Saturday, December 8, 2007

Stealing Sparrows


Mia You asked me to design the cover of her chapbook, which was just published by Achiote press. I was excited about it because I have wanted to start doing more book design for some time. I worked very hard on the cover for Mia You. I read the chapbook closely, looking for images I thought would work well for the cover. A lot of time went into the concept before I started the drawing. She said she thought it was beautiful. It was a sparrow because I thought that a sparrow in one of her poems was very striking.

A couple days later, she told me the art director at Achiote wanted his friend to do the cover, so I was out. Although I was upset about the snub, I know that's how things go, and I didn't even write about it here. People like to hook up their friends.

A few weeks later, Mia You's book came out. Guess what's on the cover!

If I were to use someone else's idea, even if I did not use their words, I would have to cite them as the source. If you do not cite them, you are a plagiarist and a thief. It is unethical to take credit for someone else's work.

So when Mia You's book cover had a sparrow on it, I assumed that it was the art director who saw my design and asked his friend to draw a sparrow. But it was Mia You. She found a sparrow that she had lying around and threw it on the cover.

I thought it was funny at first. Now I am disgusted and hurt. This kind of thing happens in advertising a lot, and there are lawsuits about them all the time, and I would expect it from a publishing house, but I didn't think that a Harvard graduate who is doing post grad work at UC Berkeley would be so facinorous. She's tried explaining herself, but her story changes, and I don't believe her.

I can't get it out of my mind. I give so much of what I do away for free. Why steal it?

So I guess I get hoodwinked by another friend, thereby losing one as well. I guess I roll over and take another beating by a hand I thought was friendly. I guess I get used to people stealing from me.

And the cover they used looks like garbage, adding insult to injury.