January 12, 2008
Most of us with websites will receive occasional emails from strangers who comment favorably on our work and the feedback is always appreciated. In 2005 I learned that it's also valuable to have savvy viewers who recognize your work when they see it being auctioned off on eBay under someone else's name! Well, *my* work wasn't being sold, but the knock-offs were! My friendly informant gave me the link to the eBay site where I found numerous installation shots lifted from my site and used to 'enhance' the eBay site of "Anna Norman."
Here you see, on the left, a pitiful copy of the painting shown on the upper right corner of the eBay page containing images of my work used to promote his.
The trail soon led to the web site of a "gallery" run by a young Russian located in Minnesota. One of his gallery artists included "Amanda Jensen" whose site was... MINE! Word for word and image by image, totally mine except for changing the artist's name and a few identifying resume lines.
Images of my exhibition installations were used by both Anna and Amanda... thought neither person actually exist except in the mind of one Leo*nid Shch*igel... who, I found, even had an interview on his local NPR station. He did actually have a gallery, apparently, where he pushed his surrealistic paintings. I love this remark at the end of the interview: "... if surrealism doesn't sell, he'll paint flowers, landscapes, abstract art -- anything that will help him avoid working a regular job." Yeah, right!
I contacted both the IFCC and the fraud department at eBay. Since I had extensive screen shots of his dealings compared to my own website images, he was quickly removed from eBay and soon all evidence of him (except the interview) disappeared from the web. Hot Dang! Of Course, all it takes is a name change on the web and he's probably off and running again, using someone else's site and images... and so it goes...
(The * in the man's name is to throw off search engines... should they be searching...)