Calgary

West Elm 'reviewing matter' after Calgary artist accuses store of copying her work

Furniture store West Elm says it's reviewing a Calgary artist's claim the store copied one of her paintings for a patterned bedspread without the artist's consent.

Furniture company says it 'would never willingly infringe an artist's work'

Calgary artist Jill Paddock pictured with her painting, and a West Elm bedspread that she believes was inspired by her artwork. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Furniture store West Elm said it's reviewing a Calgary artist's claim the store copied one of her paintings for a patterned bedspread without the artist's consent.

Jill Paddock's painting was displayed in a West Elm store in Calgary's Mount Royal Village until a few months ago.

Three weeks ago, a friend texted her a photo of a bedding set the store was selling to ask if Paddock had done a collaboration — she said no.

Jill Paddock's painting, left, is pictured hanging in a West Elm store in Calgary. On the right is a bedspread for sale on West Elm's online store that Paddock says bears an uncanny similarity to her work. (Jill Paddock, WestElm.ca)

The painting — and the bedspread — are covered with a similar, abstract pattern, made of blue, yellow and white scrapes of a pallet knife.

"I want to assure you that we take your claims seriously and are thoroughly reviewing the matter," West Elm public relations representative Dru Ortega wrote in an email to Paddock on Monday, which she supplied to CBC Calgary.

"As you know, firsthand from your work with our Calgary store team, West Elm is a fervent supporter of local artists and makers from around the world, and would never willingly infringe an artist's work. We are working with our in-house team here in Brooklyn to further research the matter and appreciate your patience. "

West Elm says it's reviewing the matter after a Calgary artist accused the company of copying her work. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

The company, which is a branch of American retail giant Williams-Sonoma Inc., sent Paddock the bedding set, and in an email sent photos of both the bedding and her painting to highlight differences between the two.

Paddock is asking the company to acknowledge their bedspread was inspired by her work — and apologize.

"I had given no permission for my artwork to inspire, or be used on anything of theirs," she said. "I feel like I got taken advantage of. Just because my work is in the store doesn't mean it's theirs to use however they want."

CBC Calgary has reached out to West Elm and has yet to receive a response.

With files from Anis Heydari.

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