If you don't share your story, people will make one up for you. Advice from a wise woman I used to work with.
In the past week, there have been allegations that I plagiarized the work of a fellow artist, which I take seriously. As the attacks, harassment, and negative comments rolled in, with a broken heart, I mulled over what I wanted to say on the matter.
First and foremost, the work of Angélica Beccera is beautiful, and I have the utmost respect for her as an artist. The truth, however, is that I was not made aware of Angélica's work until recently, and my work was in no way inspired by hers. Not only am I one of many artists who are making conceptually similar pieces, my idea to paint these women came organically. As the political stirrings of our nation in the last year left me feeling restless, I was compelled to speak up for women and to promote kindness in the process. I have worked with watercolor and ink pen for some time and have always found it to be a cathartic medium, so it was a fitting choice for my artwork.
I initially shared my art online to spread the empowering messages and words of these women, and never dreamed of what that could become. I then made my designs available for free download prior to the Women's March in January, and I was stunned to see images of women all around the world holding my designs on posters. As I received more requests for my artwork, I made it available in an online store to create a continuous donation to organizations I wanted to support. It all seemed like a natural progression, and the fusion of art and impact.
I am a half Mexican, half Polish/Italian woman, and proud of that. I am also no stranger to the racism and feelings of subversion of being judged for one's cultural background and recognize the inherent privilege I have as a white-passing woman. That is why the focus of my artwork is to lift up marginalized voices and share their words. I would never contribute to the facilitation of the theft of WoC and disregard for another artist of which I'm being accused.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. My hope is that we can move as a united front with respect and support for all artists. I will continue working towards spreading messages of unity and kindness through my illustrations.
Update 4/18/17: My management team and I have never been directly contacted by the artist and have yet to receive any response to an invitation to discuss the matter directly in a constructive, professional way.