Thursday, January 19, 2017

That Old Integrity Discussion Again

Been seeing this guy's pictures popping up more and more in my searches for Halloween images for the blog.  After checking out his website, instagram, and facebook accounts and seeing absolutely no mention of my site anywhere as the source material, well, I wanted to call him out on it.

I simply do not get how someone can feel that they are truly creating if the entire premise of their works, the very end product of their hard work, exists solely because they saw it elsewhere.  And I'm not even going to get into the issues I have when that person starts selling these works.  Is it legal?  Sure it is.  Is it honest?  Absolutely not.

Here's a photo of his "Guardians of the Gate" (Sentinels):

And here's some text from his website:
The scarecrows and corpses you see on this website were designed for this event and I have continued to produce them in varying forms and sizes. They are a culmination of my study of the natural effects of time and the elements on various materials and surfaces, while at the same time designed to have a classic, bygone era appearance that in a curious way simultaneously invites and repels. Using photos I have taken of these creatures, I have designed Halloween greeting cards featuring composites of them on the property and combined with sunset photos I have taken to create a style that is uniquely my own.

"Uniquely"... This guy has some chops.

Anyway, below is the source material for this guy's existence.  My Pumpkin Sentinels.  I love these guys, and am very proud of them.
Here's the guy's site...

Slight update on this issue:  The builder of these Guardians of the Gate, Kerry Lawton, claims that any resemblance to my Pumpkin Sentinels is, and I quote, "purely coincidental."

Unreal.



57 comments:

The October boy said...

Oh my God, thats unbelievable...so bad. I really can't wrap my head around how some people operate.
I say send the straw man after him.

Sara said...

Uniquely is right. As in uniquely just not as good as the original. Or uniquely stolen. What a jerk.

Willow Cove said...

ballsy, pretty ballsy.
I remember the pic from the sleepy hollow town clock....
It takes just two words: Pumpkinrot style. Say it.

Scary Jerry said...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? No! That's hogwash. I'm also pretty sure no one's artistic vision is uniquely their own. We're all inspired by work we see and factions of that inspiration ends up in all our work. I get so much inspiration from you Pumpkinrot and please know that even though this schmuck is an ass, the true fans know who floats his boat. Thank you for continuing to share your creations in this copy cat world.

ShellHawk said...

What's funny is that people *know* your work. Anyone who sees this guy's will know who he copied from.

But somehow, it never stops them, does it?

Jay's Shadow said...

Unbelievable.

Why this person would call this his own and not think he would get caught is beyond me. Your props are widely known.

HELLO??? Mr. Jones? Krampus?

(Baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire+skull = a wake up call for people like this)

Sorry, this kind of thing REALLY annoys me.

Rot said...

Important to note that this isn't about folks building pumpkin sentinels.
This is about parading something around as your own that came from someone else. Taking full credit for it, and then selling it.

I guess my brain is wired differently. Like how do you accept a compliment...or a contract... knowing you are literally stealing a design from someone else?

Jeannine520 said...

Gee, the stealing of your work is one thing but I can't believe the shameless b.s. he tops it off with. Absolutely no integrity.

Rot said...

I must admit it's the shameless BS that made me do this blog post.

Sean Blanck said...

I see your stuff on Pinterest often but they do list Pumpkinrot as the source.

girl6 said...

Blows my mind as always, this is straight up identity theft of the worse kind.
i think the belt of dishonestly, he wears so proudly across his hips should be the same belt that he's beaten with until he's liquid, then pour it into a witch's jar & light his ass on fire. i think you'll only need one jar, cause there won't be much substance inside of this bugger.

hey, even tho you guys aren't friends or anything, it's still a disloyalty. he's been disloyal to you. : (

girl6 said...

"He's no good, mother." "Take him to the tree."

Christopher Weeks said...

Humans? Integrity? Ha!!! OK, I have a dim view of a huge portion of humanity and am not at all surprised that someone has duplicated another artist's work to stroke their own ego or attempt to make a profit. This happens to all artists and seemingly happens so often to haunt artists. While all artists are influenced by other artists and everything they see in life, I wish we had a special army of undead that could pay a visit to asses who simply duplicate another artist's creation and try to pass it off as their own.

wicKED said...

This strikes a chord with me too. I can't stand a liar or a thief and this jerk is both.

broevil said...

There is contact info on his site... just saying.... :)

halloween prop maker said...

Your work is an inspiration to me creating halloween and fantasy pieces myself ROT..
I could never ever copy your work and sell as my own...
Makes my blood boil for you Rot....
Remember though that no copy can ever be as good as the original.
We feel your pain Rot, corpses will rise and shame that person or persons....
Leon..

Pam Morris said...

Yep, it sure does get tiresome. Somebody copying artwork is a compliment as long as the original inspiration/artist has been duly credited, but--sigh--here we go again with the scumbags of the world seeming to get ahead with very little punishment or legal repercussions. I think what annoys me the most is the high falutin' tone of his description of 'his' work. That, and of course, the sad reality that there is really very little one can do about this THEFT.

Jeff said...

Well. You know where I stand in this particular instance. Saw this long ago in a FB group I belong to but rarely visit anymore. An endless stream of accolades with myself and Noah being the only ones that said anything negative. It's no secret I am greatly influenced by the all powerful Rot, but I at least switch things up and make them my own. When I saw how much this Joker sold these for and still...no mention of "pumpkinrot" anywhere...it was infuriating.

I hope he's out there, reading this...I hope you know, how despised you are by the majority of this community and I want you to know...those of us that build this stuff, think these pale imitations...are shit.

Michael J said...

And this is why I hate the internet. I miss the days before stuff like this grew legs. Don't get me wrong, I've discovered so much because of the internet, and it's been great - but I still really hate it. 'Undiscovered wonders' is more and more of a cliched idea than a reality. I'd love it if home haunters could develop closed groups to keep this kind of stuff out, but then that just starts up so many more problems.

Everything's just so damn overexposed anymore. I'm sorry, Rot. You've given so much life (and I say that without irony) and inspiration to the community, it's a shame that some people take it and claim 'personal ownership' over it.

Let's all board a time machine and strike back to the 80's. I'll bring over my John Carpenter LPs...

Primwitch69 said...

I am so very sorry about this happening to you! I've had this happen to me before and know the anger and frustration. I just cannot fathom having so little talent and imagination, you have to steal ideas in order to create something to make a living. Pathetic truly.

Wikkedmoon said...

I get inspiration and ideas from everyone in your community Rot and copy many different things year after year. But like Jeff said, I put my own spin on things. But the nerve of this guy. I wonder if he thinks the composite photos hide your work enough that he can claim it as his own. We could all leave comments on his site and call him out as the thief that he is.

Colleen said...

Nah. He's not reading it. I betcha he saw it on Pinterest and took off from there. THERE ARE A TON of your works on Pinterest with no mention of source anywhere. I betcha, I betcha. I actually had a guy I work with show me a scarecrow he wanted to try and make from off of Pinterest..I took a look and LO and BEHOLD it was one of yours! People are just shitty with taking pictures and not crediting.. And then you have people who are just shitty. Heehee

Rot said...

Colleen,
I happen to know this guy knows of my site and my work.
And we'll leave it at that.

Rot said...

and in regards to seeing something on Pinterest and copying it.
Anyone worth their weight in talent would do a google search for something like "Pumpkin creature halloween prop"... and you get a ton of hits on pumpkin sentinels where the source is credited. And a bunch of pics from my site/blog.
Took a few seconds to find the source.

Jeff said...

Lots of us take our own stab at making our version of Pumpkinrot Sentinels....very few copy the exact poses, faces, etc and then sell them as their original designs.

Takes a lotta balls to do what this guy has....and zero integrity or class.

Juli Riedel said...

Age old discussion but this guy has a lot of nerve to call his work"uniquely" his. I wuld contact him. Some on tried to do that with Dolores Dragans pictures on pinterest. I went and labeled every picture i could find of her work. People hav no regsrd or integrity these days. So sorry for you.

Jay's Shadow said...

And this guy knows of your site and the work you do..........

Just unbelievable.

NoahFentz said...

I just want to clarify what Jeff had posted....I posted nothing negative regarding the post on this Facebook page. It was actually positive.

I believe there are two kinds of people: The ones that LOVE Halloween and the ones that want to make a quick buck off of Halloween.

The Gill-Man said...

I was in the same Facebook page Noah and Jeff were, and made a point of noting that they looked very Pumpkinrot-esque. I said it in a complimentary fashion, and pretty much left an opening for them to give credit...but nothing.

I've certainly taken inspiration from Rot's works, and have always given credit. My scarecrow, Swampy, was my attempt at a Rot-styled prop, and I made a point of stating this when I first revealed him. I also went out of my way to make sure I made him my own...not copying wholesale the style Rot has cultivated. Nothing wrong with being inspired, but give credit to the inspiration!

Rot said...

This guy knows EXACTLY where the idea came from.
And it's not like this guy has a massive body of Halloween prop work either (not that it would make the theft any better). But he pretty much makes Pumpkin Sentinels...renamed as "Guardians of the Gate," further proof he just aped it from my site.
I wanted to discuss this issue before he decided he'd move on to other designs of mine which he could sell,... like Skull Witches, a Johnny Appleseed, or some kind of Blind Sentinel.

Sara said...

Ugh, that FB page..... glad people are calling him out. He's PRETTY quiet about it too.

And he calls one of his creations, "Rooty"...............like Roots? Ugh. Cringing.

Vintage Seance said...

This not only angers me, but makes my heart sink. I first discovered your work ten years ago (crazy how time flies!) I remember being a nerdy sophomore in high school who was honestly depressed Halloween had just ended. I needed more Halloween inspiration for reasons I couldn't quite define yet. After doodling scarecrows in my math and history notebooks, I decided to look up 'halloween scarecrows' for inspiration. Before I knew it, the evil and yet wonderful big grin on the original Pumpkinrot scarecrow was smiling right at me through my computer. I was fascinated and intrigued - and inspired! I felt so much less alone knowing there were others like me who had a real passion for Halloween itself. You were the first haunter I discovered and I can't tell you how much your talent and hard work has inspired me since that day and throughout all these years. In this time I have seen you accomplish so much and have watched your work grow and evolve, as I have with other haunters and the art they produce too - it is what I love to much about haunters. We see what everyone is up to, we are inspired by it, and we share it - whether it is by recommendations/ providing links and photos, or re-creating some of what we see, in our own ways, mentioning who inspired us (citing them) and why. To see such a lack of support, in a community that generally loves to show their support for their fellow artists, honestly makes me sick. Sure, every great artist may face, at one time or another, some copycats, but I feel that in this little underground world of creative, talented, and genuine haunters, it's just such a shame to see something like this rear its ugly, knockoff, mediocre head. The only silver lining here is the support I am seeing in the comments above from haunters alike who know how its done, and knows whose work is whose - you're the ones keeping Rot's name on Rot's work, and your name on all of your great work too. Even if it's just making sure you mention an artist/source when you pin on Pinterest/Tumblr, providing the proper links to said artist's website on your blog, looking up those links to know who the artist even is (seriously, wouldn't you want to see more of something you already enjoy!?), correcting misinformation/providing the right information on the artist to others, or just down right saying who inspired your work - it's these little things that make a big difference in our community, it is what keeps us a group of artists who do have integrity. So sorry this happened, Rot. But don't be discouraged by fakes, you're the real deal, and we are all in awe of YOU everyday. Keep being incredible.

Rot said...

Thanks for that, my longtime pal.
Fear not. This stuff doesn't ever discourage me.
Ever.

girl6 said...

hey, i'm sure you know this, but, Carl mentioned you should talk to someone over at Intellectual Theft, there's an office right at 17th & arch, i think (somewhere in that area for sure.) & i believe your creations would pretty much already be copyrighted because of etsy & flicr & maybe even thru your blog as well. so that would be all your timeline proof right there. Plus, $$$$$$$ is involved with him selling your ideas, so that's also a VERY BIG problem. Please, don't let this person get away with this, it's NOT right.

you know, john carpenter sued luc besson over pretty much the same thing & WON!

Rot said...

thanks. and, yep.
I've done a lot of research into this topic.
And i've actually done the long, painstaking, tedious process of actually filing for a website copyright with the Library of Congress. So there's that. : )

halloween prop maker said...

Looks like it's really getting to the stage that picture and or design patent or copyright or property right ownership rights etc.....
Maybe it's time Rot that you put an ownership rights type thing down......
its getting beyond the joke that people can take your hard earned designs and just put a virtually exact copy down legally....
I live in UK an we have different laws over here for copyright or owner rights theft....
Maybe put a watermark slight film over every photo.....??
I am in a group with Jeff we salute you and fully respect your work and credit to you....
We are but a few similar artists who share your vision but yet still have not acquired your eyesight yet for expression perfection....... You made the original.... all copies should be deleted......

Scott W said...

I hope you fo get a copyright on your work and i should be protected from infringement!

Cole said...

In regard to the sentinels directly.

As a moderator over on HalloweenForum, I've seen A LOT of copies of the sentinels crop up. I even made a very inspired by scarecrow myself. They are some of the most iconic things I've seen.

One thing I've been noticing more of lately, hosever. The sentinels are being referenced as *A* pumpkinrot, as in folks believe that is the name of the prop, by people who do not know *WHO* Pumpkinrot is.

I don't know where this is really coming from, or what the answer really is, but it's happening more where the sentinel prop has maybe been copied so many times, the true source really is being lost. Yes, a little google-fu can find the source easy...but the public is lazy.

Shingle Creek Manor said...

Nothing wrong with calling him out on it for sure. I see the site is down as of today. Perhaps this had an impact?

Rot said...

I just checked and it's still up.

Arcane said...

This is wrong on so many levels. You and I have had a few chats regarding this very issue. Your work is a household name in the haunt world and it's sad and upsetting to see you are being taken advantage of. Like a sucker punch right in the gut. Grrr. Tell you what...I will make a "special" voodoo doll especially for this thief ;)

Rot said...

Another example of someone thinking no one would call them out on it. That it isn't a big deal to rip off someone else's work. That they have a right to it because it's on the internet. And they have the right to make money off of it (I hope he declared the income to the IRS). Just sayin'.

In case anyone is curious, we did email and he went the "any similarity is purely coincidental" route. Which is obviously not the case. The arms, the shoulders, the paint choices, the neck angle, the hands, the displaying in corn shocks....even the reduced number of ribs, the same number as my sentinels, in fact.. oh, and the name: "Guardians" = Sentinels. Yeah, "purely coincidental." The guy is simply a liar. And a crook.

Doesn't help his case that his entire body of work is stuff seen in the film Sleepy Hollow and on my site. There's no body of work to support that he got here purely by coincidence. This guy is the exact definition of a hack.

I'll keep this blog post on the main page of my blog indefinitely.
Until things are resolved.

The Gill-Man said...

What a total creep! For him to claim it's "coincidental" is beyond ridiculous. It's straight up plagiarism

Rot said...

People really do recognize a fraud when they see one.
Over the last couple years I've gotten so many emails from people alerting me to this guy. After visiting his site finally and seeing how he took ownership of something I designed is when I decided to do a post about it.

Willow Cove said...

I wonder if he is a professional photographer. Or does he has a 9 to 5 job. If he has no fear of being blackballed in the Haunt community, others in other artistic fields will catch on soon. No one will want to work with him. If you had any love for this, you would want to celebrate it with everyone, right?. Not ostracize yourself in the community.

Rot said...

No idea.
It's one thing to steal someone's work and make dough off of it, but it's entirely another thing to boast about your "original" works online.
My guess is he didn't realize how tight the Haunt community was.


ShellHawk said...

Phooey! This guys sucks!

Jay's Shadow said...

Hahaha. Ok.

Mike V. said...

What a friggin tool he is. Rot do what you have to do to protect your brand. We can start making little voodoo dolls in his likeness if you think that will help.

Rot said...

Also important to note he admitted to being familiar with my site and my work.

But it was still a coincidence.

It's nice to have this in writing. So there's that.

More to follow.

Mike V. said...

I also love what he wrote on the page featuring "his" scarecrow creations this quote, "Made from wire, PVC pipe, and sheer will, these creatures represent my dedication to and appreciation of all things Halloween." I guess we can assume that the "sheer will" he talks about is your site, your work, your ideas, your design. He has a lot of balls. Hope you get all of this nonsense settled Rot. Your hard work deserves the recognition.

girl6 said...

i think since he LOVES your creations SO much, maybe he should have contacted you & been like,..hey, any chance of you & i drawing up a contract where i can physically recreate your work for sale? like do a whole licensing thing. the original artist receives a large chunk of change upfront & then royalties later with each purchase or something like that, Plus, the Pumpkinrot brand is also STILL credited. not sure how it all works. & you most likely wouldn't have been interested, But..it's the only fair way to handle wanting to do something like this.

Jeff said...

I can't believe this arrogant clown still hasn't come clean. I don't even know what to say about it that hasn't been already. Every single aspect of the original works have been copied...every single thing, there is coincidence and then there is denial and this dude is in serious denial.

Kerry my man...you need therapy, or a good swift...well, you get my drift.
Own up to it man. Right now you look like a complete jackass.

Did he honestly believe that the community as a whole was going to just watch someone rip off some of the most iconic works in recent memory by one of the, if not the...best ever, claim it as his original concept and not get taken to the woodshed? He should be ashamed of himself.



Sara said...

*gobbles popcorn* ooohhh, this is gettin' good.

Also, as a cheap jab, I don't think his Bettlejuice impression is very good. Just sayin'.

bean said...

I just find it interesting that for all his "love of Halloween" there is nothing that came before or after his copying of my husband scarecrows. If he is the dedicated Halloween artist that he claims he is, where is his body of work? (There isn't one.)

Seriously, if we got paid every time someone ripped us off, well, we'd have a nice sum coming from it. Amazing how many people and companies are willing to steal from artists.

Holy Tarra said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! I have been a little "out of the loop" lately from holiday madness but I am wondering how many people have sent this guy and email or comment letting him know that we are all watching. I have several other friends that are artist and this same thing has happened to them. Seems like we should all get together and create a facebook page or website that outs all of these copy cats. Very disappointing to know how many people there are with no integrity.

Tom said...

I posted on his FB page. Probably won't do much good as all he has to do is delete it, but if enough people post, maybe he'll at least think about his actions.