As an artist and doll-maker who has been in the hobby for 15 years and is friends with many other artists and doll-makers, I want to say something. This is a long post and the point I’m aiming to make is towards the end, so bear with me if you will.
More and more in the debate about recasts, I see people blaming the doll-makers for not investing more in publicity, or legal action, or for not making their product cheaper or offering more options to “compete” with recasters.
Thing is, doll-makers have done and are doing all these things. In the beginning there were a handful of companies with a handful of sculpts and options offered at limited times. Now, the sheer amount of offerings from companies like e.g. Iplehouse and FairyLand are mind-boggling to someone who knows how much work, time, and money goes into creating even one single sellable doll. They all do as much advertising as they can afford. There are events and full-sets and discounts and special orders all the time. Going to conventions and such is expensive and disruptive to workflow and not something that can be done all the time especially when you only have a few people working in your studio. Many companies are now involved in legal action against recasters, which is expensive and time-consuming.
Our job is hard. It’s not the sort of business where you hustle in the beginning and then things start to go smoothly and you have to work less and can focus on things like publicity stunts. As an artist, especially a doll-maker, you are always and constantly hustling to create and produce. And then at the end of a tiring day, some thief comes in and steals our hard work.
And then – someone on the internet says that if only we worked even harder, if we tightened our belts and made our products cheaper, invested more time and money into publicity – then someone who buys recasts MIGHT buy our product instead.
The thing is, they won’t. Someone who buys a recast knowingly has a certain mindset. That mindset is entitlement and cruelty, not caring about the person they’re stealing from. No matter what we do, we will not change such a person’s mind.
What hurts us the most, and this is the point I’m trying to make here, is the attitude of those “neutral” individuals who think we need to work even harder to keep our creations ours. Those individuals tend to get all high-and-mighty when we get angry. They scold us and literally laugh at us.
It’s this whole “moderate” attitude that is hurting artists the most. Much like the people who think that Nazis and liberals should find “common ground” and “be civilized” we are just supposed to accept recasters and their supporters as a fact of life and not be angry at them. We are tired about always trying to be “nice”. Getting hostile and angry about injustice suddenly somehow makes us laughable.
In my opinion, and it might make me unpopular, everyone should be angry at recasters and their supporters. Shrugging it all off as a “free market” situation is cruel too. It has nothing to do with the free market, it is illegal activity. Being “civil” and “nice” about such an injustice has never accomplished anything. There are two clear sides in this conflict: Right and Wrong. Someone who is angry about the Wrongs should not have their anger invalidated. Being angry about this situation should be anyone’s default state.
Please, everyone. Put effort into reporting recasts, educating newcomers, be public with your support of the Right side, and support the companies by reporting theft to them, buying their art and spreading the word. And also, support each other. If someone is angry, chances are it’s because we have been and are directly affected by this situation. And many of us have been around for a long time – and we were “nice” when all this recast business began. We were “civil”. We said, “if you support recasts, we won’t single you out”. We thought if we educate people, if we all tried harder with products and options and events and advertising, the problem would eventually go away. It hasn’t, it only got immeasurably worse, and now some of the most wonderful studios are teetering on the verge of collapse. So now we’re done being “nice”. We are tired, and we are going to voice our anger.
Thank you for reading.