Nfld. & Labrador

Snoop Dogg shares N.L. illustrator's work on Instagram — but doesn't give her a shout-out

Comic artist Kelly Bastow says celebrities and companies often share artists' work without crediting the creator.

Sharing a picture online? Do a reverse image search and credit the artist, says Kelly Bastow

Kelly Bastow was born in Conception Bay South and moved to Toronto in 2014. She's the artist for the graphic novel Manfried the Man. (Elizabeth Whitten)

It was a regular Sunday for Newfoundland-born comic artist Kelly Bastow until her phoned pinged with the news that someone had tagged her on Instagram.

Curious, she opened the app — and saw that rapper, actor, and Martha Stewart bestie Snoop Dogg shared one of her illustrations to his 31.5 million followers.

But it wasn't Snoop who'd tagged her in the post. He didn't credit her at all.

"I was frustrated and I was excited," she said. "I mean it's extremely cool. It's extremely flattering and humbling."

But a credit for her work would have gone a long way, she said.

Bastow is from Conception Bay South and moved to Toronto in 2014 to pursue her career as an illustrator. Last year was her first year supporting herself entirely with her art.

"If you're an entrepreneur and you're struggling, or you're an emerging artist, can you imagine if somebody with millions and millions and millions of followers gave you a little shout-out and said, 'Hey check out this person's business?' You'd get a big boost."

She hopped into the comments on Snoop Dogg's post and asked him to credit her work, but so far, no response — and no credit.

It happens to a lot of artists

She didn't expect anything to come of her efforts in the comments section, she said. She often sees celebrities, companies or just ordinary folks sharing artists' work online for their own gain without crediting the creator.

Snoop Dogg isn't the first person to pick up her work, she said.

"Sometimes people even take the comics and edit [them] or a business will slap a logo on it. That's really frustrating because they don't ask and they make the drawing look ugly and they don't credit you," she said.

She once saw a social media post using a comic she drew of positions she and her partner like to sleep in. The comic had been edited, with numbers put on each panel, and the post asked followers to comment with their favourite way to sleep.

This comic was altered and shared on social media, says Bastow. (Submitted by Kelly Bastow)

She wasn't credited in that post either, she said.

"I just wish people and celebrities would just do a simple [reverse] image search — it's so easy — and give artists the proper credit they deserve. A lot of times, we don't get it, and our images are floating around on Facebook or Reddit getting millions of views," she said.

"Support artists. If you're sharing an image, try to find out who drew it or painted it."

She says she has no plans to retaliate by sampling Snoop's music without credit.

"I know better than that," she said, laughing.

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