Friday, October 7, 2011

Good News, Bad News, and a *peaceful* Happy Ending

An eloquent and worthy Pledge
***please click here!***
For some time now, I have alluded to some ‘big news’ that I was anxious to share with you. I can well imagine you wondering “what’s the big deal? …just tell us, already!” …after all, big news is big news, right!? Why not shout it from the roof-tops? Well… that’s where we veer wildly from the path of ‘normal’ Big News onto the rough and rocky trail of Big News with some particularly odd omissions. In the inimitable words of Uncle Tam, "I've about got brain fever from it all." (Bob Dollar's uncle in Annie Proulx's ever-so-excellent That Old Ace in the Hole)   SO… let’s do it the old-fashioned way, shall we? From the beginning.

ATC - "What Happens @ Art & Soul..."
#1 (back) and #2 (front) of 13
February, 2010
In August of this year, an author whose work I have followed for several years announced, on her Facebook (FB) page, that a ‘sneak peek’ of her latest book was available at Amazon.com. Having the first two books in this series, I headed on over to check it out. Upon reading through the first few pages available on the preview, I encountered a page that featured *rather prominently* an image of the ATC that I had made for the event. First reaction: *w00t!* “WOW, my ATC is in the BOOK!” …only natural, right? I returned to FB to say pretty much the same thing! …returning then to the Amazon preview, I scrolled down to the next page. 'Whoa!' The pin I created for the same event was also in the book. Back to FB, again, *now giddy!* “OMG, the pin, TOO?!” I was *quite obviously* very excited!


PIN - "Lucky Notions"
#12 of 13
February, 2010
After bouncing off the walls for a few *okay, several more than actually called for* minutes, grinning like a fool, I was asked a simple, and very logical question by my Beloved: “Did she give you credit?” Nothing out of the way, there - I clicked on the link for the Index… Nope, nothing by name… I chalked it up to that particular page not being included in the preview. I had every confidence that once I got the book *actually held it in my hands,* all of my questions would be answered. Alas, after receiving the book, my question remained. *really? No mention at all?* Oh, and for extra measure: I also discovered, upon holding this treasure in my own hands, one of my pieces was also included in the collage that comprised the cover design – oh, my!

There, in a nutshell, is the ‘why’ behind my not shouting from the roof-tops. I mean, if you weren’t one of the roughly four dozen people who received one of my offerings, these images of my artwork could belong to anybody (?) If I were to attempt to build on this accomplishment, how, when my work is clearly not attributed to me?
   A dilemma, to be sure.

I had to sit for a bit, and give this a good think. After all, we are talking about someone whom I have respected – someone whose work I have enjoyed and followed for years -- someone for whom our Guild has hosted a book signing – someone who has been very vocal about the misrepresentation of the work of other artists. This had to be a mistake! …Right? Deciding to approach this at the source, I wrote an old-fashioned letter – you know: printed on paper, signed with my favorite fountain pen, sent in the mail (copying the Editor). In her reply to my letter (via e-mail, also copying the Editor and Publisher), the author informed me of her “surprise at the formality of my letter and reference to [her] blog posts,” that she “had no part in choosing what went into designing the book and what did not,” and that “[w]e simply felt it was the most fair to not identify anyone.” 

Destination Creativity
Image:  Amazon.com
This is the same author who had recently intoned: “[t]he thing to keep in mind here is that we’re all part of a wonderful community, built on sharing ideas and inspiration, and that community depends on everyone, from instructors to students, editors to authors, artists to organizers, doing what they already know is the right thing to do.” Following that, within days, with: “Wow. We kind of have a lot to say about what’s right, what’s stealing, [and] what does and doesn’t belong to us, don’t we?” I acknowledge that she is, in these instances, referring to people portraying information and/or work that resulted from taking a class as their own. However, I could not see how one situation is, at its core, any different from the other.

I felt a distinct disconnect in what the author said to me vs. what she had previously stated in the public forum. So, in spite of having been told that I was the only person who had raised such question with the appearance of these works (mine and others) in the book, I persisted in my questioning. This persistence was rewarded with a reply from the Publisher, Christine Doyle of North Light Books. With a fair amount of stress and worry *on my part, anyway,* and a bit more correspondence, a resolution was reached that satisfied virtually everyone! I would like to emphasize that this situation was resolved without any ranting or epithet hurling in the vast reaches of the world wide interweb! There were no
intermediaries -no haranguing - no bombastic posturing. There was a civil exchange of reasoned discourse; through which, an amicable solution was proposed and executed. With additional thanks to Christine Doyle: 

 "I do want to give the artists who created these pieces the recognition they deserve. We, therefore, plan to include the following on all future reprints of the book, on page 139, in place of some of the art in the lower right corner:

     Many thanks to the to the talented retreat-goers who made art pieces to trade with their fellow artist friends and whose striking pieces appear on the pages of this book, including Penny Arrowood, ([and]every other artist we can identify along with page number of where their art appears).   

In the meantime, until the next printing, we will create an addendum that we place on CreateMixedMedia and ShopMixedMedia that includes the above sentence.”

Please read additional details at Notes from the Voodoo Café and CreateMixedMedia.com.  Reciprocally, I would like to publicly state my thanks and sincere appreciation to both the author and the Publisher for the positive and expeditious outcome.
As so beautifully stated by Julie Prichard, it’s all about Respect.

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today: *
 "We are living art
created to hang on, stand up
forbear, continue,
and encourage others."
                                    - Maya Angelou

Photo Notes: 
     "Artists for Respect" badge available here - Read it, Love it, Share it!
     "Destination Creativity - Look Inside" image and link - Amazon.com
     "ATC" and "PIN" taken with Panasonic Lumix (DMC-ZS1) - set to natural light, auto flash.
     
* with special thanks to JR, MDP, and LS

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UPDATE (10/12/11):  The Addendum referenced above has been added to Create Mixed Media and to the book page at Shop Mixed Media (where you can find a .PDF as it will appear in future printings).  My sincere thanks to Christine Doyle for her assistance in this resolution.
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