Sharing Words from Orly Avineri

I was first introduced to Orly Avineri’s work  from seeing her work referenced by other artists who’s work I admire. Some people have a soul in their work that simply cannot be duplicated. I find her work to be in that category.  She graciously gave me permission to reblog her post here because I feel her words are so important for the times we artists live in. You can find her on the internet at


I’ve been sitting in ‘this’ for far too long, allowing it to make me feel small and then smaller. It’s time for it to come out. It’s about a thought that our mindsets, behaviors, attitudes which perhaps many years ago would have been considered dishonest had now become ‘normal’, blatantly justified, and completely OKAY. Behaviors that unfortunately are no longer questioned in the present time.

What we once called plagiarism, we now freely call inspiration, not discerning between the two. Yes, harsh. For someone who keeps advocating the notion that silence is not an option, it is remarkable how silent I’ve become. I could have tolerated that silence a bit longer if I haven’t witnessed more of that coming from others over the exact same tender matter.

I’ve decided that what I see happening more and more is not right by me and is not right for any of us. Generally speaking it’s not okay for people who hurt others to go forth uninterrupted and for those who are hurt to go forth, hushed. Yes, we are most certainly here to promote ideas of reciprocal inspiration, interconnectedness, love, unity, and all that good stuff. Sometimes we keep quiet to not disturb these ideas, but by doing so we achieve the opposite. By doing so we achieve divisiveness, isolation, animosity, and painful distances between humans.

It is truly so incredibly beautiful that with the widespread use of the Internet and Social Media our personal worlds and our visual expressions have opened up so vastly. Abundance of ideas, approaches to the visual language, techniques, and materials are so readily available, easily accessible to all of us at any time, anywhere. These are phenomenal sources we can use for our personal AND our collective well being or we can also abuse in the expense of individuals’ well being.

With the surge of endless possibilities: physical workshops, art retreats, E-courses, instructional books, videos, etc., we have gradually grown to be almost solely dependent on outside stimulation, instant pleasure, and quick means for the advancement of our personal, creative, and business paths. We have forgotten to go IN, put in the time, blood, sweat, and tears, into our processes and practices. We fail to engage our own stories and recall our innate capabilities to grow from the inside out.

And with these attitudes our sense of entitlement has grown unabashed. Unintentionally and unnoticeably we have developed inconsiderate and insensitive behaviors that dismiss and ignore those who express the hurt of having to be prematurely innovative again, abandon a course of action, a very specific, complex creative direction they’ve been working on for a long time because someone else just grabbed it for themselves and is now fully adapting it to fulfill their own dire needs, whatever they me be.

It’s not okay at all to take what you learned, what was shared with you by one person, to not discern, not process, not involve other sources of inspiration, and use it as it is, call it your own, make what she makes, exhibit it, teach what she teaches, have it printed in magazines and books, make money off of it. I am not talking about singular techniques like image transfer, eco dyeing, techniques that have been used for decades if not centuries, or the use of materials like carbon paper or newer inventions like clear gesso and distressed inks.

I am talking about a series of processes and combinations of materials that make for a very specific, profound, and personal and unique expression that you can’t just take. These derive from one’s very own experiential pool. That pool is expansive, that river is long and tremendous, that source is visceral and deep rooted. It comes only from that one person and is not transferable or up for grabs. The hurt that comes from that happening is indescribable.

That hurt is real, so the dismissal of it just deepens the hurt. It makes you not want to create anything any more, cause what’s the point. It makes you not want to share anything, cause it’s just not safe. It makes you want to crawl back into that dark space where you once dwelled, long before you decided to end your screaming loneliness and open up your heart. It makes you silent, once again, wiping out all the work you’ve done to help yourself and others feel that we are here for each other.

It makes you want to make a swift irrational decision to give it all up. I am bringing it up today as another dear friend of mine expressed to me the sudden deep sadness and despair she felt when realizing that someone took her hard work and the originality of her spirit and her one of a kind soul and made it all their own in one fell swoop. I am realizing more and more that this is not only my problem. And I am breaking my long silence, not just for me, but for you too.

It is OUR problem! Keeping silent has severe consequences for me, for us, in our small community, and for all children, women and men in the world. Today more than ever. Silence was and is to blame for many injustices and occurrences since the beginning of time and every where. I am not going to be silent. I am not going to be blamed for causing division by merely expressing injustice, pointing out challenges we face, and pointing fingers to the ones who actually caused the division in the first place.

So please people, let’s not hurt each other. Let’s obtain many many sources of inspiration and use them as fragments of our visual language. But mostly let’s go inward, stay there most of the time, cause this is where the good stuff is, deep deep in the spaces occupied between the roots, reserved only for you. Rely on yourselves as ultimately you are the source of the greatest inspirations. Trust yourself, be gentle and be patient. Find peace within your body.

That peace can not be found in the noise outside your body. And if you are overwhelmed and have doubts about the use of sources outside of you, examine these, and listen to your findings. In the end, no one really intends to cause such harm on any one else. We mostly cause it to ourselves and to others when we deny, dismiss, ignore, and perpetuate. If someone actually expresses to you that you have hurt them this way, you are super lucky. You have the great opportunity of not having to guess. Respect, acknowledge, be loving.

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Kathy Halamka
Kathy Halamka I went to your website to read in full, you are so very right! We need to inspire each other, inspire ourselves, but without that long road of crafting our own true voice, it will be hollow. I have been an artist for four decades now, and each time I wSee More
Like · Reply · 2 · 21 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Heather Ereth Post-Domke
Heather Ereth Post-Domke Well said. A photographer and digital artist friend of mine were discussing just this this afternoon. The art we were talking about was so obviously pager ism and it was in an online classroom setting and when pointed out to the facilitator the commentSee More
Like · Reply · 2 · 20 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Cindy Woods
Cindy Woods So very well said, Orly. You have the gift of the written word, for sure. Thank you for speaking your truth, and for your beautiful heart and honest spirit. xoox
Like · Reply · 5 · 20 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Jana Freeman
Jana Freeman The process of finding one’s own artistic voice is long, challenging and not without inspiration from multiple sources. I question myself all the time and am not sure I’m any closer to having my own style developed versus being some amalgamation of eveSee More
Like · Reply · 4 · 20 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 5 Replies
Michelle Schratz
Michelle Schratz This touches me deeply sweet Orly. Hoping that you have the strength to carry on with your wonderful process of creating. I feel that you put so much of your soul into your art and it was such a blessing to be able to attend your workshop.
No one can even come close to the meaningful & heartfelt way that you share your inner self. I treasure the moments with you. Bless you.
Like · Reply · 2 · 20 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 3 Replies · 11 hrs
Linda Obrien
Linda Obrien Beautifully said Orly and sadly all too true. This has weighed heavily on my heart for several years now.
Like · Reply · 2 · 20 hrs
Linda Obrien replied · 9 Replies · 6 hrs
Kim Lovethelakers Hyer
Kim Lovethelakers Hyer Very well spoken. I have been privileged to have many teachers but a strong inner voice and a bit of craziness. I have deep roots and am grateful for all who have helped me bloom into my own. Thank you for the reminder. The truth..
Like · Reply · 1 · 20 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Kathie J. Vezzani
Kathie J. Vezzani So glad that you were able to express this. xo
Like · Reply · 3 · 19 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Terry Garrett
Terry Garrett Orly you have shared your hurt and I am grateful for your putting this out there. I have been an art educator all my life- the issues you speak of are HUGE. I just have never understood how someone can do that- take and claim it- it’s soul robbing- ASee More
Like · Reply · 3 · 19 hrs
Ardith Goodwin
Ardith Goodwin Oh……this is why I teach the way I do, in showing artists how to identify their own brilliance as creative humans and their own framework which is unique to them. Every single one of us has a unique point of view that can be tapped in to. Thanks for speaking up and continuing the dialogue to help that be known.
Like · Reply · 5 · 19 hrs · Edited
Lorrie Isaacs
Lorrie Isaacs I’ve taken your workshops, you teach from the heart. Your processes and techniques are spirit based, I can feel that when I’m with you. To have them stolen must feel like a deep violation. One must be full of love to stay open and not close down to the hardness in the world out there. Your message is too important to so many of us. I so love your honesty, so important for staying open. Much love💛
Like · Reply · 3 · 19 hrs
Susan Weiss Berry
Susan Weiss Berry Thank you! xoxo Orly
Like · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs
Carissa Paige
Carissa Paige Thank you for this Orly. These conversations are so very needed. I feel a whole lot lighter after reading
Like · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs
Sharon Patterson Stanley
Sharon Patterson Stanley beautifully put. through the years i’ve taken many classes with people who’s art i love and it’s always worried me that i was trying to ‘copy’ someone else’s art. what i have ultimately realized is that my own voice/style always comes through in the See More
Like · Reply · 2 · 19 hrs
Shirley Mccormick
Shirley Mccormick I truly believe that you have a gift and no one can fully duplicate. You also have a certain aura surrounding you that no one can duplicate.
Like · Reply · 3 · 19 hrs
Paula Cecilia Fava
Paula Cecilia Fava I am so grateful that you have spoken this truth aloud. You ARE The Gift … and, each time I have sat with you in a circle of heART … I have come away with an added vision deeper into myself. As much as I desire to be in your & other dear artist friSee More
Like · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Coral Lee
Coral Lee Incredibly articulate and gentle and fierce all at the same time. I have seen this up close with a couple of people (who I will point out are definitely not in my circle). I’ve regretted not calling them out. I know how hard it is to struggle with finSee More
Like · Reply · 2 · 18 hrs
Lisa Andrews Campbell
Lisa Andrews Campbell I respect you and the WORK you put into where you are and what you teach. I took a workshop with you, and you have had a profound affect on my art and my LIFE!! I too, have been through great trouble, triumph and growth, and will continue to help aSee More
Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs
Barbara Muth
Barbara Muth Sweet Orly, I wonder at artists who teach like you do. Grueling schedules, intense work, and then to have to deal with blatant theft and plagiarism of the combination of technique, content and voice! And that happens even after talks about finding yoSee More
Erin Kelly Noll
Erin Kelly Noll You are such a gift Orly, thank you for your true and profound words. Your workshop was so inspiring, it gave me so much. Please continue doing this amazing work. And please stand up for truth, these are all things that need to be said. Much love.
Like · Reply · 2 · 16 hrs
Laura Rifkin
Laura Rifkin Thank you, Orly. This sounds so painful.
Like · Reply · 1 · 15 hrs
Ana Campos
Ana Campos Dearest Orly, I’m so sorry this keeps happening to you. I remember this was one of our first heart to heart conversations. Kudos to you for calling it out and claiming your voice!
Like · Reply · 1 · 15 hrs
Jenny Grant
Jenny Grant I dearly hope this will not make you quite!! Your voice and your work is truly important! Love to you
Like · Reply · 1 · 15 hrs
Julie Smith
Julie Smith Well said. So true. I’m sending you a to affix to your forehead – in the hopes it makes you feel happy & proud ( like a kid in kindergarten) for ‘getting it right’ & 👏👏👏👍💙 my artist son who died in 2010, dealt with this problem often & rarely spoke up about it. So glad you bravely, honestly did. Thank you. Even in the artsy/ crafts junky business I’m knee deep in it happens too!
Like · Reply · 1 · 14 hrs · Edited
Jan Siebern-Bartlett
Jan Siebern-Bartlett You clearly articulated a number of concerning issues that have become acceptable in the social medium realm.

I thank you for compiling this well written statement. We all have witnessed this decline in caring communications.See More

Like · Reply · 1 · 14 hrs
Brian Kasstle
Brian Kasstle We have talked about this so many times. I am so sorry you go through this time and time again. I saw it happen today and it made me so angry and sad, I just knew. Why are people so afraid to go within? Go deep. Please, please do not let this stop you See More
Like · Reply · 9 · 14 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Orly Avineri
Orly Avineri Thank you all so very much for your heartfelt and thoughtful words. We are moving each other. We show that we care for one another and we give each other hope that speaking up pays off and brings us closer to restoring trust, understanding, and renewal. All my love!
Like · Reply · 7 · 14 hrs · Edited
Alison Ridgway
Alison Ridgway My sister made beautiful fused glass necklaces. She worked for years learning, honing her craft and starting selling them on local stalls when her kids were small. A lady showed interest, asked lots of questions, took pictures… a year later she was aSee More
Like · Reply · 4 · 14 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Bay Le Sage
Bay Le Sage Orly Avineri I am so sorry that your friend was stolen from. I wish there was a way to recover what was stolen and to make sure the thief realizes what they have done. It is hard to find our own voices, but it is worth the work. thank you for putting this out there for discussion.
Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
רקפת הדר
רקפת הדר Thank you Orly for bringing this up again ,it’s such an important issue.i teach lots of classes in israel (very small pool)and I always give my students written notes with all my processes.i explain them the different between teqniques and process and See More
Like · Reply · 3 · 13 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Megan Fortin
Megan Fortin I commend you for speaking up. What you articulated is so important. Your integrity and authenticity is so cherished. Hearing you speak at the Brave Girls Symposium was so moving. I am enthralled by your art and your way of weaving words together so eloquently. I’m so sorry that this has happened to you.
Like · Reply · 2 · 13 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Michaela Mende Janco
Michaela Mende Janco I am so sorry to realize this is taking place. Your uniqueness and originality are inimitable. I believe in the law of karma and no good can come out of stealing someone else’s ideas. The passion and the creative process will be missing and they are the heart of the matter. Sending you a big hug. You are one of a kind.
Like · Reply · 4 · 13 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Crystal Marie Neubauer
Crystal Marie Neubauer This is such a huge problem. You are so right to call it out. I have experienced it as well – seeing work getting posted online by students coming out of a workshop taught by a woman who took my class and turned around and taught it verbatim – it is suSee More
Like · Reply · 6 · 10 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Angela Rae Barribeau
Angela Rae Barribeau I was horrified to open a well known magazine and see artwork that was very similar to a well known, loved artist. I read the entire article and not one mention of the original artist. I was as disgusted with the person duplicating the artwork as I wasSee More
Like · Reply · 3 · 10 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Amy Samira Sperry Faldet
Amy Samira Sperry Faldet What I wish they could see is that they have their own stories to tell. That your story helps them, or should help them, look inside themselves to find their own… is what art appreciation is. Terry Pratchett said, “If we do not turn our lives into ouSee More
Like · Reply · 6 · 8 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Yacov Bercovitz
Yacov Bercovitz Finally you let it come out!!! And you are so right! Plagiarism in contrast to inspiration comes out of laziness. It’s easier to copy work and ideas than to search for own work and ideas in the inner souls.
Let these “obstacles” inspire you to use them as stepping stones on your path of searching for more within yourself.
Don’t let it paralyze your beautiful artistic soul… See More
Like · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Amanda Grace
Amanda Grace I’m listening and always have been Orly. I respect you so much and here’s the thing I keep thinking. I value our connection so much that I would never want to jeopardise that. I consider you a teacher, mentor and model of artist with a deep sense of inSee More
Like · Reply · 2 · 6 hrs · Edited
Amanda Grace replied · 2 Replies · 47 mins
Karen Suzanne Lamb
Karen Suzanne Lamb Striving to not replecate what one learns in a workshop is hard, especially when you treasure someones views and ideas but my goal is to learn, admire, and find more and more through obsevation what is valid and real for me, my soul expressed…
Like · Reply · 2 · 6 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
MaryBeth Shaw
MaryBeth Shaw Thank you for posting, Orly. Sadly, I know exactly of what you speak, through my own experience and a number of my dear friends. This behavior has become quite common and yes, I have been silent too, afraid to ‘call people out’, thinking that I am takiSee More
Like · Reply · 8 · 6 hrs · Edited
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Lou Welker McCulloch
Lou Welker McCulloch I have had a problem with this throughout my life. I was a freelance writer for years and found out someone was completely copying a monthly column of mine, but too expensive to sue. My artwork style also, but I was not ‘famous,’ I gave up for years. I try so hard to have my own style now and so often see others copying from a class then teaching it. So sad.
Like · Reply · 3 · 5 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
CoastalPamela Vosseller
CoastalPamela Vosseller Orly, it took a brave heart to step up and speak accountability. .. you are right, I should also no longer be silent. Next would action.
Like · Reply · 2 · 5 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Janet Hegman Shier
Janet Hegman Shier You are so right. I don’t know who/how many have hurt you but I DO know that there’s not a chance that they are the beautiful Orly we all know and love. I’ve always resented that line about copying being the greatest flattery. Hell, just compliment theSee More
Like · Reply · 4 · 5 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 2 Replies · 5 hrs
Jen Lake
Jen Lake 🙏🏻💗🙏🏻
Like · Reply · 1 · 5 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Seth Apter
Seth Apter As always, you speak from the heart and touch so many, so deeply. Truly glad you let this out to the universe and did not continue to harbor this alone. Many of us, myself included, have dealt with this. To be silent, as you say, is beneficial to no one. Much love and appreciation for your willingness to be vulnerable by sharing not only your art but also your innards! Big hugs.
Like · Reply · 9 · 5 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Misty Mawn
Misty Mawn It’s such a awful thing to feel and hard to know what to do when you see someone taking what you felt was yours and calling it their own, then feeling like you are lost in the shuffle, no longer the artist with an original voice. I agree the dismissalSee More
Like · Reply · 12 · 4 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 3 Replies · 1 hr
Sarah Bunker
Sarah Bunker I’m sorry, but plagiarists do need to be called to account. Otherwise they are getting away with it, and may not even understand the damage they are causing…
Like · Reply · 2 · 4 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Anne Amerson
Anne Amerson Orly Avineri : long read, good read!
Like · Reply · 2 · 3 hrs
Tamar Bercovitz
Tamar Bercovitz So sad tha this is still going on………
Like · Reply · 2 · 2 hrs
Orly Avineri replied · 1 Reply
Janice Paine-Dawes
Janice Paine-Dawes I would love permission to share this on my art blog, with full credit of course!
Like · Reply · 1 · 34 mins
Orly Avineri
Orly Avineri Please go ahead dear Janice.. important work.
Janice Paine-Dawes
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Janice Paine-Dawes
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