100305 Women who steal art too much.

Andrea Hensley Brooks. In any well-blogging furry, that name inspires a reaction. Sometimes a twitch, or a gasp of surprise. Sometimes a peal of laughter. The commonn factor is that they always almost think of her negatively.

Andrea is, simply put, an art thief. She's been doing so for over half a decade now, concentrating on the works of Yuko "Aido" Ota, widely esteemed artist of Fallen, going so far as to lie to her own best friend, among others. While this promotes feelings of anger in some, and sarcasm in others, she is widely reviled as one of the most persistant art thieves since the first picture was posted online. She regularly accuses Aido of theft, and has even gone so far as to send her husband as a fake lawyer to serve a fake lawsuit, and publishing her home address.

As I said, persistant.

Or perhaps insane.

If you read the friend's journal entry, you may notice something.

In retrospect, I can see how remarkably adept Andrea was at explaining Yuko's descriptions of pictures that Andrea claimed as her own. There was nothing Yuko wrote that Andrea couldn't convince me was hers...not that I needed much convincing. I believed that this was the art of my closest friend, and nothing gave me cause to believe otherwise. I don't think Andrea had publicly posted her art at that point, or if she had, no accusations had yet been made. Either way, I heard nothing about it.

I will never forget the time, a few days later, halfway through the fall semester of our junior year (fall 2001) when Andrea and I and our mothers sat in my living room and talked it out. For a long time nothing art-related came out and then, in a silent pause, I looked right at Andrea and told her that I just had to know, I didn't care what it meant, I only wanted the truth. And she looked at me and I said one word: "Aido." With tears in her eyes, she looked away and shook her head. And this was the epiphany of my youth: that things aren't always what they seem, that you can't trust everyone and that trust can be broken, that no matter how hard you fight for something, just fighting for it doesn't make it the right thing. And so on. Things that everyone has to come to grips with at one time or another, but for me it was all at once.

And that's when my friendship with Andrea ended.

Yes, that's right, we're dealing with a manipulative, lying, possibly mentally disturbed girl with no respect for the effort invested in the artwork of others.

I cannot remember which of the links it was, but I believe it was Kaledora's, which mentioned that our dear Andy was depressive. I have a theory, which required me to play armchair psychoanalyst. Except that I enjoy amateur psychoanalysis, and I haven't sat in an armchair for more than five minutes for over a year.

Andrea may be depressive due to a psychological desire for attention. Stealing art not only wins her easy acclaim, but she is also allowed to vent her anger upon the original artist by flaming them. However, when her art is shut down, as it inevitably is, or she takes the piece down, she moves to a new furry art site, and keeps moving, garnering new accolades. Her very persistance works to her advantage, as the original artist decides to stop giving her attention. The problem being that online, silence is a tatamount to a confession. Unless you expressly state thet you're tired and will be shutting up, she comes off as vindicated, and you come off guilty. Any logical person would realze that the kneejerk defensiveness and evasions are not the hallmarks of a innocent woman. Andrea, like many unstable personalities, may actually believe that she is the wronged party, or that she earned the recognition in some way.

Personally, I was thrilled when I got my first flamer, on my old diary. That may sound odd[and it is], but I knew that the statistical likelihood of one particular homophobic nut finding the thing were remote, and that the chances of that occuring increased in proportion to my amount of readers. Oddly enough, I'm not gay. All I did was ask if it was okay for a guy to play a girl in an MMORPG. That was over a year ago, possibly two. The nut's last post was late last summer.

Returning to the subject...now.

Andrea is an anomaly among art theives; she does not communicate in a near incomprehensible form of Netspeak, uses hardly any emoticons-though still far above average for an accomplished artist-and appears to be fairly skilled herself. Real world art theft takes skill, but most digital art theives simply save the orignal image and post it as their own. Andrea seems to be good enough to reproduce the original artists' work in an almost identical style, and to erase any trace of any watermarks which may have been present. Given the apparent volume of the woman's larceny, I'm going to say the latter.

Perhaps because I'm an artist myself, I cannot, and never have been able to, empathize with art thiefs. The idea of taking the credit for another's work is as alien to me as breathing helium to survive, or flying. Possibly it is because I know I'll get caught. I also know the first rule of compting

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.


Everything has a timestamp.


You can rewrite the time on your webpage, but you can't check the caches of everyone who say the image, or wipe the memoriues of the people who remember when they saw it. Deviantart, in particular, has logged submission timestamps above every piece, and they're unchangable, short of the admins deleting the page. Even the comments are for keeps, and the forum posts.

The end result is that if you post a poor piece, and you've just joined, and the piece you allegedly ripped off is high quality, shows skill,and the artist is vastly popular in their field, you're done for.

Andrea has avoided this problem by switching hosts often, under a flurry of different handle, but always the same real name. Much like the /fic fan on a Smallville board who had upwards of twenty different aliases, all of them supporting each other, all of which were eventually traced to a public library and some house. Oooh...sloppy!

In conclusion, I would like to tell you to look out for Andrea Hensley, or Andrea Brooks, or Banrai, or Ashleigh, or whatever she calls herself. And remember that art theft is everyone's problem.

EDIT: Huh.


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