Saturday, March 14, 2015

Seeing Double

Copyright has been in the news again this week. There seems to be blurred lines between copying to learn and copying for profit. And not just in the music industry.

A friend of mine was shocked to see people inside the Louvre Museum on a recent vacation copying the art. I told her it is ok and that they even rent easels there for that very purpose. The masters themselves learned at that museum the same way!

I found this fantastic article about it in Smithsonian magazine back in 2001 at my dentist's office. I have never been to Europe but this is number one on my bucket list. They let me keep the magazine. I still have it on my coffee table.

"El Jaleo" after John Singer Sargent by Amy Crews

This Sargent I copied hangs in our living room. In art school I was taught that it's ok to sell copies of another persons artwork just as long as you reference the original artist and that the artist has been dead for a significant number of years.

These two paintings went to court. The story is here. I hope the artist is not hiding his work now.

Sometimes at an art show someone will say "That artist over there is copying you!!" To be completely honest, it's like a punch in the gut but if you know me, you know I'm not going to say anything about it.  It's an uncomfortable situation to be in.

My booth shot from a show back in 2006.

Many new artists will imitate other artists until they find their own voice. There are times when you happen to find the same thing inspiring or there is a trend in the marketplace. They even said in art school "There is no true original idea." But I was taught, and I agree, that is is just wrong to blatantly copy someone's work when it is for profit. 

Kleon has a great way to sum up what he calls theft.

Every time I see a copyright story in the news I think of the book "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon. It's a dilemma and an uncomfortable topic to discuss. How about you? Does it frustrate or flatter when you feel like you've been copied? For more by Austin Kleon check out his website 

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