Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Why I've left Red Bubble..

I thought my friends deserved a bit more detail on why I have removed my work from Red Bubble.

I've not been involved in any discussion about this at RB before finding about this I had no prior grudge against the site. I hosted two groups and have been there since June 2008 without major problems. I like to think my input at RB has been 100% constructive. My political views are pretty much in the centre.

I've left RB because I am unhappy (and can't afford) to be associated even indirectly with the material in question and after discussing it with several artists I decided to remove my art. I have relatives who fought and suffered as POW's in WW2 and feel anything less would be disrespectful to their memory. I know several artists who have pulled out in the last few days and also prior to that... I wouldn't class any of them as trouble makers and don't even think they are active participants in the RB forum debate. They just saw what was happening and like me didn't agree with it.

Whatever the original context of these works for me this matter has moved beyond that. when I see a T shirt saying "Back to the Fuhrer" the joke if there ever was one is lost on me.
If its a joke then it's in very poor taste.. if its not a joke then the message is pretty clear. If this is a strictly commercial decision by RB i.e. because these shirts are selling well, then for me its the wrong decision. And there is worse than that..

I doubt very much that Neo Nazi's considering buying this material will be put off that it's supposed to be a parody. The wider impression being created because few will check the original context and why should they.. is that RB is protecting the producers of Neo Nazi imagery while suspending or canceling the accounts of those who object. At best it appears to trivialize the holocaust, and for that reason alone I am unhappy with it. The damage being caused to RB international reputation is increasing exponentially. I've picked up reports on this on several business news sites and it seems to me only a matter of time before the main stream media picks this up.

If these images are simply kids and a generational thing.. then its time to explain that they have created a monster with a life of its own. If as has been suggested the creators motives are not sinister I appeal to them to prove it by ending this now. I've not checked them out.. I'm not interested.

My original thinking was to sit tight and hope for a change in policy.. but I increasingly felt that lack of action on my part was interpreted as tacit support for RB's current policy on this. If my mail box is anything to go by then this issue is creating a lot of unease amongst RB's core supporters.

I'm not interested in discussing it further as I've made my decision but just felt I should explain my reasoning further. I am already missing all my friends and supporters at RB. I'm not at all certain where I will find another vibrant artist community like it. I do hope if you read this you will keep in touch.

I hate censorship and have always defended RB's open approach against criticism but I simply can't support them on this.

In the end I am interested in promoting my art to a wide audience in a professional way, and I want my work on sites with compatible professional and artistic aims. In the final analysis if a site allows dubious content I can't afford to be associated with that site, its as simple as that.

I take no pleasure in making this decision at all.
I'm not going to post endlessly about it, I've made my decision and now I'm moving on to try and find another vibrant online artist community. I do hope my RB friends if you read this that you will keep in touch.

For now I'm building up my presence at Blue Canvas.. the community is small but I am impressed by the professionalism of the BC organisation. I don't know whether it is the answer but I'm giving it a go. Facebook for all its issues is a vibrant meeting place for artists.. and many friends already have a presence there.

I think what RB have lost site of is that it was artists pointing their links at RB that made the site expand massively. At the moment these same artists are leaving in droves.. and taking their links down. RB was primarily a vibrant artist community and it would seem RB have forgotten that.

Andy Mercer


Abbie Shores said...

I just got sent here from my article on RB http://1stangel.co.uk/blog/2011/have-redbubble-gone-too-far/ as someone left a comment pointing to your post. I was suspended for reporting what was happening with no word from them. I find it sad that they are removing the decent people and leaving up what at the least is questionable material. If my report was not biased before I do feel biased now because of their attitude to those that disagree.

cynthia.adams98 said...

I have to say Andy that I & so many of the RB Members feel exactly how you do and many have left for the reasons you list.
I too have been a member for 3+ years,but in the last 7 months I have seen so much offensive,so called artwork that I only stay to keep my eyes on whats happening and I have to say each day is more depressing than the last!

At one time I was proud to upload my work there but now although my work is still there for now,(but not for sale)I too will be ridding myself of this dreadful place.

The rules are distorted,they have no principals whatsoever and the entire Bubble has burst for me & others which is sad.
Obviously the money is more important than anybody's feelings and as it's so regularly stated,if you don't like it go elsewhere.
The entire community is split and I have lost many friends but I stand for decency and honesty when it comes to cashing in on the poor people who have lost their kin through the Wars and the Holocaust.
It's a dreadful place to be linked to and I am using FAA,and looking into BC for the future.
I hope that you find some Peace and a good platform for your work in the future.
Thank you for posting,and I understand completely.Great writing by the way as you have convinced me to clear the decks also.
All the best

Cynthia Adams