Louisville artist says Walmart is selling her Taylor Swift ornaments copied without permission

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A Louisville artist focused on fulfilling holiday orders is now taking on a retail giant who she says is selling her artwork without permission. 

Bri Bowers arrived in Louisville in 2012 after studying illustration at Parsons: The New School for Design. Bowers works with a variety of mediums to create wearable art, cardboard sculptures and watercolor illustrations. Her watercolor series of Louisville landmarks and neighborhoods is locally popular. 

“The community embraced me as an artist and illustrator,” Bowers said. 

Bowers owns and operates a studio and shop in the Germantown neighborhood, which she opened in 2020. 

She’s been a fan of Taylor Swift since 2007, and offers a variety of fan art for Swifties. Bowers’ collections include Taylor Swift watercolor prints, Taylor Swift ornaments and stickers.


Bri Bowers shows off Taylor Swift artwork in Louisville, Ky. on Dec. 18, 2023.

Bowers painted a picture of Swift and turned it into stickers, which she put onto wooden cut-outs to make a one-of-a-kind ornament.

The artist recently checked to see where her Taylor Swift-inspired ornaments ranked on Google’s search pages.

“I searched Taylor Swift ornament to make sure mine pops up at the top, when I did that, even before I saw that one of the images I saw was a link to Walmart.com with artwork in the link, so just by a Google search I found it,” Bowers said. “They basically screenshotted that and traced the image and blurred my name out, everything else is my exact handwriting, my paint strokes, it’s all my artwork that they copied and pasted.”

Since the online sellers didn’t ask permission, it was disappointing for Bowers to see her work had been taken by a larger brand.

“My stomach dropped, I remember actually shaking,” Bowers said. “It was really overwhelming, especially when I have so many orders to fulfill to be competing with that.”

She knows other artists who have had their work stolen by large companies.

“It is pretty violating, you hope it doesn’t happen to you,” Bowers said. 

Bowers sought advice from a copyright lawyer and tried to directly contact Walmart.

“I submitted five different forms,” Bowers said. “Most of the responses you get back are a work-around language, they’re saying because it’s a third party they are not liable. It’s almost like they’re saying we don’t know what we sell.”

The company responded “Walmart doesn’t enforce contractual relationships between third party sellers and their suppliers, Walmart doesn’t intervene in and authorized or unauthorized reseller arrangements.” 

There are five different sellers offering Bowers’ artwork, some going to international links. None of the businesses can be found on the Better Business Bureau website. Some of the listings were taken down temporarily, but appeared again within days.

As of Monday, there were at least four different listings with Bowers’ stolen artwork still online.

She plans to put more watermarks on her images to prevent companies from copying her work.

“I don’t know how much the products have made and I will probably never know,” Bowers said. “I don’t want money from them, I just want them to come down.”

She said the best way to support local artists is to buy directly from them. To visit Bri Bowers’ website, click here.

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