This Guy Spray Paints Flea Market Finds. You Won’t Believe What He Does Next!

Can we talk?

I mean, really talk?

You may know, if you look slightly to your right, I wrote a book on how to buy art. Part of that very short book is discussing ways on not getting ripped off.   Ask about materials, is there are guarantee, etc. I realized tonight, I need to expand on this topic.

There are so many “artists” out there who are just stealing other people’s work. The internet makes it easy. I’m not talking about seeing an image or a painting and reproducing it with some skill in order to sell it and pass it off as your own, original, idea. I’m talking about people flat out stealing another’s art and not even pretending it’s their own. Then, then, then, we have people paying gobs of money for something they KNOW isn’t an original work of art and takes no artistic talent to pull it off.

We have two intsagram “artists.” We have the guy who sells other people’s Instagram photos for more than my college tuition all because he adds a comment. Somehow a court said he was allowed to do this. I don’t know which law they were reading, but uh, there it is.

I don’t want to talk about him though.

I want to talk about the self-proclaimed “most famous artist.”

Let’s take a moment to collectively gag, mmmkay. I mean, not to be mean, but we all know, if you have to tell people you’re cool, you probably aren’t. Except, he is famous, kind of. He’s more famous now that I’m writing this because 5 more people know about him.

He takes original art work he buys from flea markets, adds some paint to them, then resells them for hundreds of dollars. Really. Like, so much dollars.

There are two problems with this, but first I want to say, I can’t really hate on him. He is doing something all artists should do. He thinks about what’s going to be popular and what will trend and how it will be received. Unfortunately, he’s missing the other half of the equation. Authenticity. Yet, people are spending $750 on one of his “paintings” instead of buying an actual, original work for $750. From an artist who uses the tears of her life’s failures instead of water to mix her paints…. I mean. That’s not me. What are you talking about? Can we focus, please?

That’s what I call getting ripped off. They are literally buying a marketing scheme. A brilliant one, but a marketing scheme none the less.

Here’s how copyright law works: If you take someone else’s work and pass it off as your own without permission, you’re stealing.

The laws are very tricky, but that’s really the basics.

This guy is buying a piece of work another artist did, adding a splash of paint, and calling it his own. Maybe he can get away with it by claiming he’s parodying the work, although I’d argue it is more satire, but I’m biased.

I don’t know.

The only thing I do know is the people who are buying it are not buying an original work of that artist. They are buying an original work of another artist, that he altered.

Personally, I’d tell them to go to the flea market, buy some spray paint, make their own. It’s nothing more than a Pinterest project.

Sure, it makes them smile and they are probably getting their money’s worth of smiles. However, I’m sure they could find an original work from another artist for the same price and be just as happy. They’d also support original visual artists instead of someone piggy backing on someone else’s hard work.

Aren’t we beat up enough? We’re all starving. No one takes us seriously. We can’t even get a degree without hearing about how dumb we are. We literally create the world around you, but, it seems, no one cares. Unless someone is stealing the work and adding one minor change. Then it’s all, “Take my money, artists are great.”

No respect, I tell ya.

Even if he says, well, they are junk and no one likes them. That’s why they are at the flea market. He’s improving them, for crying out loud. That’s not for him to decide. That’s for the original artist to decide.


Why doesn’t he just paint his own kitschy scenes and then “dip” them in paint? Oh, right. He can’t.

All that education and practice, that’s too hard. That takes too long.

So my open letter to all those people knowingly shelling out their cash to these thieves:

Don’t you get tired of buying fake crap? Not just fake art, but high-end clothes made in sweat shops. Fake food that doesn’t mold, even after years of exposure. Why encourage that in the art world?

You don’t have to buy my art, but please support an original artist and not a fraud.

About Elisha

Elisha Dasenbrock is an award winning, international watercolor artist. She paints with a limited palette on claybord. Dasenbrock graduated from the American Academy of Art in 2009 and has been painting professionally ever since.