Was Artist Lisa Congdon Ripped Off?

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Between 2011 and 2012, visual artist Lisa Congdon created a series of winter-themed designs featuring forest animals–deer, elk, bears–adorned with brightly-patterned shawls draped over their bodies. In 2013, art wholesaler Cody Foster created a series of winter-themed figurines featuring woodland animals–you know, deer, elk, bears–in brightly-colored shawls that look identical, in many cases, to Congdon’s designs. At no point, Congdon says, was she compensated for or even contacted for the use of her designs, a troubling trend one of her colleagues insists is part of Cody Foster’s M.O.. Allegedly, the wholesaler, whose only public face is a showroom in Atlanta, has previously purchased works from other artists and incorporated them into designs that they would then sell to retailers around the country–the kinds of shops that sell knickknacks that you might give as a gift. In a blog post earlier this week, Congdon discussed finding her work seemingly appropriated by Cody Foster:

“In the world of art & illustration, you can use the artwork of artists on your products as long as you ask permission, sign a licensing agreement with the artist, and agree to compensate them. I sell my images to companies all the time, companies who ask my permission and compensate me for my intellectual property. In this case, I was never contacted, asked permission or paid. That is called copying. It’s also called stealing.”

A comparison between Congdon and Cody Foster's designs (Image © Lisa Congdon)

It’s not about the money, Congdon insists, but instead credit for the work she and other independent artists create which is allegedly being stolen by Cody Foster. It’s her hope that with enough sites out there reporting on this alleged exploitation, the retailers who purchase products from Cody Foster will become aware of this bad behavior and cease doing business with them. In the meantime, you should reblog this post (or Congdon’s original piece) and continue to bring awareness to this issue.

[Header image © Lisa Congdon]

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