Well hell ... I actually discovered an art thief.
Art theft was always something I saw after-the-fact and as a bystander. I knew about it, I heard about it and I've seen the dArama that occurs before, during and after the takedown. But I never thought I would actually be the one to discover it and be the instigator in getting an alleged art thief caught. And like many other instances of thieves getting caught, the guilty party was stupid enough to 1) steal an artwork from a famous artist in her circle and 2) draw attention to herself.
The tiny little dArama all began with an innocuous enough comment at the group where I admin:
. The alleged thief was pissed and dropping f-bombs because apparently we had been declining her works. It caught my attention. I got curious, wondering what works of hers that we had declined and went to her gallery.
And lo behold. I saw an artwork that is famous among Supernatural fans. If you've ever been active in the SPN fandom, you will know this painting and of the artist. It immediately struck me as familiar so I did a search for it. I checked my Fan Art faves section; nope, I was remiss and did not fave it. So what next?
I went on Google: typing the words Supernatural, Dean, art and cat. The original painting popped up immediately. From there, I discovered the original artist's dA account, her website, tumblr and LJ. I sent her an email on her website and her dA account with links and thumbnails, asking if this dodgy account was her proxy account. I was 99 percent sure it wasn't as the pieces in the thief's gallery varied greatly in style and skill level. Plus, this person had cropped out the original artist's signature. But I still had to do my due diligence and verify.
While waiting for a response, I contacted my group's founder and co-founder and provided them with the same links and thumbs. I also filled out a report with dA. Soon enough, the original artist emailed me back saying No, this was not her account and thanking me for informing her of the alleged theft.
Is there a happy ending? Well, the reports the artist and I filed were done today, so the artwork will not be taken down or the user warned/suspended anytime soon from what I've read. There is happy news from my group's side, however. My founder banned and blocked the user from the group immediately after looking at the links himself.
So moral of the story: don't steal. But if you (you as in the general you) desperately want Internet fame and accolades, don't be stupid and steal from a famous artist. And you really shouldn't compound that stupidity by drawing attention to yourself by being nasty. One thing I hate more than other people taking credit for one's work is stupidity.
P.S. I will not be posting a link to this person's account as I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior by giving them the attention they want. If you figure out who she is from the bits and pieces I gave, good for you.
But do not harass her. It does nothing and is really not much better than stealing, in my book.
EDIT: dA has deactivated the account. Wow! That was quick. Good job, dA.