STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- Knockoff artwork from China is hurting artist across the country, including right here in the Piedmont.
"Sometimes they are forged where they actually have my signature on them," said Scott Burdick, a figurative impressionist artist who recently discovered his work is being forged. "Most often they are copies of my paintings and then they are resigned under a different name."
Most knockoff paintings have been found in small tourist galleries or online and linked back to Dafen Village, China, where thousands of pieces of fraudulent artwork are produced.
Burdick recently discovered his paintings on several websites including oilpaintings-supplier.com. One of his pieces titled "Quaker Gap portrait" is for sale in the Germanton Gallery for $18,000.00, just one of several galleries Burdick exclusively sells his artwork through. But on the website the same painting can be bought in different sizes ranging in price around $100.
"It makes me feel sad that my work is being used to dupe other people, to con people, to hurt the arts in general and other young artists."
Artist in Dafen Village are known for printing out a copy of art onto a canvas then using a brush will paint over the copy.
In addition to being sold online, some of the fake work can be found in popular tourist spots around the world where Burdick says the artist’s names will be changed and even a fake biography given to the buyers.
For Burdick it's not the damage to him he worries about but the buyers being scammed and the young artist starting out who are now having to compete with knockoffs.
Law enforcement and lawyers both say there is little artists can do about the online China knockoffs, but Burdick suggest buyers research an artist before purchasing from galleries in popular tourist locations. A search of a real artist will turn up in most online search engines and most artists list the galleries they sell through.