.

Thumbs up for the way you're handling the situation :)
Reply
:iconskaffa:
skaffa Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
INTERNET HATE MACHINE GO GO GO GO GO GO
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