Most artists don't react favorably when they see artwork that is quite similar to their own. I think it's normal to have "hard feelings" in response to this situation, after all, artists work hard to develop their ideas and asthetics. I recently read a great article from Art Hound an arts weblog run by Kate Singleton from Brooklyn where she encourages artists to think twice before accusing anyone of copying their work. So next time you are tempted to utter the bitter statement "She/He copied me" consider these thoughtful meditations from Kate at Art Hound:
Artwork can look very similar and yet be unrelated.
Two people can arrive at the same place having taken different paths. I’ve been convinced an artist (let’s call her Artist A) was highly influenced by another artist (Artist B) only to discover that artist A had never heard of the artist B. Sometimes the explanation is that both artists were influenced by another artist (Artist C). Other times different influences and backgrounds bring artists to a similar place.
All art references older art, and there are a lot of references.
The history of art is quite old. If you think you’re doing something totally new, you’re probably wrong. There were probably others doing the same thing before you.
Don’t assume you are the one to have inspired the artist.
This relates to the previous point. If you think you’re the only one making a certain type of art, do some research and make inquires with some respected art professionals. You may find you have company. And they might have influenced the artist, not you.
You may have inspired the artist unconsciously.
How many images do we see a day? Too many to fully absorb and process, yet we are all influenced by these images and messages, even those that aren’t consciously processed in the brain. The more time an artist spends scrolling through images on flickr or Pinterest, the more likely it is that they are unconsciously influenced by these images. One of those images might be your work.