B.Y.O.B {Q&A} Jamie Lentzner

tell us a bit about yourself : name, business, profession, years in business, etc. (describe your style and medium), website, blog. Jamie Lentzner, owner and founder of Jamie's Painting & Design. I am an artist first and a business owner second. I make & design children's keepsakes, wall art and gifts. I have been in business for 8 years. I would call my artwork whimsical and fun. Most of my products are ceramic or porcelain, but I am starting to work with other mediums this year. The way I like to work is by getting inspiration from many different places, whether it be a magazine, a new color combination or a suggestion from one of my children. www.jamiespnd.com
My blog www.jpd.typepad.com is about my experience as an artist, an entrepreneur and a mother. I share a lot about my life, probably too much if you ask my husband.

have you ever been copied (your work, art, ideas?) Yes I have had my work copied, heck for as long as I have been an artist I have had my work copied. My designs have been copied, my products have been copied, even the wording I use to describe my products has been copied.

how did it make you feel? Wow, I feel like I am in a therapy session. Well, at first it was anger and then pretty much I felt hopeless about it. It also frightened me because I had seen it done in the past and I assumed that it would affect my sales. Since it was out of my control I tried not to focus too much on it.

what did you do about it? First, I did not keep quiet about it, and I recommend that to everyone I know. For me that meant blogging. I blogged about it a lot. I called you on the phone if you remember correctly ;). I relied on my other artist friends quite a bit. The blogging was very therapeutic and I was able to meet a large number of successful women who felt just like I did. I contacted the culprit a few times via email, but that did not do much good. Second, I got creative - it really puts a creative spark in me when it happens.

do you feel "copying" is black and white... or is there gray area? Well, I think once you open up the gray area you are going down a very slippery slope. I have heard other artists say it was just an "inspiration" or "If everyone else is doing it why can't I?" Or my favorite was, "You can't copyright a polkadot!". I feel copying is copying and either you are guilty or you are not. What I find upsetting is that some of the biggest culprits are the companies that sell our products. They have been known to actually ask me to make a product "like" another artist.

(like copying ONE of something just for yourself vs. a manufacturer copying an item and mass marketing?) I guess if you copy someone's art and just hang it in your living room and don't try to re-sell it then sure - knock yourself out. But if you copy a design and then try to market it - you have stepped over the line. I actually think that most people that copy really do not think they are copying, they might assume their idea was original. However, when I design a product and then I go on line and see my competition and I see a design that looks JUST like mine - I leave that design out my line. I have scruples, and I don't think everyone does.

what is your creative outlet? My home, my garden, my children's rooms. I love to re-decorate my house, or move things around. My friends are always teasing me when they come over because I am constantly switching things around. Sometimes I will paint something just for me or my children.

how/from who/ where do you seek inspiration? From everywhere I think. I get it from clothing designs, color combinations, magazines and books. I have the hardest time at Christmas time when I get on sensory overload from all the decorations in the stores, magazines, television - everywhere I look I see ideas and inspirations for Christmas products, but I am usually so busy I have to just jot the ideas down and come back to them when I start developing holiday products.

why do you thing "copying" is bad? I guess because being a creative person I have no patience for it. I can not understand why you can't come up with your own idea. It just cheapens the original design.

what do you think could be done to eliminate copying? (realistically or otherwise!) Sadly nothing can be done in general - it will always be there. However, again I say don't be quiet about it. Talk about it, educate artists on what is inspiration and what is outright copying.

please define, in your words the concept of - "inspired by vs. copied from" Funny, I did not even see this question and that was my last answer ;). My new designs were inspired by Pottery Barn Kids Bedding Designs. I looked at their catalogs, I looked at the colors, the patterns and the feel of the room. I did not copy the art, I did not see a piece of art on the wall and copy it. Copying is when the entire design is clearly a rip-off of the original. When the artist has almost every aspect of the original design.

define what "original" means to you. Original, unique - think of "The Cheese stands alone" or "One of these kids is doing their own thing" from Sesame Street. It is very clear who is original and who is not. To have the ability to see things different than everyone else. To take it to the next level and/or to do it different than ANYONE else.

do you have a favorite inspirational/motivational/ creative quote or mantra?
"Well behaved women rarely make history"


  1. Thanks for the plug Shell, I think I sound a tad bit snarky though - guess that is just the way I talk (and/or write). Much appreciated though!

  2. What A Fascinating Interview ... And philosophically? If I can use that word .. even more fascinating.

    An effort to promote a "copycat free" artistic industry and creative community ...

    I think there is a juxtoposition ... and I think I may be one of it's number one advocates ...

    http://www.consultwithamastker.com ... for example ... suggests among other things that the Number One Way humans can achieve skill, success, positive goals, etc. ... is to find someone who has done the thing they want to do ... and copy it ...

    I might be inclined to add to the conversation that "copying" ... "sharing" and similar DO's are the secret to the incredible growth we have experienced in human beings ability to achieve things ...

    And ... apparently these concepts even apply to the "artistic" commuinity.


    I have had any number of experiences, especially in the years since the popularizing of the internet beginning in 1995 ... with folks who had a problem ... first, with the notion that I might use a picture they posted on the internet ... THIEF ... they would say ..... Rick Click I would say.

    This medium creates and supports an atmostphere of giving ... it's based, even electronically, on the notion of "sharing" .... it suggests and indeed it perhaps can be proved that things DOUBLE for the copied as well as for the copier.

    It's a not unique religious principles which says GIVE ... get better by GIVING MORE ... including what ... "art?"

    Like I said ... fascinating conversation for sure.

    P.S. I absolutely love the notion that based on current technology and custom I can "copy" the widest variety of video content in history ... copy to share ... copy to recreate something else. It's a concept that many humans created, learned to acccept, embrace, enjoy.


  3. Hi! Great article. Noticed a typo..."why do you thing "copying" is bad?" (I'm pretty sure you meant "think"). I'm not the typo-police...just appreciate when people point out my typos and trying to help out. :-) Great writing!