Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rachel Dolezal

Hey Rachel Dolezal, I am all for your skin color and nice hair. Really, I am. But, I am a little worried about how you have cast yourself not only as a black woman but also as a brilliant artist. You've lifted images that don't belong to you. Not ok. 

Movie advertisement from Pariah Movie

Rachel Dolezal "Pariah" from her blog (she now sells as "prints")
(Art Pal website)

Movie Still from Pariah

"Alike's World" "Painting" from Dolezal's blog ("Sold") 

In my opinion "Alike's World" was likely printed onto a canvas from the photo and Dolezal then touched it up with clear acrylic gesso and paint. It is simply too accurate a copy. She regularly worked with acrylic glue (collage) back in 2012, so she would definitely know how to accomplish this. Much of her blog has to do with cutting things out of magazines. She took images that someone else provided,  glued it down and then called it "Mixed Media"

This, on the other hand, is an actual painting likely done by Dolezal's hand.  It's ok, but not nearly as accurate and photographic as the "Alike's World". Are you able to see the vast difference between this painting and the painting "Alike's World"? This is "freehand", "Alike's World" is a manipulated photograph. Nothing else can explain the difference in how they look. 

I submit that all her "good"(extremely accurate) paintings are in fact some form of "collage" or "mixed media". I would have to see her paint "live" at this point to believe any of the beautiful art on her blog is actually hers.

The most outrageous claim Dolezal has made is that her painting "The Shape of our Kind" (the center of a triptych) is her original work. Check her description on Art Pal:

Because Turner has been gone a good long while, I don't think any estate would fight over copies made of his paintings. It is always the best idea to clearly state that your copy is a copy when one is painting a master painting. How it is generally done is that the artist's name is also on the front with yours. She should have signed this: After JMW Turner's The Slave Ship and then her name. But, we know her by now...and we know she isn't going to be bothered by the fact she completely lifted someone else's product.

The copyright holder (in the above case a film company and the photographer involved) have the exclusive right to decide how their work is distributed. It’s the basis of why the music and movie industries have been so tenacious with their pursuit of “unauthorized use”. Copyright law is not different for visual artists.


  1. Excellent post - I don't have as much of an issue with the appropriation of the Turner -- if she painted it -- as artists do that often - but agree that the other pieces looked photo-reproduced onto canvas and then touched up. I have announced your discovery at http://dcartnews.blogspot.com/2015/06/what-dave-castillo-discovered-about.html


    1. thank you Lenny. I put these things up to help educate artists about infringement. Many, perhaps Rachel included, have no idea what is acceptable and what it not. It surprises me that she got a Masters in Art and would not know that she is infringing on the filmmaker's copyright. I agree with you about copying master paintings, it is sort of a non-issue. Thanks for your help.

  2. Thank you... Very enlightening.

  3. Thank you for the great eye and analysis! I know I shouldn't be mind-blown about her endless deceptions at this point, but damn.....