I've been giving this a lot of thought in recent weeks - and months. Where does "art" come from? Maybe I should use capital letters instead of quotes.
I've always felt that the artist was a conduit for the creation, and that no matter the skill set the artist had or worked to acquire, that the work came through that person from the universe. We're not islands. We're not alone. We're taught our various skills - and we're affected by our teachers and those we admire whether we want to admit it or not. The spiritual "we're all one" taken in yet another way. And the personal belief that I've always carried inside that true creation can only truly come from the original creator. There are no atheists in the art studio - even if their "g*d" is just their muse - or their drive to MAKE IT.
Now I do think that there will always be people who take their admiration of someone else's output to the extreme - copying to the point that more folks than just the copied artist can perceive the product as outright theft. Probably this is conditional, inspired by a lack of confidence or belief in one's own creative voice. It may even be as base an impulse as "this person's work sells - I can make the same thing and sell it cheaper." And with the Internet, it's far more likely that the crafts person doing the "inspired" work will be caught out as an imitator.
I love Jillian's take on it - (links to the right) her unwillingness to expend the energy - or allow the negativity to effect her (as more than a momentary irritation). I can also understand the outrage of the artist who has spent years developing a style and a voice when presented with work that can't possibly be anything but a copy - especially when even the signature seems to be "inspired."
I'm reminded of the comment a very good Buddhist friend once made (Mike is now a form of energy and spirit I can no longer touch).
"Don't make it about you and it can't possibly hurt you." And "it?" Can be almost anything.
We can only control our reactions to people and situations. Try to react with love and empathy always and it will be the larger part of what you receive in return.
And I'm not saying there's not a time and place for righteous indignation and rage. Even Jesus tossed tables around like a New Jersey housewife when he was really pissed - but it was on behalf of the exploited, not in his own defense.
Can I do this? Not even close. According to some faiths, I'm set for reincarnation. I'd rather try to learn it now than redo junior high.