Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Curious Case of a Nail Art Theft

This post is going to be a tad controversial, and I spent several hours pondering and refining words just to make my stand more accurate without stepping on too many toes nor target a specific party. If you're involved or you keep track of the nail art community timeline on Instagram, you would most probably realise by now that there have been recent major controversial (I say major because let's all face it, controversy is inevitable everywhere) issues happening right now. But these issues are/were major in the sense that many are feeling the pinch. In other words, people are stepping up to face such issues. To make things less target-specific and more across-the-board, I'm not going to drop names here. However, if you really truly desperately want to soak yourself in these recent controversies, you can click here. This post will be succinct, I hope.

Let me begin with a heavy heart that it is such a disappointment to learn that a well-established and well-known nail guru is conveniently omitting to give credit and/or reference to the derivation of her ideas, and to see that more people (supporters and opposers alike) are jumping on target-specific bandwagons in a moment of heat and angst.

Why are people feeling the pinch? For starters, I used to watch her channel way back in the days where I first started doing nail art. Imagine the shock and horror I felt when I learnt that several of her designs were exact replicas of other established nail bloggers and there were neither credits nor references given at all. No credits/references stated makes her look like she is conveniently omitting them. That, my dear friends, is called a Lie of Omission. In other words, you are lying when you deliberately leave something out pertinent to the situation. Or, a half-truth, if you must. I’m pretty sure she knows that those are not her own ideas that came from her brain. I daresay she must have seen such designs beforehand and recreated them.

See, there is nothing wrong with recreating any design. In fact, the whole point of sharing nail art designs and ideas is to inspire other people to recreate them and put their own twist to it or whatsoever. The very fact that she must have seen these designs somewhere already shows the need to indicate proper credit/reference because they are not her own original design. Of course, one can argue that there are so many similar designs done all over the internet that it is so difficult to even pinpoint to the exact original creator. That is just an excuse. That is not what I am driving at. I think I can speak for all nail artists out there that even if someone does not know who the original creator is, it would be nice to see that the person who recreates a design credits or references back to where he/she got his/her idea from. If it is from google, say it is from google. If you got inspired by someone, who is not the original creator, still say so.

I know nothing about the monetary benefits she receives by doing Youtube videos or if she actually earns commission, out of whatever she does. I’m not going to touch on that, but simply state that she does receive free products for sponsorship/reviewing purposes. The brands that reach out to her are major mainstream brands as well. I can’t help but feel unfair/indignant about this simply because I don’t think she deserves such lavish goods showered on her when she is blatantly passing off other nail bloggers’ designs as her own. I say “as her own” because of the lie-of-omission point up there. I can think of so many other deserving nail artists in the nail art community that would be much more conscientious and honest in their work who would deserve this. She also got published in a magazine with the same exact nail design she took from a nail blogger (a reknowned one too, I must add). Tell me, how is it that one can blatantly take a design, recreate it without proper credits/references, mainstream brands are too blind to see this happening, and there are still people thinking that there is nothing wrong, and that “haters are gonna hate”, “people are just jealous of your success”, blah blah. Blah.

Let me just say that I do not hate the individual personally. Personally, she did nothing to offend me as an individual. I reckon that people feel the anger because they trusted her, and that she is not seeing that what she is doing is wrong. Of course, every person is flawed. But, it really will be much more helpful to herself that she starts accepting constructive criticism. All it takes is just to add “Inspired by ---“ or “I saw --- and decided to…” or something along those lines. It is so simple, even I do it all the time. You know what it says about people who don’t credit? It doesn’t just say they are shady. It also indicates that they are too self-centered and they don’t bother sharing about other people’s work. Let me remind all nail art bloggers, gurus, artists (yes I’m reminding myself too) that you will not be this successful/where you are now if you did not get inspired by other people in the community, and you’ll certainly not be here now if it weren’t for your loyal followers/supporters, critics and haters too.
Let me also remind you that critics are so  critically important, especially when the criticism they provide are constructive. If you can’t accept that, and you go around blocking and deleting comments just to feast your eyes on nice words the whole time, you’ll be so starry-eyed that you won’t be humbling yourself. Also, to the nail guru that is the main focus of this entire post, if you haven’t noticed, you have been blocking so many talented nail artists out there (just because they want you to give proper credit/reference) that you’re depleting your own reservoir of inspiration sources. Not cool, and definitely not smart.

And to all my fellow nail artists/bloggers/gurus/related people in the community, please, don’t hurl words in a moment of heated anger or annoyance, or jump on different bandwagons just because people support the “art thief”. I mean, it sounds crazy of me saying that. But, think about it realistically. Words can be really powerful, and they can destroy someone. You don’t want to be the reason for someone else’s destruction. You can support her, you can oppose her (it’s all part of having freedom, isn’t it?), but at the end of the day, do not forget to credit/reference, and don’t think for a second that it isn’t necessary to do so. You can feel so angry and hurt, and you can post things up on the Internet, you can gather people to agree with you, you can do so many things. But I think it is most important that awareness of such issues are raised, instead of devoting all the attention to attack so and so.

You can start by pledging this with the hashtag #givecreditwhereitsdue, courtesy of @rockyournails on Instagram.

I end my post here. Thank you for reading!


Atima Bhatnagar said...

Oh my lovely lovely lady I could not have put it better. I have been thinking about how to say what I wanted to, but you have described it exactly as I feel and see it. I admire so many nail artists out there and always try to give credit to the original creator of a design. And if I ever missed something and someone pointed it out I would certainly make sure I did not ignore that or delete comments. I just don't get why it's so hard to just say I saw this at...or inspired by.. I do it all the time as I am always inspired by so many of the talented ladies in the community. Love this and thanks for posting it xxx

Saima's Salon said...

That's a great post. I just watched Zenorah's video properly and I think what she says is important but it's also a grey area when it comes to nail art. For example, something like the Sophy v-gap becomes mainstream so I wouldn't necessarily reference her or expect to see her referenced although I'm aware of the origin so perhaps I should if I do it again. Complete recreations appear to be stolen and it isn't hard to say who you saw it on because I'm betting it's not stored in your brain memory but you've taken a screen shot because you liked it. It's certainly why I have 3000 screen shots on my phone! I've only recreated something once or twice and given credit then but if I do use something exactly, I'll give credit where it's due. The gossip aspect is bothering me about this (even though I gossip!) but I think spreading the word to try to effect a change in her actions is important.

Giovanna Iglesias Croccia said...

I couldn't have said it better. I honestly don't believe that the person in matter will eventually change her attitude since it's already part of who she is. Even though a human being can always change when they WANT to, most of them just don't give a shit.
But I do believe it's important to raise this flag and be aware. Show new devotes and new artists that it is possible to part of this wonderful community without taking advantage on anyone. Just by being honest and humble!
Great post dear Annabel.