US reiki master steals work from local painter TihanyiPOSTED: 07/27/15 8:16 PM
St. Martin – Painter Stephy Tihanyi is incensed that Teri van Horn, a Texan reiki master has used the image of one of her paintings without permission on her web site and on her Face book page healinglightonline. When the artist called Van Horn on the issue, the American threatened with legal action.
Tihanyi wrote a polite letter to the reiki master, asking her attention for the fact that she had posted the image of her painting ‘The Rainbow Tree of Life’ on her Facebook page.
“My painting has been cropped and written over, it is now a meme,” Tihanyi wrote. “There is not even an acknowledgement of me as the artist.”
The painter furthermore told Van Horn that she had never given permission to use her work and that it has obviously been stolen from her own Facebook page.
“Would you please take this image down at once and not use it again?” Tihanyi asked. “I am a struggling artist who barely makes a living from art. It is not only upsetting that someone else stole my artwork. It is seen and liked thousands of times on your page but my name is ripped from it and I remain unknown and uncredited for work I did in a time of great hardship. The painting is still unsold and sits in my tiny room. Maybe you would wish to buy it from me and help a struggling artist?”
But Van Horn was not responding kindly to Tihanyi’s request. Instead, she reported on her Facebook page that she was being flooded with spam messages. One of these anonymous messages was from someone unknown to Tihanyi. It was extremely rude and laden with expletives. Tihanyi made clear on het Facebook-page that she does not appreciate that kind of support and urged the writer to stop. Van Horn in the meantime she denied any responsibility, and even doubted Tihanyi’s rights to the painting.
In response, the artist had her husband Elston take a picture of her in her room surrounded by her work, where she holds a sign saying, “I am Stephy Tihanyi and this is my painting.”
“I do not want to fight her,” Tihanyi told this newspaper. “I just want her to acknowledge my work and if not, then take it down.”
With wry humor, she adds, “10,000 likes is a lot of people liking my artwork.”
Van Horn informed Tihanyi via email that she would not take the image down and that if the artist persists, she will unleash her attorneys.
It is not the first time that others steal the work from local artists, but this is the first case where it happens online. In the past, the J.W. Sloan Gallery in Cole Bay made a habit of sending work from local artists to a Chinese village where painters produce as many as eight copies of existing work per day and then sell it on the cheap in St. Maarten.