A funny thing happens when you start to build an online presence with content of an artistic nature, assuming you are lucky enough to gather any interest, even from a few. That content gets stolen. A lot. It's a blunt way of saying it, but basically that's what it is, and I see no point in softening the terminology. It has happened to me already, and I have nowhere near the presence or notoriety of others in the visual arts. Aside from the few times I have spotted my work altered or used without permission, I have to assume that it's happened a lot more often than I am aware of. At some point, early in your outreach to get your worked noticed, this can be beneficial - your imagery is spreading across the globe, both by you, and others that "share" your work. But there are limits to what I consider acceptable, and what I deem a theft. Let me first state for the record that I have had the good fortune to have some people I know only on social media share my work on their walls, their feeds, and credit me, or share my post specifically. These people will always have my gratitude and thanks, because they must like what they see, and they share it, and give credit to the author of the work. This is incredibly kind and generous of them, and I hope, if they are reading this, they know how much I appreciate it! But then there are the thieves…They copy your image and post it without links, they crop your image, they delete or erase your watermarks, and they post it without your knowledge with no indication of where they got it. A lot of them probably don't realize what they are doing is rude, or just plain wrong, but it is. It can take me days to complete one of these images…I pay the models, I often buy articles of clothing for the shoot, the props, and I put myself and my feeling into what I do. I work for hours on editing them into a conceptual piece. It's a long road, one that I happily go down, but it is a lot of work and expense. And when I finally get to the finish line with an image, and I finalize the piece, emblazoning it with my trusty watermark, it is indeed a bit of a journey. And then faceless internet thief comes along, right clicks in a second, and posts it to God knows where without any trouble at all. I recently came across some of my stuff altered, all turned black and white. Other pieces were used as advertisement without my consent or knowledge, some were re-colored completely. It's frustrating, but nothing compared to what I have seen done to others in my realm. Hopefully it becomes easier to accept and deal with, as it does in fact seem inevitable. So I watermark, and try to post sizes small enough to at least ensure no one can print the piece, and I watch, try to stay vigilant of what's out there and try to protect my babies. And so, this fairly simple image depicts the artists, their works ripped from their frames, patrolling the virtual landscape of the online world trying to follow the trail of where it went and who took it. The title comes from the song by the same name by Prince - the image has nothing to do with the lyric, but "temple" is a sexy, gorgeous word in a title, and the temple in this case is not a literal one, but the temple of your work, your art, your "soul."On a technical/symbolic front, I was happy to return to this simple, slightly surreal landscape that I've used before, and also to find a new use for the tried and true picture frames, this time a literal one. I also tried using the "head lights" on a recent image, but this time I think the result is a little more relevant and favorable - the artists scanning for their stolen work in the brooding landscape.Particularly challenging was the ripped "canvas" on the frames - they were added after the fact, and masking them out of their background was pretty challenging! Model: Mike Ryan

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