Friday, January 11, 2013

We Have a Copier

Last post, I praised an Ebay artist for her lovely originality.

This post, I'm going to condemn an Ebay artist for her lack of originality, namely, copying another artist.

Specifically, copying my own sister, Leslie of Sands of Fire Dolls.

Yo. You don't do that, umkay?

For years, Leslie, and I lived under the same roof with our parents, grandma. Like one happy Greek family. Or something. People confuse the two of us all the time. About six times, I've had people excitedly email me, saying they'd finally acquired one of my dolls through a resale auction, only for me to have to tell them I didn't paint that doll. See, Leslie and I have similar artistic styles, from learning how to create OOAK dolls together. Plus we both have studio names that evoke the memory of a desert breeze in the middle of summer (Brutal Sun versus Sands of Fire). Oh. And obviously, we both inherited the surname Wagner, from our dad.

There, the similarities end.

I'm living alone on the Colorado range, fighting off snow, deer, and coyotes. She's living alone in Costa Rica, fighting off overly flirty seventy year old Latino men and massive spiders.

I got into selling dolls on Ebay a year or so before she did. But she's been way more prolific than me, and therefore, is better known.

My art is rigidly self-serving. Aside from my random animal sculptures and other odd artistic pieces, I seem to have to do the 'whole production'. You know, dolls with a costume, story, preferably a pet of some kind. Oh, and variety. I need lots of variety. Or else my artistic heart shrivels up and dies. What I do, is a ton of work for the money. And that's okay. My day job covers most the bills. Artistically, what matters to me is I'm having fun, and I'm proud of the things I make, despite what they sell for. On the other hand, Leslie's art is like water. She flows with the whims of the buyers, painting endless repaints for them. In doing this, she makes a full living.

I prefer the 1/6 scale. She prefers the 1/5 scale.

I've never done a commission a day in my life, and I doubt I ever will. Leslie, on the other hand, buries herself with them. Then she swears she won't do any more commissions. Only to bury herself in them again. All my previous posts I did on commissions? Learned it watching her from an unsafe distance.

I need a place for everything, and everything has to be in its place. She's messy.

So anyway.

Back to when we were living under the same roof.

She did this awesome male repaint, named Shade. One of my favorite repaints of hers. I remember him well, because during his auction, she kept him on my bedroom dresser where he'd be safe (remember, she's messy--her own room was NOT safe). And perhaps keeping him safe was good intuition on her part. His auction ended well above $700. Soon after, she was offered lots of money by people wanting duplicates of him. But she refused. Said the buyer had bought a one-of-a-kind doll, and one-of-a-kind he would remain.

But apparently this lady named Annie Neeley, who sells under the Ebay ID amaangel03, felt the need to grab the opportunity Leslie turned away, by copying her doll. You can see a screen capture of the top of Annie's auction with this copied doll here.

Here's Leslie's doll (left), next to Annie's doll (right).

Slash mark across face? Check.

Scratches on right side of chest? Check.

Evil goatee? Check.

Dark tousled hair? Check.

Silver earring in left ear? Check.

Brooding brow? Check.

Small scar on lower left lip? Check.

Tormented green eyes, with washes of gothic red beneath them? Check.

Understandably, smoke streamed from my nostrils when I saw Annie's doll. I immediately wrote her this message (you can see a genuine screen capture of it here):

I have a question. Why is the doll on the top of this auction an exact clone of another artist's work?

It's unethical, and we buyers and other artists aren't going to put up with it. For the love of decency, take him off this auction, ASAP. If he's not off quickly, I can tell you what I'm blogging about tomorrow night on Ethique Sauvage ... here I'll be able to use a pic of your doll beside the original work, under the fair use law. Collectors and artists alike hate this behavior in the doll community. What you're doing is incredibly disrespectful towards the artist of the original, as well as her buyer, who is a big money collector in the doll community. It is also is pissing off her many fans. Fiercely loyal fans, who, no doubt, discovered this auction of yours.

I didn't know Annie from Adam, and was fully ready to back down, if she came across to me as apologetic. Some copycat artists are *somewhat* naive to the gravity of their sin, and do knock it off when confronted. But this is how she replied to me (screen capture here):

I have a question as to whether you are even a true artist... because you apparently don't know what an "exact clone" is.

Damn right you are. The only reason this doll isn't an exact copy of Shade is because you don't have Leslie's skill with a brush.

Maybe if you would devote more time trying to learn to repaint...

I need to learn to repaint? Okay, then. Help me out here. Below is a 1/6 scale doll I did last month, next to your 1/5 scale repaint. And don't say the glass eyes don't count. I spent hours painting them before capping them with a clear lens, and then beveled the doll's head for them. How many more faces do I need to do before I reach your mind-numbing level of talent? Please tell me! I'm desperate for skillz! Oh, and might I mention, this is the first face I've done in five years. Maybe if I wasn't so rusty, I'd come closer to your skill level?

you could sell your work instead of being so bitter about working in a machine shop for a living

Whoa. Bitter? Aren't you presumptuous. Today, I loaded thousands of pounds of steel onto a flatbed, and drove north to Wyoming to make a delivery, when a blizzard hit. My supervisor asked if I wanted to turn around and come back. I told him I'd make the delivery. And by golly, I did. Got the steel to its destination. And returned to Colorado. Among sliding semis, and horrible wrecks right and left. It was fun! I pretended I was Lisa from Ice Road Truckers. And the people up in the office cheered when I walked back in. Though, I'm sure your repainting adventures of the day were far superior to my work adventures of the day.

& also maybe you wouldn't spend so much of your time harassing other artists.

My days are so busy, it's not likely you could keep up with me. Yet I still have time to harass other artists.

You seem to have devoted a great amount of time in your writings trying to make yourself appear as an "authority" on all the ins and outs of repainting,

I sound like an authority because I am one. And if I sound arrogant, I'm a bit of that, too.

yet at the same time .. you cannot make a living doing it ? Hmmmmm .. seems very odd to me.

First of all. Can't, or won't? It's not my dream living. My dream living is becoming a novelist, and the pursuit of that takes up a good chunk of my time every week.

Second of all. No one can tell through spell check, and numerous revisions, but I'm severely dyslexic. Just like Leonardo Da Vinci. Who was renown for being a superb artist, but never a prolific one. To really succeed, OOAK artists have to put out constantly. And that, I can't do. Not without an incredible amount of effort on my part. Basically, I spend too much time designing each doll I make, starting from sketches, moving on to patterns, and then of course the repaint. And I rarely use the same pattern twice, for some reason. Oh, and then I obsess over trivial details, like parts of the doll no one's going to see. The doll above had amazing leather boots I spent hours making, but they were hidden by his gaiters and robe. Until I start making quality limited editions of my work, enabling me to design for a larger output, this is how it's going to be for me.

Last, but not least. A good percentage of my dolls are black. Sadly, because of racism, black beauty isn't as idolized as white beauty. Black dolls sell horribly. But that won't keep me from continuing to produce black dolls. It's just what I love doing.

My 3000 + feedback over the past 10 years far outweighs your 94 feedback ... which mostly consists of purchases and not sales.

Snort. What does Ebay feedback have to with being a good doll artist?

So you, in my opinion, are no one to be sending a message like this to me.

Wrong. You copied my sister. I AM the one to be sending this message to you.

I make my living doing this and you apparently can not. ( I detect a bit of a little green monster here.)

Sigh. If I were a copy editor, I'd cross out this line for redundancy.

I have had a direct clientele & fan base for many years, that far exceeds any work that I sell on Ebay.

Funny. There are emails in my inbox today, written by people who have dolls painted by you. They're saying their experiences with you were unpleasant.

It is very poor advice that you are giving new artists in telling them they should not take commission work....

Suit yourself.

so blog away

That's what everyone keeps telling me. Stuff along the lines of, "It's been so long since you last posted in your blog. When are you going to post something new? I'm booored!"

to your 13 members on the site you created, you may have them fooled but not me. I prefer to spend my time doing what I love doing, and not going to sites and blogging, dogging other artists, or sending harassing emails or messages to other artists. I do not take any instruction from amateurs


.. and my repaint cheap knock off of Leslie's work will remain as a sample of my work in my auction.

Which is exactly why you're on here. Those screen captures in this post, showing exactly what transpired between us? They could be up here for years. And I've linked to your Ebay ID, so even if you change your Ebay name, people will know who you are, what you did to an artist, and what you are capable of doing to other artists. Taste that? It's called being held accountable.

Furthermore, I personally do not have timeto have a battle of wits with an unarmed do not bother messaging me again as I will not respond.

I thought about sending you a message saying, 'Your episode has aired, baby.' But I don't see the need for it. I know you're reading this.

I am very sorry you are so bitter because you could not make it as a repaint artist ..but you should stop hating those of us who can.

Actually, I get along fine with the vast majority of artists out there. They don't copy better artist's work to make a quick buck. Also, they are relatively pleasant to deal with. And while many of them will not publicly support this blog, to protect their artistic reputations, they are reading this, and enjoying it. Because I'm sayin' the things they can't. Or so they tell me, in private.

I do however forgive you for your personal attack, your bitterness and your hostility... as I feel sorry for you.. and I know that is what I should do.

Why do you feel sorry for me? There is was a bunch of cookie dough in my fridge.

Sara unleashed


  1. Salvador Dali once said that 'all art is copied.' It is true. However, when a real artist is inspired by another, they should at least go out of their way to acknowledge the source of their inspiration.

    It is one thing to create a one of a kind portrait doll in the image of an actor or character, and acknowledge your source of inspiration. It is quite another to see that someone will go to the length of copying the original art of a fellow artist and claim it as their own without so much as a kind mention or credit to the artist who first created it.

    Thank heavens for good sisters. Something similar happened to a fellow artist a couple years ago, only worse. One person ommissioned a ooak work of art from an excellent artist based on a popular tv program at the time. After receiving the commissioned doll, this person then decided to create an auction telling the world she created it without even acknowledging the artist that actually did the work. This person even went so far as to use the artist's photos without permission, or credit.

    This was a Hollywood Doll (, and this site does not condone theft. If not for the artist's sister, who provided proof of the fraud, no one would have been the wiser, and the true creator of the work of art would never have been known. Jealousy and greed drive many people. True artists have no need for such things.

    Thank you for bringing this topic to the forefront, and writing so eloquently about it.

    1. Thank you, Charlino. [Hugs.]

      Yeah. It's definitely okay to be inspired by another artist's work. Happens to me all the time. And giving credit where it's due is definitely advisable. For example, my last doll had a costume inspired by the Assassin's Creed games. I mentioned that in his auction, even though his outfit was by no means an exact clone of Ezio or Altair's assassin robes. I respect the costume designers of the game series. A lot. Whoever that person is, knows how to design the hottest male outfits of all time. So I gave them due credit, which is the right thing to do.

  2. You and your sister's doll work are totally unique and awesome! That other artist has NOTHING on you! I do know how you feel though, because when I was sewing for dolls, my work got purchased, put on a doll, and resold as their own work! Yes it does knock the wind out of my sails! I was very hurt and disturbed by it. I am sure that you provide a certificate of authenticity with your creations. Maybe you could start a FB page, or a website, or a blog or something, about FUGLYARTISTS? COPYCAT ARTISTS? Something to draw attention to less than honest people out there. As if you need something else on your plate as I am sure you are quite busy. The knowing needs a reference point....Keep up the good work, and I have always admired your dolls. They have taken on a life of their own. You give them personalities, of which copycats do not.

    1. Thanks Jody.

      Well, this blog is exactly the kind of a place to put what you're talking about. In fact, perhaps I'll start a topic tag called 'names of known unethical artists', or something. That way, every time viewers click on it, they'll see all my posts dedicated to those so naughty, they managed to become a topic here.

      Too bad I wasn't doing this when that happened to you. I definitely would have raised hell for ya.

  3. Thanks for having my back Za!
    Lil sis

  4. I'm a doll collector and noticed Copycat Annie's doll on eBay right-off-the-bat, because I remembered Leslie's original Shade repaint. There were way too many similarities for this imposter's likeness to be mere coincidence. And I believe the copying was intentional. Shame on the Copycat for: 1. Doing it to begin with....and 2. For thinking that it doesn't matter. It does matter. It's called "Integrity."

    1. Yep. And while artists themselves, rarely have time to rove Ebay for knockoffs of their work, their many collector friends ARE roving Ebay, looking for good dolls. When they see a copycat doll, they're likely to report back to the artist, as well as all their collector friends. One person tells another, until everyone knows who the copier is. This, I don't get. How can copiers not take that into account?

  5. Thanks everyone for spreading the word about this post. According to my blog stats, this has had 168 hits since midnight, and the number is rising.

    1. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."
      Luke 6:27-31

    2. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

    3. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
      Romans 12:21

    4. Is that what you'll spout out if you ever catch a loved one being beat or raped? Like a thornbush in a drunkard's hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Proverbs 26:9

      Complacency is why so much of this happens in the doll community, and why I started this blog. If I occasionally have to be an evil witch, so all those hard working ethical artists out there can keep on creating without having to put up with so much of this crap, so be it. I just heard yet another tale from an artist. Wonderful lady, fun to talk to. Humble, despite having sold dolls for thousands to celebrities. Some time ago, a so-called 'artist' built a website full of pictures of her work, and claimed it was theirs. This happened because the offender felt they could get away with it unscathed.

  6. Well, the hate starts, over in my Copycat Artists post. By the incoherent, rambling writing style, I'm guessing it's Annie.

    1. After saying she's never returning, she's come back a day later, and re-posted the exact same thing below. LOL.

  7. You are incredibly judgmental. Are you copying someone's idea in your drawings
    and making fun of someone else's art? Wow, didn't you just slay another artist for doing that?
    Did you know that American masters for years sat in the Louvre and copied paintings and it was accepted
    and promoted. It's not uncommon to copy art or ideas. Do you hold a license in persecuting artists or people in general?
    Are you really a professional doll artist after just two years? Are you a professional judge as well?
    Are you the art police? Should we thank you for pointing out to us that you can use technology
    with your own evil and selfish purposes in mind? Is the ACLU really damp? Do you have statistics
    proving that dolls with dark vinyl sell terribly? Why do you have so many lighter vinyl dolls on your
    display page? I thought you only did the darker toned dolls? How fast can I get out of here and never return to this dark place? First, how many times have I looked at your sister's dolls and your own and thought how fugly? I would never tell you how disturbing I find most of them, what simply unattractive features they display and yours in particular are consistent with extreme poor execution, it's not my place to, nor yours to others. Find something else to do, you offer nothing fine to humanity, for you have no compassion.

  8. I agree with the comment "It's not uncommon to copy art or ideas". And I'm not saying you or you shouldn't be angry, but, blogging about it just makes you mad and sick, and this Annie is just going to keep putting them out without a care. You can't make her stop, you can only make yourself sick. Don't get overly mad. :)
    I know of One who almost gets no acknowledgment for what He does and even you copy off Him.

    1. First off, I'm sad to hear you think blatant unauthorized copying is okay. Sure, artists don't work in a vacuum. They are inspired by one another. I discuss inspiration versus copying in my Copycat Artists post. I have to go to work, so I have no time to debate it further, here. But let me tell you, the OOAK doll community is way too small to handle blatant copying. It can, and often does hurt the original artist. For instance, Nicole West has been putting out these sexy girls with lollipops. The theme has been selling well. And now, I'm seeing sexy girls with lollipops floating around on Ebay. Makes me sick. Eventually, Nicole West will find a new popular theme, and of course, in weeks, all the wee copycat artists will be out there, copying her latest greatest idea with a vengeance.

      If people honestly haven't the imagination to come up with their own doll ideas, than they should just stick to celebrities. That will keep 'em out of trouble.

      That said, let me clarify this. I didn't write this because I was angry. I didn't do this 'for revenge'. None of that. I'm fairly calloused and easy-going. People say I'm a lot more like a man in personality than a woman. I did this to make the OOAK community a better place for all the nice people out there, so they can keep being buying and selling dolls nicely, without getting screwed by artists like this. In this instance, because the artist being copied is my sister, and I'd seen the doll being copied in person, I had a powerful case. Perhaps this won't stop Annie. But the doll community is small. Word of this is getting around. It will, in the very least, break her stride. A lot of collectors aren't going to want to buy clothes and dolls from her after seeing the damning evidence of what she did to Leslie, and her nasty reply to me, a reply, which showed her true colors.

      Most importantly, any copycat artists or potential copycat artists who see this post, may very well change their stripes. Additionally, all those hard-working original artists out there who are seeing this now know there's someone they can turn to. By this, I mean, if another artist approaches me, and says, "Hey, this is what's happening to me. Can you help?", I'll look at their case. If I think they have one, I'll walk them through gathering the right hard evidence. Then I'll put pressure on the offender. If the offender is apologetic, and knocks it off, all is well. If not, then they may very well end up a topic on this blog.

      Quite frankly, I'm appalled by how tolerant people are of this in the OOAK doll community. In other creative communities I participate in, you just don't do this kind of thing. For instance, if one writer plagiarizes another, it won't be on one blog the next day. It will be on fifty.

      Every hard-working artist out there deserves to be brilliant, without worrying about their income and essence being drained by a dozen 'vampire artists'.

    2. your thoughts are ridiculous

      I'll look at their case. If I think they have one, I'll walk them through gathering the right hard evidence. Then I'll put pressure on the offender.

      this is funny thanks!!!

    3. Protecting hard-working artists from ruthless artists and bully collectors is ridiculous? Let me tell you, this kind of thing is sorely needed. I can't count how many times artist friends have emailed me, bawling, and telling me how helpless they felt about a situation. It's compelled me to act.

      This whole situation with Annie? It's served to make one of the purposes of this blog known. Hopefully though, I won't have to do this too often in the future.

  9. Nicole West did not come up with that theme. I seen her do dozens of themes, so what, now I can't ever sculpt/repaint an "Alice in Wonderland" doll because Nicole West sculpts them? There is a difference between "Inspiration" and "Copying". Annie copied, people who repaint/sculpt popular trends sometimes do not. In that case, who counts for not copying the Twilight movies in their art. That was everywhere.

    1. Donna, if you can't see 'the line', I don't know what to say.

      Pulling ideas from movie ... drums up publicity for movie.
      Pulling ideas from classic art ... honors classic artists.
      Pulling ideas from contemporary flat artist/photographer/author ... if credit is given, publicizes artist; if none is given, doesn't directly hurt artist.
      Pulling ideas from fellow doll artist in tight community ... directly hurts fellow artist.

      The other day, I clicked on a doll, thinking it was one of Nicole's. I stared at it for sixty seconds, before I noticed, one, it was Monday (her auctions run from Tuesday to Sunday). Two, the doll's forearm was slightly bending in the middle. And three, her eyes had choppy lashes. But it really bothered me that I was fooled into thinking it was Nicole's work for sixty seconds.

      Meanwhile, on deviantART Nicole says, "Inspiration for me comes from everywhere. Quite an enormous chunk of which comes from right here on DA. I am also heavily influenced by movies, music, fashion and my very own imagination."

      So she pulls from OUTSIDE the doll community.

      Regarding her eyes, she also says, "I probably receive the most questions regarding my eyes. Sorry guys, this one I've chosen to keep to myself. Too many copy cats have ruined the fun. I don't share the special stuff because I've worked really hard on the techniques."

      Which brings up another thing I hate about copying. Artists don't feel it's safe to teach each other.

  10. Ok, I can see 'the line', the point that I'm referring to is when you said "And now, I'm seeing sexy girls with lollipops floating around on Ebay", Nicole didn't start the sexy lollipop dolls.

    So when others sculpt that theme, please don't slam them as copying. Because just as Nicole said it herself "Quite an enormous chunk of which comes from right here on DA". So what is the difference?

    1. If Nicole didn't start those dolls, than who did? I didn't see any before her, except by a few OOAK Barbie artists, and I doubt Nicole pulled inspiration from them. And even if Nicole didn't start it, hers were her own. This is what I'm talking about. Copycat dolls that look like her work.

      You know, there are so many variables in sculpted dolls, where, mathematically speaking, artists should take different turns from each other. Poses. Faces. Eyes. Clothes. Theme. But they rarely do. Too many of them look like whomever the hot artist of the day is.

      And like I said above, the difference between pulling from DA, and pulling from another doll artist is immense.

      Perhaps someday you'll sculpt something with a fresh theme, and then have a million copycat artists copying you. Or it will happen to someone you care about. Then you'll understand what I'm getting at here.

      Personally, I find no joy in doing what is popular. If a popular artist is tackling I theme I like, it can wait a year or so. Run its course. Then I can revive it with my own twist. That way, no one would feel I'm running with the pack. And more importantly, I wouldn't feel that way.

  11. Fairly recently Jan McLean over ten years ago.
    Shirley Temple and so many others
    ever been to Vegas?

    good grief
    take your badge off
    it's 2013! people have ideas
    stop shooting your gun in the air
    you 're going to hit someone

    1. Those other dolls and artists you speak of are nothing like Nicole and her work. Not remotely. And it appears that was years ago.

      I'm talking about the phenomenon where a top artist like her runs a theme, in his or her unique artistic style, and within weeks, there are all these dolls of identical themes out there, in the same style. Seriously. Do you think that's coincidence? That an artsy fartsy lightning bolt struck twelve artists at once, and they all started churning out girls with milky white skin licking a wet lollipop, while posing like they're in Playboy, all with giant glass eyes and exaggerated lashes? Oh, and they all have identical face proportions noses, mouths, et cetera. The copiers never at least have the decency to at least make 'em freckled, or dark-skinned, or men.

      It shouldn't be that way.

      For example, if someone told me to sculpt a sexy doll with a lollipop, I'd probably do a handsome black cop trying to de-stick a lollipop from his boot with one hand while firing at a criminal with the other. Oh, and I'd title the sculpture, Damn Lollipop. No one would think I'm copying Nicole. Making a parody of her latest theme? Hell yeah. But copying her? No. [Grin.]

      What this boils down to, is, I think the line is an inch higher than you do. You think I think that line is all the way to the top, because you're not reading what I'm saying here. You're blindly opining. As such, this is debate is going in circles, and it's getting dumb.

      Oh, and cupcake? If I'm shooting in the air, it's because something's there.

  12. Annie Neeley does not bother to tell people that she smokes. When I purchased an OOAK outfit from her I detected the odor of smoke. I have never smoked so I can smell cigarette smoke immediately. She acknowledged that she does smoke but not in her art room. Needless to say, I have never purchased anything from her again. I am posting as "Anonymous," I do not want any repercussions.

  13. So much for doll people are the nicest people...rofl! Someone tells the truth as it is, and enter the silencers who try to make the wrong look right. Hats off to you for bringing this highly unethical behaviour out in the open. You rock, girl!

    It's those copycats that make doll artists keep their techniques to themselves and I can fully understand that. They put time, effort and their hearts into figuring it out.

    1. Thank you, Anonymous. It's been a tough week, and you made my morning.

  14. Interesting that you bring up Nicole West and theme copying, as if she doesn’t do it herself. Sure, she is copied a lot; usually by artists who put out substandard work. It’s obvious and irritating to see. But I have been disappointed more than once to see her copy themes from other, lesser known artists. And because she is better known, it looks like she has come up with the idea. Still, to copy an idea and make it your own is not so bad. But when someone copies another work almost exactly-stealing details that another artist thought up; it really is enough to make you want to bitch slap someone. Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone would copy someone else’s work. It looks bad and it is far more work to copy than to just go with the flow of your own imagination.

  15. Hi there.
    On the topic of Nicole West I must say something here. To me a true artist, whether an ooak sculptor, or painter or any other form of art, should come from the artist imagination, inspiration is ok, we all need some inspiration, well not all of us, but some of us need inspiration. I can tell you now that most of Nicole West's dolls are NOT from her imagination at all ! I know this first hand as a sculptor myself. Her 'Forgotten Dolls' series and her sexy lollipops 'Pop Goth Pin Up's' to be precise were heavily influenced by musician Emilie Autumn.
    Her 'Burlesque Pin Up''s are inspired by Ophelia Overdose. She has also sculpted images from Luis Royo, Mish Mosh, Olivia De Berardinis, in which she has on ebay right now as I speak !, she has sculpted her painting/drawing of 'Little Dragon'

    Now then, three problems, no four, no five ! sorry, five problems I have with Nicole West, is sometimes she will say and sometimes she wont say who has 'inspired' her, deluding people to think she has this extraordinary imagination to come up with all these concepts, when if fact all shes done is copy a photograph, in most cases, to a tee, may I add.

    That brings me to my second problem, of the use of the word 'inspired' when in fact the image is exactly the same, her 'Dark Masquerade' (which she actually didn't mention was inspired by the great Luis Royo at all) was exactly the same as his painting, and I only learned recently that it wasn't her original concept, making me think all this time, "wow, what a great imagination she has, I love this one " But it was from a panting of his 'Dark Labyrinth' and more recently her copy of 'Dead Moon 2010'. Somebody posted her sculpt on Luis Royos son's fb page with the words "look what I just found" with many exclamation marks after it. I know for a fact that Luis Royo's work s highly copyrighted and that they have their own sculpting range of his work.To me the 'inspiration' means you take aspects, maybe few here and there and make your own interpretation of it, you make it your won, simple ! but she uses the word 'inspiration' when in fact she just copies the image !
    In regards to her eyes, it wasnt in fact Nicole who even came with those eyes, she copied off another sculptor who wasnt on ebay, so my third and fourth problem is, for her to say on DevianArt "I probably receive the most questions regarding my eyes. Sorry guys, this one I've chosen to keep to myself. Too many copy cats have ruined the fun. I don't share the special stuff because I've worked really hard on the techniques." This is not true, and she knows it, plus for her to say "Too many copy cats" !!!! shes actually a copy cat herself, in more ways that one, but just doesn't admit it half the time !

    Now my last and fifth problem is, and this is the most important in relevance to this post, is, Nicole West HAS COPIED OFF ANOTHER OOAK DOLL ARTIST !!!!! It was also her friend she copied from, and she copied the sculpt down to exact details ! So not only did she betray her own friend, no matter what from it takes place, she did in the worse way possible, stealing her work. In case your thinking I am this person she stole from, I am not, I can assure you, but I have the photos to prove this.
    One thing to say about Nicole West is, technically she is very good at what she does, there is no doubt about that, but creative, she is not Im afraid................

  16. I did mean to say at the end, she lacks in 'real' creativity and imagination.


    Above is a link to an image of Opheia Overdose with a lollipop.

    1. See, that doesn't bother me, because she's following pop culture (which happens to be inspired by other culture). Being inspired by pop culture does not hurt other doll artists, and can actually HELP the source of inspiration by drawing people's attention to it. For example, when she did the tribute Luis Royo doll (which she did credit him for right there in her title), chances are hundreds who never heard of him a day in their life Googled him, and learned of his work. So while, it wasn't legal, per say, it was a win win situation for all parties involved. Corporations will often turn a blind eye in these cases, because they know they're getting free advertising.

      In general, she takes these outside inspirations, and makes them her own, artistically. Same with FITA, and many of the other artists. Show me a Nicole doll, and a FITA doll, and I can tell them apart at a glance. Not the case with many who copy those ladies - some whose dolls I would never be able to tell apart from the originals if the copycats had better mastered their skills. And heck, Patricia Rose has distinct style of her own, bless her heart, but it's not evident, because virtually everyone has learned from her videos, and has picked up on her style.

      All said and done, copying is like porn. It has no solid definition. No definite line. But you know it when you see it.

      As per her copying her friend, do you know the situation? I ask because friends and I have done funky stuff to each other before, which would look REAL bad to outside parties, not privy to the inside frivolities. Without talking directly to the friend involved, I reserve judgment on that matter.

      Now, the eye thing always has ruffled me. A little. Simply because FITA broke the ground in eye making, and raised the bar for all the other artists out there (if there was anyone else before FITA, they didn't master and utilize the technique in a way that made a significant impact to the art doll sculpture community). Nicole, whether she realizes it or not, conveys a sense that she's the the ground breaker. But like I said, she may not realize she's putting out this impression.

      That said, Nicole has worked many long prolific years to get where she is. I think a lot of struggling artists feel sour grapes about her work selling so high. Which is ridiculous, because after Ebay fees she's making what the average blue collar male makes. Sometimes I wonder how much sexism comes into play in the jealousy. It's fine when a man makes that much, because he's got 'manly' responsibilities. But heaven forbid a woman make as much.

    2. Umm...speak for yourself about Patricia Rose. I don't care for her style and have never watched one of her videos.
      Just sayin'
      And sexism? What? Most of the OOAK artists are female; and many, many are middle aged. That jealousy crap is for schoolgirls and I don't believe it plays the role you think it does. If Nicole weren't such a shameless copier, perhaps she would have more respect among her peers.
      And I'm not talking about fake Facebook friends or other, assorted sycophants.

  18. I am a female sculptor, who lives off commissions, so Im lucky I dont have percentages taken off.

    Im regards to the Luis Royo sculptures she did, the first one she did of his, she DID NOT leave credit for, and she had to leave credit on the second one she did ! Trust me as an ooak artist myself I know a lot about whats going on.

    Yes your right FITA dd have a breakthrough in making the eyes.

    yes I do know the situation, the other ooak artist was fuming, trust me,and Nicole West has lost many of friends this way, she sucks ideas and inspiration out of them, then copies their ideas or as in this case a complete sculpt, and then loses that friend, it has happened many times for her. Somebody told her how they did eyelashes, again a friend, next thing you know shes doing those eyelashes, and then shes lost another friend. I will leave you with your own opinion on what kind of person does that ?

    More of less all her sculpts are copied from photographs or somebody else's artwork. The problem I had with this, all the time I was looking at her sculpts and thinking "wow, what a great imagination this person has" In the art World, true artist know what 'real art is' and it comes from within, a true artist shares with their audience a part of them when they create, and when you find out its just copied, it just becomes commercial work in my eyes, like I said her execution is good, but imagination to come up with a whole complete concept of her own, she cant do.

    Like you say you can tell which ones are hers, and who is desperately trying so hard to copy her, its obvious, but they fail, because Nicole's execution is very good. Personally myself I wouldn't even bother trying to copy somebody else's style, I find it kinda tragic and desperate, and if it means you have to do that in order to sell, and they dont sell for much, I would just pack it in.

    I agree with you that she has worked very hard to get to where she is, and that there are many ooak artists out there probably jealous of her success, whilst they are struggling. I do give her credit for that, and she does produce work fast too, which is very profitable.

    Copying someone else's work should be exploited, and Im glad you made this post to show this, there is so many of it going on though, its out of control.

    1. Thank you. This post has opened a lot of discussion, for which I'm grateful. The doll community has long needed an open discussion like this, and hopefully a lot of newbies will find the original post, and the following comments educational.


~Anyone may post a response to this.
~Anyone may comment on this anonymously.
~No extremely vulgar remarks.
~No remarks discriminating against a person's race, age, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
~Religious comments (such as, "I'll be praying for you!") ARE permitted here. But please be respectful of everyone's beliefs. We are a broad stroke of readers. Remarks like 'Because God says so,' will only spur an unwanted religious debate. Better to use Spock-like logic to get your point across.