The Grey Area of Parallel Ideas, Influenced by, and Copying

This topic has been on my mind quite a bit…its come up both for us as Rogue Goat and for me personally ( check out my new site for paintings only It’s still needs some shaking out and pic’s of the new chicken series and the new rabbit litter).

Here is a bad pic of the new chicken paintings…these two are at the Arts Centre, the other ones’ go up at Espresso Post on Thursday.

It’s really hard to define a boundary or ownership of an  idea in the artistic world. Materials and process define so much of what is made, and that extra something that makes something unique is sometimes hard to pinpoint, even though you can see that it is there.

I mean, there is just the basic fact that the world is big and it just may happen that two people come up with the same idea, independently and with no intent to rip off one another. So what do you do when you do find out? Do you give up, let the person who started first have the field, or do you try to find a gentlemanly agreement that accommodates both of you, how do you deal with it?

As Rogue Goat, we have run into this with Billy Would. Billy Would is an amazing line created by Adea Chung. West coast based…check Adea out here So here’s the thing…we both make tree silhouette based accessories. Or rather, we both make  tree earrings and necklaces….after that the crossover isn’t very apparent. And we had no idea until a little while ago.

An awesome company called MariClaRo in Toronto, asked us to join them…and Billy Would is there too. I told Sven, the owner that I thought there was a bit of a crossover and that we would need to address that somehow…and its been on my mind since. Time to send Adea a message.:)

So…we didn’t know Billy Would existed, but we have a similar idea. Our processes are different…I’m guessing Billy Would is laser cut (Edit! We got a really nice message from Adea, and she doesn’t use lasers…she is just a scroll saw wizard)and Josh cuts Rogue Goat on a scroll saw. We put trees on everything, cuffs, bags, wall art , belts…Billy Would does just earrings and necklaces.So where is the line?

Sometimes just the materials themselves dictate a certain look. I’ve been making felted messenger bags with Rogue Goat wooden medallions on them. I didn’t invent upcycling sweaters into bags. A friend of mine, the lovely in person and lovely as a painter/creator  Kaz Jones, makes them too, so do lots of people.There just isn’t a proprietary right to felting sweaters.Her style is different than mine, but we are in the same show right now, so I dropped the bags.No big deal. Kaz…

I had this idea to package Rogue Goat accessories for Christmas in old mason jars…and the other day Jenna Rose (I LOVE HER! I LOVE HER!!) posted this on facebook.

My artwork is process driven (Step 1, step 2, step 3), with identifiable materials (resin, japanese paper) and the combination of process, materials, text and image is what makes my work me. But the materials aren’t exclusive to me, the process is easily copied as a style….but I think here, it’s the text that is significant. So, if someones uses resin and japanese paper, I don’t care at all. If they use words, use resin and japanese paper, charcoal, splatters and an image…then can I get mad? Still not really, probably…maybe…right?

So here’s my newly made list of “Things That Allison and Josh Would Consider to Be Signs That You are an Idea Rip Off Slug”

For Rogue Goat :

If you stole our branding and or display aesthetic, which we work really, really hard on.

Here’s a pic of our most recent booth design

You used the exact same combination of materials, the same way, in the same array of goods.

For Me:

You used my words.

Here’s some of the drapery and upholstery end bags I’ve been making.

^ Our new Rogue Goat tags from scrap fabric

So…Sugar Plum Fair in Alliston coming up this weekend. Hope to see you there! Bring an old pure wool sweater and get $5 off!

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