Q: Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
A: Hi, I’m Cédric; but artistically I am known as Barruf. I was born in Manresa (Barcelona). I am a self-taught “artist”. I love animals, nature, to walk in the woods, enjoy the primary pleasures of life. What I do? What I do is simple but not easy: I try to make my living doing what I love.
Q: What art technique do you use, and what motivated you to use that technique?
A: I try to use and to learn different techniques, because I get fun trying out new things; from oil painting to 3D. But the one technique I use most often, almost on all my illustrations, is mixed media. I work with graphite pencils and Chinese inks applied with traditional pen, charcoal, and then I edit on Photoshop. What motivated me to use this technique on my illustrations was mainly because graphite pencils were around me when I felt the first desires and necessities to create. Then I decided to buy some Chinese ink and traditional pens to detail my works “better”. The Photoshop came later, when I realised that it is a good tool to edit, and to add some colour or textures on my works.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to be an artist? And has the internet become a good or bad aspect to life as an artist?
A: I decided to be an artist in late 2014. And yes, internet has been a necessary aspect to start my life as an “artist”. I see the internet as a good tool, to promote, to attract clients, and to sell; but I see there are some negative aspects too. It is a double-edged sword.
Q: What do you dislike about the world of art?
A: There are some things that I really dislike about the world of art. I don’t like too many people that take advantage of the talents of others, for their unjust enrichment. For example, companies engaged in the sale of art or products with designs from artists, and these artists receive only symbolic or ridiculous payments while the company keeps the big money. I hate the people who call themselves artists and who only have copied, plagiarised, or directly have stolen artworks or designs. The world of art is sadly full of this kind of people. I hate too, the big companies who tolerate this plagiarism, and the theft of designs, and who have huge benefits thanks to this illegal practices.
Q: What is the toughest thing about being an artist?
A: Mmmm…the toughest thing about being an artist is to make a living from it. There are other though aspects as well. I feel sick when I realise that most of my productive time flies away because I have to attend e-mails, submit works, adapt artworks to fit well on dozens of different product templates, self-promote my works…I would love spend my time just creating and learning.
Q: What’s your message to the World?
A: My message to the World…It is related with my answer at the question number 5: “Hey World! Check my works and buy some of them. Like you, I need money to make a living; to survive will allow me to keep my hands creating and learning.” I would love to say something less egocentric, but I’ve decided this time to be just practical.
Q: What was your first case of a piece of art being infringed upon?
A: If I remember well, the first design I found stolen was my “Pug; Gentle Pug” illustration. One seller on Aliexpress was selling illegally this design printed onto phone cases. Since that day I’ve been infringed too many times around the World.
Q: How did you feel about someone stealing your artwork and making money from your hard work?
A: I feel a kind of frustration, sadness, sometimes anger. It is difficult to make a living from being illustrator or artist, so it really hurts when you see that others take advantage in an illegitimate way of your own work.
Q: Do you feel it’s a necessary part of the market, to allow for free advertising?
A: I thought on it, several times, and I would say: NO! If it was a necessary part of the market, big and small companies would not spend a single penny to prevent and to pursue intellectual property theft. Free advertising comes from fans, followers, clients, etc.
Q: What would you say to the infringers if you had the chance?
A: Thank you for my stomach pains and headache.
Q: How do you think this situation could be resolved?
A: Probably the only way to solve it or make it smaller would be to change some intellectual property laws. Giving some responsibility to the companies who sell stolen designs could help a lot, and for me the most important way to solve it: to educate new generations, about intellectual property and its importance.
Q: What is your view on copyright?
A: Absolutely necessary to allow creatives keep doing their jobs.
Q: Have you ever innocently, or without knowledge of copyrighted laws used other’s material for your own work?
A: Sometimes I’ve used copyrighted images as reference, but I don’t reproduce copyrighted images, sometimes I just get references from details, parts, poses…I respect copyrights because I know well how it hurts when someone uses your own artwork without consent.
Q: How do you protect your own work against copyright theft?
A: I state on my webpage that all my artworks are copyrighted, and that I own all the rights. When I post them anywhere else I always say it is created by me. If I post any watermark free images of my artworks on social media I use only small previews with low resolution; but sadly, sometimes those small previews are “enough” to take them and sell it printed onto phone cases. For example: (this way is how people can buy phone cases at 5$ or even less on internet; most of those stores sells stuff with stolen bad quality printed images).
Q: Do you think companies on the web do enough to protect artist’s work?
A: Definitively, no, they don’t. Some of them try to protect their artists or designs, by adding watermarks, not allowing to download artworks previews, adding report buttons under the artworks, etc; but generally…companies do nothing to protect us and those who try to do something, sometimes they don’t do enough.
I know about companies who know that lots of their “artists” (let’s say sellers) are selling stolen artwork, and they do nothing about it. They close their eyes, play the dumb or even some of them feature the fraudulent artists and the stolen artworks on their social medias.
Q: What do you think about Creative Commons and Public Domain?
A: I am OK with them. About the Creative Commons, I think every creative has the right to decide if they want to keep all the rights of their creation or just keep some of them, or none of them.
Q: What do you think of artists that abuse this feature?
A: I think that some of them are simply a fraud, lots of people take public domain images or CC images and then sell them saying they created them by themselves. They sell them as if it was their original creation.
Public domain images are there to be free for everyone, but they aren’t there to tell others you created them…In my opinion people are free to sell public domain images, if they give credit to the original author, or if they use it to create new derivative works (I don’t mean just add a filter and sell it as your original creation).