Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An Apology

As you know some homes I decorate are featured in amazing publications. Recently, I was delighted that a family home I helped decorate was featured in a national magazine.

As with many homes I encounter, partial decorating is done prior to my involvement and we incorporate work that is already in the house. In this particular home, the homeowner had a painting that was given to her by her sister. It was a large painting that was given to her as a housewarming gift and it was inspired by a painting by established Canadian artist Meredith Bingham. This piece has been in the house for a few years prior to my involvement to help redecorate the living room, kitchen, and powder room. And, as you can imagine, it was incorporated into the updated decor that I was involved in.

When the magazine shot the house, it included a picture of the painting. Unfortunately because of the resemblance to Meredith's work it came across that we were encouraging the replication of established artists, and the promotion of copying artists work which was not my, or the magazine's intention.

I would like to apologize to Meredith Bingham and Canvas Gallery for not recognizing that the art piece in the dining room was inspired by Meredith when I first got engaged in the redecoration of the living room, kitchen, and powder room. Although the credit in the magazine feature may be perceived by others as a promotion of DIY art instead of original art, I am most certain that was not the magazine's the intention. I am very sorry for the confusion and frustration this might have caused.



  1. Nicely handled. I saw that article and was a bit surprised by how the magazine handled the DIY art myself. On the other hand, I now know Meredith Bingham's work when I previously did not! Might give her more exposure in the long run. Lindsay Adelman giving out DIY instructions on her web site comes to mind.

  2. There are so many DIY, art and design enthusiasts out there these days that it's inevitable some established artists' work will be replicated for their personal use. It's very classy of you to step up like this although it's clearly not your fault. For me I would prefer to focus on admiring your overall design than picking out an unnecessary infringement case.

  3. Hugs. You're an awesome designer and good person. As Churchhill said "KBO"*. xoxo
    *Keep Buggering On

  4. Tim, it's a beautiful space. Congrats :)

  5. Well done Tim - you write very beautifully. :)

  6. Tim, while I think your apology is thoughtful and heartfelt, I am not sure I am in agreement that it is necessary. Ms. Bingham is undoubtedly talented. But I don't think creating a DIY inspired by her work diminishes that talent at all. Do we see the same uproar when a faux Barcelona chair is featured in a home tour? Or an inexpensive poster of Van Gogh's starry night? I've seen both in the pages of design magazines and I've never thought it made the original master seem, well, less masterful.

    The reality is we, as creators, are influenced by many voices and we influence many. I believe that every artist/author/crafter/designer starts off as being influenced by other people's work and creating their own rendition of it. Yes, the hope is that at some point you find your own creative voice. But 'no person is an island'- you didn't become the artist you are today in isolation. You might feel others are "copying your style" but if you take a look at your own journey, weren't you just as influenced by others?

    I guess my issue is when people take claim to the originality of something, that they are doing something that no one else could possibly do or thought of. This holds true for bloggers as well - when someone says "they copied my DIY" or "they saw that on my blog", I want to ask "well, where did YOU first see this idea?" There are no original ideas as the cliche goes.

    This is not to say that I don't value the work, talent, and time that goes into creating original art. My own brother is a struggling artist and I see first hand the passion and countless hours that goes into creating just one piece. But its not just art that should be valued. The way you helped Michelle decorate her home should be appreciated just as much. The time and effort that Michelle's sister put into her artwork - creating a gift from the heart - should also be valued.

    DIY is not a dirty word. This is a debate that is constant in the design world. There are many who do it professionally and earn a living from creating who diminish the talents of those who create as a hobby, on a whim, or out of passion. The reality is there are just as many mediocre professionals as there are naturally talented hobbyists. As those lines continue to blur, I think we all just need to be confident in our own abilities. I hope that Michelle treasures the artwork as much as it had been an original Picasso. A gift from her sister's own hands is in my eyes priceless.

  7. As an artist that has had her paintings appear in Style at Home many times, I can only say how terrible I would feel if I opened an issue and saw a knock off of one of my paintings. Your explanation and apology are beautifully written Tim, but I think in a case like this it would have been nice if the artist could have been notified about this situation ahead of time. Then she would at least have had the opportunity to offer up one of her original's to be used as a prop for the shoot. I know I would've appreciated an email if I were in Ms Bingham's shoes.