Bring on the clones

0

Dear Artist,

Yesterday, Shelley Burke wrote from Chelsea, Quebec: “Recently I’ve been treating myself to copying some important artists and their paintings that I admire. Is it okay to put these reproductions on the market, while always crediting the original artist? Or is this totally not acceptable? Is it illegal? Or is it just tacky?”

Thanks, Shelley. Copying the work of an admired artist is great as an exercise. As a commercial venture, even inadvertently, it’s tacky. How would you feel if someone started to clone your stuff and sell it? I suggest sticking to your own vision — it’s more fun anyway.

That was my short answer, the one I sent to her. The long answer involves the moral decay running amuck these days. In an “anything goes” world, appropriation has become the norm. In our game there are new outbreaks of The Great Chinese Clone Machine every week. Down here on Main Street, low-end copy shops flog everything from unauthorized reproductions of living masters to stunning handmade copies of the noble and unprotected dead. Particularly since the advent of giclees and home inkjets, lots of folks seem to think it’s okay to copy other people’s stuff. We’re becoming an ersatz culture that doesn’t feel the need to own the real thing.

Part of the problem is that folks don’t see art for what it truly is. Painting, for example, is an inventive, explorative activity that happens to use colour and form. In other words, it’s creative, not imitative. When that penny thunks down in our heads, things suddenly become more interesting and exciting. Not strangely, folks also become more successful. Simply being able to avoid the ho-hum factor is reason enough to stop and desist.

When I’m asked questions like this one, I often refer people to the honoured Resource of Art Quotations
on our site. The pages on “Copying,” for example, give a variety of opinions, many contributed by wise subscribers to this letter. “Xerox copies, artists create,” says CJ Rider of Mesa, Arizona. Others, like old Cennino Cennini (1370-1440), are still telling us to “take pains and pleasure in constantly copying the best works that you can find done by the hands of great masters.” Just tear ’em up when you’re done and don’t try to flog ’em.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “A lotta cats copy the Mona Lisa, but people still line up to see the original.” (Louis Armstrong)

Esoterica: Illegal? You can bet your bottom brush it’s illegal. Defending copyright and winning has historically been the province of the big guys like Disney. But more and more it’s independent creators, especially photographers, who are rattling the cloners’ cages. One doesn’t want to be on the butt end of a clone case. Apart from the possible fines and expenses, artists don’t need to have their fifteen minutes of fame for that reason.

 

 

Delighted to be chosen?
by Corrie Scott, Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados

 

“Window III”
photograph by Corrie Scott

I watch in fascination as people use my photographs for painting without asking. I am usually very liberal once asked but it can then be taken a step further in that people take my work and then put it on cards and sell them as their work. And then do not even credit me for them. One friend proudly told me she had downloaded all of my art off my website, printed them out, painted them, and then put them on cards and that they were selling very well. I quietly asked her if she had put my name anywhere on the card or my website. She said no in a most surprised way. I think she expected me to be delighted that she had chosen to use my work.

 

 

 

 

Seeing the bravery in work
by The Incredibly Neat Fleeboy Pete

It’s so important to emphasize the value of imagination in work and being free from the vagaries of other people’s perceptions or a reality as presented by others in education. So easy to say, “Kids these days and their lack of moral fortitude.” But what is really needed is to encourage the bravery to see the world in ways one’s own as well as respect the works of those who do. It’s the way we become world-makers either in the reality shared by others or in our heads that we want to get out. So copying for fiscal profit is not just a violation of the monetary value of our works but literally of that which we’ve trained ourselves to be, and often hard won. To ONLY copy for profit is not just illegal, it’s a sin against the value of the freedom of expression that is most highly regarded by those of us with that bravery. Selfish, but I think I’ve earned it. Because I look in the face of chaos and make order from nothing much. I want that to be seen as a worthy pursuit, regardless of content or style or how well it sells this season.

PS: I’ll be flattered if you reproduce this note in any fashion, and with any edits and wave all rights for you to copy it or print out a copy and put that copy on your fridge or write copy about the copy that you make from this copy so that you have a copy along with the e-copy that I’m copying to my drafts folder so I have an extra copy unless this copy does not go through. Copy?

(RG note) Thanks, Pete. We copy that.

 

 

Photographing in Public Galleries
by Robyn St. Cyr

A friend of mine and I were in New York for only 2 days and were able to make it to the Met and MOMA. What was surprising and disappointing to me were the number of people with cameras, camera phones and video cameras openly recording their experience. Even though there is a policy of no cameras and definitely no flashes at all, I was surprised at how many people went ahead and did whatever they wanted. It seemed that more people were more concerned about taking the pictures of the pieces than experiencing them. I’m not sure those folks even saw the artwork. They just wanted to record it. What better place to experience a work of art than just standing or sitting near it and taking it all in; their experience was a quick pic and move on. What really floored me and made me chuckle was when I saw people taking photos of photos. All of this behavior would be great material for an essay by David Sedaris. I wonder what he would have done ;-) I’m sure he would cut to the core of this behavior in an insightful manner.



There are 4 comments for Photographing in Public Galleries by Robyn St. Cyr

From: Connie Pepper — Dec 12, 2008

I had the same experience last year at the Louvre…with one added caveat…people would stand in front of famous art work and have their picture taken with the piece. It was distracting and annoying!

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Dec 12, 2008

The museum of anthropology in Mexico City has a great system. You can pay a hefty amount at the entrance and they issue a sticker that you stick on a visible place on your camera. Guards watch and if they see a camera without a sticker, off you go out, head first! The price for the sticker is quite high as I remember so there aren’t many cameras at all.

From: Suzanne — Dec 14, 2008

I was fortunate enough to visit the Met in October and am one of those annoying people who took photographs. May I respectfully point out that the Met does permit non flash photography. I couldn’t find the floor plan but have double-checked the Met website and under Museum policies it states — “Still photography is permitted for private, noncommercial use only in the Museum’s galleries devoted to the permanent collection.” For me the experience was enhanced by being able to take photos. I spent one whole wonderful Thursday there, wandering around, staring at wonderful paintings by Renoir, Carravaggio, Rembrandt et al. I even sat down in the prescence of these paintings too! One day is not much to take it all in. I tried my best not get in anyone’s way when photographing. I certainly saw and experienced the paintings and sculpture and now that I am home in Belfast, Northern (where we have only one fairly average museum containing no Renoirs, no Rembrandts) it gives me great pleasure to look at these photos and remember what I saw. Also, not all of the Met’s paintings are reproduced in postcards, books etc to purchase and this is one way of reliving the experience. Don’t assume just because someone takes photos that the art means something less to them. It doesn’t.

From: Susan — Dec 17, 2008

I had a similar experience in the Louvre, but what really made me chuckle was the parents stuffing large, heavy (and obviously expensive) cameras into their kids hands and telling them to get close and take a picture. The kids were baffled by this request and asked, why? The parents (who are focusing solely on the kid and not the art) snap back that this is a very important painting so take the picture and we can move on to the next one.

 

 

Getting ‘good’ before you die
by Marilynn Brandenburger, Decatur, GA, USA

 

“Guest House”
watercolor on paper
by Marilynn Brandenburger

I have been teaching adult students for more than 30 years, and I have seen the problem of copying appearing more and more frequently over the years. I can’t help but think that it’s directly related to the disappearance of art from the school curriculum and from our cultural consciousness as well. I believe all individuals have that innate desire to create, but because there is no longer an outlet for creativity during most people’s schooling and subsequent working years, many people are only finally able to reclaim their creative selves in retirement — which is where most of my students are. But by then, of course, there are no longer enough years left to learn all that it takes to develop masterful skills and a truly personal vision… and thus some folks resort to copying out of a sort of desperation, so they can be “good” before they die. It’s sad really. Somewhere, somehow, our civilization needs to realize that we really need to educate the whole person, enabling that innate human quality we call “creativity” to flourish along in the midst of what we currently call education.

 

 

Low standards — easily reached
by Shari Jones

Copies are just that, copies — not the real thing. If one sets standards low enough, they are easily reached. Along with overly available copies there is another category that bugs me. That is what the myriad of television design and redecorating shows call art. “Let’s make some art” slop, glop, match the sofa viola instant art!! “Anyone can do it!” I think this needs to be called “decor” not the art piece of the room. As a former graphic designer I saw this happen when desk-top publishing came into vogue. Layouts that would have hit the trash bin were perfectly acceptable because the client’s nephew did it on his computer. The standard went down not because of taste but because of cost. As has been said, there isn’t anything that cannot be done cheaper for those who value price alone. If we do not value our work and the original work of others — why bother.

 

 

AWS copyright dispute
by Anonymous

 

“Homeless person”
copyright photo by Kuzma

“Vintage door”
copyright photo by IKO

Of late, the matter of copyright infringement met its pinnacle with the 2008 Gold Medal winner for the AWS competition and show. The artist who won, with a hyper-realistic painting, allegedly (at least according to the photographer and obviously from the comparison of painting to photograph) copied verbatim from a published photograph done by a well known photographer seen on shutterstock.com. The artist was obviously a very talented painter but has probably ruined her career, compromised her ethics and embarrassed herself by even the allegation of plagiarizing the work. There is a statement by the AWS president found here. They obviously find themselves in a litigious position. They have removed her work from their web site and show. There is a description of her process of working that was written up in American Artist, meaning she was going places before this happened. The artist’s web site has been shut down and most of the images seen on other sites have been removed. What a waste of talent, but it shows how serious this is both on moral and legal levels.

Watercolour painting by Sheryl Luxenburg

(RG note) Thanks, Anonymous. Several people wrote about Sheryl Luxenburg’s fuss with the AWS. The last time we mentioned her situation we received a letter from her lawyers threatening legal action unless “defamatory remarks” were removed from our site. I was in Bulgaria at the time and asked our staff to remove the material, which they did. My attitude on this sort of thing is to give the artist the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. Also to be understanding of photographers, who are also, of course, artists. There is always a possibility that the photographers, Kuzma and IKO, took very good quality photos of Sheryl’s painting. Kuzma may have photo-shopped more hair and face into the side of the head and then put it up, predated, on shutterstock. IKO would have reversed the image and photoshopped it a bit before doing the same thing. Some time ago I wrote to Sheryl and asked her for an update. She has graciously responded that she will get back to me later. She mentioned that the dispute with the AWS may not be cleared up until next year. I wasn’t able to find Kuzma or IKO.



There are 6 comments for AWS copyright dispute by Anonymous

From: Anonymous II — Dec 12, 2008

Having seen this particular ‘work’ at the AWS show myself, I can say it was dazzling in its detail down to the twirl of the tiniest single hair. It is interesting that you think the photographer could have created the missing side of the homeless person’s head in equal detail, after photographing Ms Luxenburg’s watercolor. The photo is obviously not a mirror image. But more to the point, the unfortunate artist in question used at least 3 other photos from the same photographer’s site including even a self portrait of the photographer, a woman. Technically speaking, that the artist could download in such detail without purchasing the photo is quite mysterious. Yet the photographer says she was unaware of any purchases of these purloined photos.

From: anonymous 3 — Dec 12, 2008

Hardy hardy har har har! Good one Robert

From: Norma E. Hoyle — Dec 12, 2008

At least her combination of the two images was original and transcended the effect (IMO) of the original photos from which she worked.

From: Anonymous — Dec 12, 2008

Norma, are you saying that if you steal two things and put them next to each other, that is ok, as long as you don’t steal just one?

From: Tina White — Dec 12, 2008

What kind of process does this artist use to create such hyperrealist paintings? My estimate is that it should take her about a year to make one painting — so just a few in the lifetime.

From: Dave Edwards — Dec 13, 2008

It’s a while since I commented on anything, but this is a subject that I have been discussing recently with someone. Copying is a touchy subject. Copying directly and accurately from a photograph can be fine if it is one’s own photograph. I don’t see much point in copying anyone else’s work though, because at best you can only produce a pale imitation or, as in the unfortunate case of Sheryl Luxenburg, an excellent copy which has only caused her much grief. Sheryl is obviously oozing with talent, but would be better advised to use that talent more creatively. Variations on another’s work are another thing in my view and have been done by many famous artists, Van Gogh for one. Unless the artist is long-dead it is also advisable to seek permission first, preferably in writing.

Dave Edwards, Blyth, England

 

 

Orphan Works Act of 2008
by Roberta Dunkel, Jefferson City, MO, USA

Here in the US our government is giving the artists fits over copyrights — called Orphan Art based on artwork whose origins are hard to track down. Current legislation before congress right now if passed could take away any creator’s right to his own art, be it visual or performance, old or new. Artists can find more information and a protest form to sign at the website.

Without laws to protect our own artwork we will be encouraging plagiarism, and creativity will become a rare thing.

 

 

Stolen animal art
by Debbie Flood, Belfast, ME, USA

 

“Hurry up and wait”
oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches
by Debbie Flood

Right now there seems to be a huge amount of people stealing art, in the form of paintings and photography on the Internet. And not just from China. It is becoming a widespread thing in the USA and Canada. It is the ignorance of people, like the one who asked you this question, that are doing this. And many do know what they are doing and plea that they had no idea it was wrong. I have many professional artist friends who are now having to stop their creating to fight a few battles to get their stolen art off the websites of thieves and from eBay. Images are being stolen to sell on cross-stitch items, on checkbook covers and key-chains. In this time of economic uncertainty, people are looking to make a buck, thinking artists are rich from their creations and that we should let everyone use our creations that we worked so hard to design and work up into a piece of art. We artists have a lot of talent and skill that has been years in the making, but rich we are not. And why shouldn’t we get paid for our own creations? I too can say that the clone or thief had better be ready for what may come their way, as the artists in the genre of painting animals is strong and many and we group together to fight as one. I for one would not want to be on the receiving end of an artist or group of artists who have been done wrong. And if people have to come to you or to anyone else and *ask* if it is wrong to copy, then they know already in their gut that it is wrong! The members of the Canine Art Guild and the Equine Art Guild are a force of artists that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We are on a crusade at the moment of shutting down many websites and eBay stores with stolen animal art.

 

 

Rampant copying from the Internet
by Jennifer Young, Richmond, VA, USA

 

“Pastoral, St. Germain de Bel Air”
original painting by Jennifer Young

Copying as a form of study can be incredibly instructive, and I’ve often recommended to my own students that they spend a good deal of time observing and even copying the masters for their own personal understanding (as a learning tool only). I’m also the first to admit that we don’t create in a vacuum and are constantly inspired to new ideas both from the world we see around us, as well as from the creative works of other artists. But when you go about replicating not only the style but also precise compositions and move from learning to merchandising with these copies (presumably without license), not only does it do a disservice to the artist who is the copyright holder, but ultimately it short-changes the copier as well. Without moving beyond a mere copy, there is no artistry, no originality or artistic advancement; only mechanics. There is something lacking in these kinds of works. Even the good copies that I’ve seen lack soul.

Many people who aren’t actively involved in creative pursuits of design, composition and artistry simply lack understanding about copyright ownership. But I am constantly astounded by how many artists are without this understanding as well. The Internet has compounded this problem exponentially, as it has made everything so instantly available without even having to leave your house to buy a magazine or CD. Unlicensed copying is rampant online, and extends beyond the traditional visual arts to other media as well — graphic arts, web design, music, etc. But the Internet is a double-edged sword, as it also has the ability to greatly extend an artist’s reach and impact in the world. For myself, even though I have had my own frustrations with the “help yourself” phenomenon made possible by the Internet, I’ve ultimately had far greater benefits. I can’t even begin to count how many wonderful connections I’ve made, directly or indirectly, with clients, students of all ages, and fellow artists. So in a sense, the problem is also part of the solution that can inspire me to the next new idea.

 

 

Parodies and tributes
by Bruce Meyer, Arlington, MA, USA

In all the arts, there is a long apprenticeship process, formal or informal, by which the learner struggles to do work just like the masters. There MUST be some way to sustain the learner in painting, as he or she laboriously copies the detailed craft of the predecessor, and this has to include mainstreaming the process, and celebrating it.

Of course we want to distinguish these things from plagiarists. Parodies and tributes done in good faith have always been distinguished from pirated or plagiarized works. Turning the argument around, present day masters who have their students paint works in the master’s name strikes me as bad form to criminal, offending charity and truth at once.

 

 

Appropriating the masters
by Mary Aslin, Laguna Beach, CA, USA

 

“Something Borrowed, Something Blue”
Pastel on Archival Paper
by Mary Aslin

I have painted a scene of a woman adjusting the ties of her dress, standing in front of Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and next to a table with a vase of tulips. I have copied Vermeer’s painting and it is one part of my new composition. It is part of a series I am working which shows people responding to (or oblivious to, as in the above situation) the old masters. In another case, a little girl stares in wonder at The Coronation of Josephine by David while her classmates wander, oblivious. The next painting I want to do will show an elderly couple, stooped and hand in hand, looking at a full size sculpture of a young couple in a sensuous embrace. I have tried to find more information about the sculpture (completed in the late 1800s I think) which I saw in a museum in Toulouse. No luck. Is it appropriate/okay/tacky to use the art of old masters as a compositional element in a new painting? I have read and re-read the quotations on copying to find some answers. I would be grateful for your perspective on this.



There are 4 comments for Appropriating the masters by Mary Aslin

From: Mary Aslin — Dec 11, 2008

Having reviewed responses to this clickback and receiving one in my email inbox, I feel that I must clarify.

Richard Schmid once said that all good paintings are essentially “self-portraits.” I realized as I put these compositions together that they were about me, being moved by beautiful art or dismayed by those who are oblivious. Of course, it goes without saying that could I ask the artist for permission I would do so, and regardless, the artist in the new composition would be identified prominently in the title. My question had more to do with taste, than with copyright, which I would never dream of violating.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 11, 2008

If a painting by an old master is included as part of your original work; and not central to it; it is not considered a copy. To be a copy it would have to be slavishly reproduced and placement would have to replicate the original in shape and size. For instance, if you painted a person or group of people gazing at a Van Gogh or Rembrandt being displayed in a museum, this would not considered a copy of the original. Your work is commenting on the viewing of the paintings as opposed to painting a copy.

If, on the other hand, you use a copyrighted contemporary photo belonging to another in your scene, you run the risk of infringement. If I use photos at all, they were taken by me.

I have copied on site in museums. The only criteria were — can’t be same size and can’t copy the signature.

From: Hugo — Dec 12, 2008

A little bit of oppositional disorder can go a long way. Copyright? The opposite of a copy is original, and who is the ultimate original if not you yourself, and the opposite of right is duty. So now it’s become selfduty. But how do we do our duty? By contributing! Now it is ‘selfcontribution’, that to me is a lot more palatable to think about, its positive — something I can do something about, rather than wory about.

If ripoff artists like Duchamp and Warhol had spent a little more time thinking about selfcontribution, instead of being so ready to take other peoples work, contributing next to nothing and parading it as their creation — just maybe it would be a different world. Mary, to me your work is a fine example of significant selfcontribution and is thing of beauty.

From: Liesbeth Groenewald — Dec 14, 2008

I am pleased that you have also thought of using the compositions of the ‘old masters’ for your work. Quite a number of years ago (I live in South Africa), due to our president Thobo Mbeki’s “African Renaissance” stance, I decided to Use compositions of the Surrealists and then alter these into Surreal African Renaissance images. This might sound easy, but required a lot of research into all types of cultural practices, ways of thinking and mythology of the diverse cultures in our country.

This also had an added bonus. I came to the conclusion that I really preferred creating art in a ‘surrealistic’ manner. And have done so from then on — in other words, I found what I really wanted to paint..

 

 

Copyright law
by Jeanne Matthews, USA

In the United States, the copyright law allows an old master’s painting to be copied and sold on the market if these criteria are followed:

1. The original artist must have been deceased 70 years or more thereby making his/her work Public Domain.

2. The original artist’s name must appear on the front of the painting giving credit to that artist, e.g. “After (the name of the artist)” with the name of the copyist under that phrase.

Failure to give the original artist credit for the composition is not allowed.

I was once told by a Frenchman that in France it is allowed to copy a contemporary’s work and sell it under your own name as long as the medium is different, i.e. a photograph may be copied with paint, etc. I don’t know if that is true, but it would be illegal in this country.

 

 

Patrons will prefer your own style
by Karen Standridge, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

 

“Along the Coastline”
oil painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Karen Standridge

So often I see a painting by an artist whose style I so admire, and I attempt a couple of paintings in his/her “style.” If I do show them, the response is interesting. NEVER do my clients like or buy them as much as I’d expected. In fact, they prefer the paintings in “my style” even though I sometimes look at my own style and wish it were more distinctive. So not only is it “tacky” to try to pass off someone else’s work as your own, but also our patrons will notice and will continue to favor ours, no matter how many flaws we may see in our own work.

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Jennifer Vranes, OR, USA

Autumn Brilliance
acrylic painting
by Jennifer Vranes, OR, USA

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Basil Pessin who wrote, “What about copying from photographs? 99% of the artists I know do that.”

(RG note) Thanks, Basil. The word is “reference,” and it’s great as long as that reference is your own.

And also Martha Alexander of Knoxville TN, USA, who wrote, “A housekeeper came into my office and told me how much he liked my work. I was flattered. He said, ‘Hope you don’t mind, I took them and made copies of them on the copying machine.’ I was wordless.”

And also Marney Wardof Victoria, BC, Canada, who wrote, “I was one of the artists copied in the Chinese incident a couple of years ago, and although some of that was stopped, with your help, I found out later the Chinese are still making oil copies of my watercolour paintings and selling them as originals. I have decided it’s not worth the energy, time or emotional upheaval to pursue the matter.”

(RG note) Thanks, Marney. With a program of email bombardment and backup from The Painter’s Keys at the time, more than 800 subscribers were able to get their work removed from several Chinese clone-sites.

And also Mona Youssef of Kingston, ON, Canada, who wrote, “Having read so much about copyright and what is / is not allowed, I found out that if we are in love with some artist’s work to LEARN, that is okay to copy. And if we choose to give the outcome to someone else as a GIFT, is okay as well. But to have the nerve to copy and sell it, a child can tell you that is WRONG. It does not take two people to agree on this.”

And also Linda Saccoccio of Santa Barbara, CA, USA, who wrote, “Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery, by Jeanette Winterson. I just picked it up yesterday by recommendation of a writer friend. A few lines from the back cover: ‘…Winterson continually reminds us that the term ‘art objects’ denotes not only things but acts. Art objects to the lie that life is small, fragmented, and mean; it instead proclaims the opposite. And so does Winterson’s wise and fiery book.’ ”

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Bring on the clones…

 

 

 

 

From: Cinnamon Chaisson — Dec 08, 2008

Thanks for this Robert, those of us who are crafters/artists deal with this problem on a daily basis. There isn’t a week goes by (a slight exaggeration) that something that has been dreamed up by a crafter/artist and shared on the numerous craft websites doesn’t turn up in the stores (usually dollar stores) that is stamped “made in China.” It’s extremely frustrating because there are no copyrights on stuff shared with other crafters. I have personally gotten to the point of just not sharing if something I create is from my fertile imagination … I often hear this lament from people who do local craft shows as well … people will buy something, copy it, (right down to the directions) and then hawk it as their original creation at the next show.

From: Sujata Tibrewala — Dec 09, 2008

Thanks Robert for your lovely answer. But copying is also another form of flattery, as long as you acknowledge the original everytime you reproduce :)

From: Helen Musser — Dec 09, 2008

Dear Robert, You have been very kind, and have said all that needs to be said. I don’t consider a copyist to be an artist; only an impersonator. Why would you waste your time on redoing someone else’s work; we have so little time to create and hone our skills which eventually produces our vision. Stop the stupidity and use your own brain and creativity.

From: JM — Dec 09, 2008

I would just like to say that in the United States, the copyright law allows an old master’s painting to be copied and sold on the market if these criteria are followed:

1. The original artist must have been deceased 70 years or more thereby making his/her work Public Domain.

2. The original artist’s name must appear on the front of the painting giving credit to that artist.

Ex.: “After (the name of the artist)” with the name of the copyist under that phrase.

Failure to give the original artist credit for the composition is not allowed.

I was once told by a Frenchman that in France it is allowed to copy a contemporary’s work and sell it under your own name as long as the medium is different. I.E. A photograph may be copied with paint, etc. I don’t know if that is true, but it would be illegal in this country.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 09, 2008

There will always be those untalented who ride the skirts of the inspired. Copying doesn’t go to the root of the problem. Morality is the issue. While artists relate the world through their eyes, there will be those with no vision, who try and encase an other’s vision and will create an empty shell of the original.

I feel sorry for those who copy, for theirs is a second hand experience and will lack the intimate, personal satisfaction achieved by the original artist. In life the greatest thing is the doing of an original thing. Nothing can replace the feeling and personal satisfaction.

To have no vision is a travesty. To benefit from the vision of others is the greater travesty.

“If you lack the enthusiasm, curiosity, suspicion, invention and a willingness to tackle the difficult, you will be missing the greatest part of the painting process.”

From: Robert Bissett — Dec 09, 2008

This issue of copying the work of others comes up every so often. Each time it does you can count on a flurry of post condemning the practice and insisting that ‘real’ artists do only original work and have their own artistic vision. Trouble is when you look at these protesters’ art, especially those that protest the loudest, you wonder what in the world they’re talking about. The most you could say is that a tried and true artistic vision or visual concept has been applied to a new subject in a professional manner. Which is not to say no one ever has an original idea, just that the vast majority of us including myself borrow heavily from the masters past and present. In fact, the masters often borrowed from one another. You can copyright your art, but not your artistic vision. Are you an impressionist, a tonalist, an abstractionist, outsider, etc.? What niche does your art fit into? If it doesn’t fit into an established category it may be truly original. Likely it has a small market, if any, galleries don’t want it, you feel you’re on a mission and your friends regard you as obsessed. Self-preservation keeps most artists well within the accepted boundaries. True originality and creativity are very rare and greatly over rated. I feel sorry for people who imagine their art and vision is original when it isn’t.

From: Tinker Bachant — Dec 09, 2008

Rick you are right on!! Those of us who make a living (or attempt to do so) are not pleased to put it mildly, and definitely not flattered, at those who copy our work .

I primarily paint commissioned work although I also paint en plein air, and certainly do not want examples taken from my web sites for the convenience of someone with no artistic merit of their own.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 09, 2008

There is a difference with “derived from” as opposed to “copying” another’s work. The current letter was referring not so much to being original an in “never before” so much as copying from another’s created work and calling it your own. Correct me if I misunderstood the “original” intent of Robert’s letter.

To plagiarize is still wrong in my book.

From: Dorenda Crager Watson — Dec 09, 2008

This is a constant battle with my adult art students. They believe that “if you change 15% of the painting” it is then considered to be an original by THEM. This is a myth. I always suggest to my students that their time would be better spent studying the METHOD and TECHNIQUE of an artist that they admire and applying THAT to their own work rather than directly copying someone else’s vision. I believe it’s a shallow victory to bask in another’s battle.

From: Robert Bissett — Dec 09, 2008

WRT my comments above, I’m not referring to forgery or copyright violations. I’m talking about learning as we all have from the work of those who paint well. Some spend years studying and copying the masters, for example, Degas. Or maybe you catch a glimpse of painting and are smitten. You come away with a new understanding of what art can be and a resolve to elevate your own work to that level. I think it’s safe to say something like this has happened to all artists. If by original is meant ‘distinctly personal’ I’m in full agreement. At the same time we must acknowledge the debt owed to those upon whose shoulders we stand. Honesty requires that we admit to borrowing, taking and stealing, as Picasso put it, at least amongst ourselves.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 10, 2008

It would be foolish and arrogant to assert that any artist today is so because he or she figured it out all on his or her own. Even an art form/style that may not be the in vogue or viewed as worthwhile is derived from what has come before. The simple fact that the tools we use are the same is more proof that we learn from others who have come before. I’m sure I’ve picked up more than my share of “tricks” from every artist living and dead.

If you live on this planet you are influenced by what has come before. Even if you secluded away without television or newspapers I believe your art would reflect the world you live in and resemble some form we’ve seen before.

The underlying fact here is that we take this information, sift it, absorb what works for us and use what God given ability we were given and try like heck to use these techniques to say something worthwhile. Even art that is not informative and just playful says something. Art is a way to communicate whatever it is you wish to communicate. It’s a way to touch others. It’s a method of speech, similar to film or writing. The better your ability to translate your expertise, the better you convey your message. It is one fundamental way humans have tried to outlive their existence from the cavemen and cavewomen who left behind their impressions of their world. We are doing nothing more than they. This should be at the heart of all art.

When you add into the equation – commerce, then everything changes. Selling is important on many levels but the underlying issue for most artists is fundamentally to communication an idea of what they see or believe.

This is what I try and do every day of my life while creating “original” work.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 11, 2008

I wanted to add that the only real, good purpose to copying from anyone is to learn about the techiniques and approach the painter used. Selling it should never be an issue if you are a real artist.

To try an replicate what you see in tone, color, brushstroke is invaluable to any learning experience and should be a part of all artist’s learning process. The difference is they should forever hang on your wall and never be shown or exhibited as your work.

From: Susan Warner — Dec 11, 2008

I was horrified by the first paragraph that even ASKED the question regarding copying! Robert, you answered kindly and hopefully steered the individual to the right path. Plagiarism by any name is simply wrong. The issue is not only of ethics but of morality! Low standards which are easy to reach, ‘shortcuts’ to success even though they utilize the talent and labor of another. Unfortunately we are seeing this attitude in every segment of society.

Obviously we all learn and are influenced by those who have gone before us, there is ‘no note that hasn’t been played.’ But it is in the processing and diffusing of the information that we strive to create, make our OWN statement; write our own song. For each of us who are making that journey, the plagiarist is hurting us all.

From: Liza Parker — Dec 11, 2008

I understand the issues around plagiarism. But copying? Mmmm… I was just reading yesterday about Rubens’ employment with the duke of Mantua early in his career and how he was paid to copy masterpieces for the duke’s collection. While Rubens acknowledged the original authors the exercise of copying allowed him no doubt to better “feel” the works and learn from them. This is pure speculation on my part of course. So I disagree with Robert. As a dancer I often “copy” details from my peers (a beautifully soft elbow, a drawn-out extension, a quick weight shift,…). I know it will never be the same on my body and I was never accused of being a clone. When I steal I give full acknowledgement to the original author if I teach the detail to others. Perhaps the medium of dance does not allow for the same perspective as in the visual arts. In any case it must be mentioned that silly duke of Mantua never did purchase an original Rubens ;-)

From: Sandy Sandy — Dec 11, 2008

I’d like to know who these judges were for the AWS! OMG…This competition piece might as well have been done in Photoshop. I prefer art, especially watercolor, that has more magic and imagination. Why go through all the effort to make something look like a photograph? Technical skills alone don’t make great art. Thinking of the AWS dispute, perhaps the artist bought the images from Shutterstock and felt that she had the rights to the photographs’ use. We are talking about commercial photography that is licensed for use and not fine art as far as the original photos are concerned.

From: Janet Warrick — Dec 11, 2008

I think your comment on moral decay is right-on. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised someone would ask if selling a copied work is okay. The thinking that allows someone to justify acting in such a morally skewed fashion is so wide-spread that many don’t even recognize such an act when they see it anymore. Last year I was unpleasantly reminded of this when the brother of my son’s cub scout master (who is, himself, a scout master of a different troup) asked to borrow my son’s winning boat from the annual Rain Gutter Regatta race so he could copy it. My son’s boat was such a different and unique design and so fast that no one could catch him. We were trying to teach our son the lesson of using his own creative mind to come up with a boat design of his own and not just copy what everyone else was doing. None of us knew if this new design was even going to work, but I told him he was better off trying and failing than just doing what everyone else was doing because it was safe. In the end, he had created something truly special that was faster than anything in the history of this race. The fact that a scout master then borrowed it so he could copy it for his own son’s race speaks volumes about where we are as a society. Whether copying boats or art or anything under the sun, there comes a point where you’re stepping over the line. Has that line become so blurred in people’s minds that they can’t even see it anymore? Seems like we’ve turned the corner from where doing one’s best was its own reward, to winning at all costs whatever the price.

From: Donna Arnold — Dec 11, 2008

I recently had a request for a possible purchase of a painting done in northern Michigan this summer. I agreed to send a copy of the painting via e.mail so the client could see it before making a decision to buy. After photographing the painting I downloaded it into Photoshop and placed my name in large transparent letters across the surface before sending it as an attachment. That way the painting could be seen but not printed.

From: Karl Eric Leitzel — Dec 11, 2008

In days gone by, when masters in any field were held in higher respect than they often are today, copying the master’s work was considered a valuable technical training exercise. While I’ve never

done so myself, there is a particular John Singer Sargent work that my wife and I really like, and his style is not that different from mine, so I plan to paint a smaller copy of the piece as a gift to my wife, to hang in our own home as (hopefully) a higher quality reproduction than a print of the original. I’ll attribute it when I sign it, so there is never any question of it being an attempted forgery.This seems like a good solution for those wanting to copy a master work out of respect and for practice, rather than ever selling such a piece.

From: Bob Hanley — Dec 11, 2008

Creativity, appreciation and learning keep moving around and through obstacles. When someone says “no,” is it the artist part of the person? Or the scared part? You’re good at inspiring people. That’s how you’ve been making an impact. Branches take care of themselves when you water the root.

From: John Ferrie — Dec 11, 2008

It was many years ago and I was a young artist struggling to get my career off the ground. I was always a fan of the Pop Art Era. Warhol, Kenny Scharf, Rauchenberg and especially Keith Haring. I studied these artists and found their work a great inspiration. I researched everything I could on these artists. I followed the music they listened to, read the books they spoke of and admired the meteoric fame they managed to carve out for themselves. I emulated them and while I felt I made it my own, there was no dismissing their influence they had in my paintings.

I received notoriety for my work, did a great deal of paintings, had a number of public installations and exhibitions and got accolades and TV coverage for my efforts.

Then one day I listened to a strange message on my answering machine. It said “…this is the Ghost of Keith Haring, STOP ripping me off…!”

I found a new subject to paint and turned my career in a new trajectory.

It is all part of a journey…

From: Suzette Fram — Dec 11, 2008

There are so many levels of copying that the issue is rather complex. An outright reproduction, of course, is wrong, unless it’s done as an exercise, to learn, and not shared with or sold to the public.

But in fact, we all copy all the time. Little bits. We look at others’ art and are inspired and find some element that we’d like to try in our own work. We observe a technique that produces interesting work and we try it in our next painting. We see photographs that give us an idea of something we could try. Even plein-air painters copy; they copy what they see in nature.

The fact is that we do not live in isolation of others and everything we see and experience influences our work. The key, I think, is that we need to use all those influences for inspiration, not for copying.

From: Peter Brown — Dec 11, 2008

There is nothing wrong with taking things from the Masters. There is nothing wrong with taking ideas or imagery. One must just change it, and add your own bit, but this is legal and very right. The great painters are long dead. I would never copy them, but I would steal, and make something new.

From: Peter Salmon — Dec 11, 2008

As someone wrote years ago (approximately), “each artist must create it new and different out of him(her)self. The minute it looks like Cezanne, it is nothing.” To some extent, that is even true of the motif. Don’t go painting Sacre Couer because Utrillo did it — it has to be your Sacre Couer (or bather, or downy woodpecker) or it is nothing.

But for those of us who paint the world we see, other paintings and pictures are also a part of that world. I’ve painted a lot of birds. I once ran into a picture of a crow and corncob in the snow which I recognized as an image that was used in a game of bird lotto that I had as a child many years before. That image was part of my own life store of special things I’ve seen and I felt moved to paint it as a result (though I used my own corncob as a model). I later sold the picture without feeling guilty about it at all. I have to add that this was an unusual occurrence — I normally start from the 3D world I see.

Also, although I haven’t done this, learning by copying old masters is a time honored technique. We do this in most fields with no shame attached: it helps to know how others have solved a problem before us. A frequent problem for those of us who fix our own cars and washing machines and so forth is finding out how it is done. How much pressure do we dare to bring to bear on that recalcitrant joint. Once we’ve seen it done or done it ourselves without breaking anything, then the answer is obvious. In painting, the purpose of such an exercise would be to add to our vocabulary, not to create a work that would be considered an end in itself. And, no, we shouldn’t offer to sell such a student exercise. But we might give it to Aunt Matilda since she admired it and has helped us from time to time.

From: Claire Hall — Dec 11, 2008

Though I started late in life, I take my art seriously and that of others. I am so tired of seeing some artists who try to copy some of our well-known artists. What I enter into an exhibition is mine and mine alone. Don’t these people know that you can’t put work done in a workshop or copied into a juried exhibition? Don’t they realize that others know exactly whom they are trying to copy. Don’t they know to obey the copyright laws?

From: David Sorg — Dec 11, 2008

It seems like this letter has three issues, or questions:

Is it okay to copy art?

Is is okay to sell copied art?

Is it okay to buy copied art?

It appears that it’s timeless to copy those whom we admire, in almost all forms of art. Virtually no painter can look at (or listen to or read, etc.) paintings by others without doing at least a little mental de-constructing. And standing in a museum copying a masterwork (with different dimensions than the original, of course) seems to be an accepted method of self-instruction.

So I’m going to go out on a limb (realizing that I’m just putting this out for the sake of argument and/or fun) and say that it’s okay to copy as long as you take joy only from the discovery and education processes but not from a final achievement point of view. But is it okay from a financial point of view? I’ve gotta eat.

And here I’m assuming unauthorized copies, not those of your own works. I’m also assuming that it’s not an attempted counterfeit. This one seems trickier. In music, for example, it’s okay to suck at composition, but you can still be an excellent musician playing (or conducting or singing) the works of others. Does it cross a line if you try to sing an aria just like Caruso did, even though you’re obviously not him? Plus he’s dead; you can hardly sully his reputation. It seems like it might be okay to sell acknowledged copies of dead people. But only if they’ve been dead long enough so that you’re not affecting the artist’s estate?

It’s my opinion that the purchase of copied art is the greatest debate. At this point it doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or not, does it? If it looks fantastic in the Louvre, and touches me on whatever levels give me a thrill or inspiration, will a copy not do the same thing hanging in my living room? Will owning that copy dull me as a creator?

What about authorized copies from the original artist; can (should) I buy those? “I can’t afford a Smith $50,000 original oil.” But I can afford a $3000 giclee, signed and numbered. But it is just a copy. How about if it has a few brush strokes added by the artist so that “no two are alike”? If her assistant added the strokes? What about a Jones bronze; they only come as copies?

Of course many of these questions are best pondered when begun with a few warm-up questions such as “Cognac or scotch?” or ” can we smoke cigars in your garage?”

From: Lynda Lehmann — Dec 11, 2008

It is specifically and exactly the creative aspect of the artistic process that flies in the face of conformity, greed and consumerism. To see it cheapened by people who want to ride on someone’s coattails for their own profit, is a disgrace. Copying, especially with money signs in one’s eyes, is both cheap and profligate.

Artists don’t do it for the money, and what little they make is their just due. No one has the right to steal in any sense of the word. And stealing art is almost as low as taking food from a baby’s mouth. We need to re-awaken our collective sense of what constitutes both meaning and honor and justice in life, and live in the light of our consciences.

From: Norman Ridenour — Dec 11, 2008

When I was professionally making custom furniture I approached interior designers as a way of expanding my marketing reach. One of them gave a set of my drawings to two fellows to have them job shopped around town to get a better price. She did not even bother to clip the copyright notice. Fortunately they took them to a good friend who also had a shop. He called me immediately. I left a message on one of the two fellows answering machine. ( I knew them personally). I described in considerable detail exactly which body parts I would remove with which dull tool and into which body orifice I would place them. I got a phone call from their lawyer. When I explained my side of the discussion his reply was, “There are no new ideas in design, get off your high horse.”

From: Dorothy Wing — Dec 11, 2008

I once was asked to copy a painting for a second daughter. The mother wanted to treat both children equally, and could only give a loved painting to one. So I did copy the painting — and learned a great deal as I looked at the paper, the actual colour of the watercolour paints [ex.FUB], how was it laid out. It was an excellent exercise. I signed it as the author did but added — as reproduced by [my name]— in small written print.

In Art Clubs, when I’ve noticed artists painting the photos of others, I have asked if they are going to acknowledge the originator. I have not been popular, but I have wanted them to be good credible artists. Just lately I was shown an oil painting copied by a student as asked by the instructor. It was not as good as the original, and she had made small changes; it was an ‘iffy’ situation! I asked her if she was going to sell it — or how she would label it, if she were going to put it in a show.

I did an acrylic painting of well known Canadians — Suzuki, S. Lewis, Vanier, D’Allaire — and on the back recorded the photographers’ names, and source [newspaper,etc.] I was taught this in Art College.

From: Anne Nye — Dec 11, 2008
From: Elizabeth Concannon — Dec 11, 2008

When you referred to the copy machines and giclee copies, I would have appreciated some opinions on the use by artists of the giclee as “original” art when marketed to uninformed buyers. One might conclude that artists willing to go that route do bring on the art community a certain mistrust and criticism of ambiguity when it comes to copies.

Printmakers (etchers, lithographers, etc.) are often critical of the use of the word prints when it comes to advertising and marketing copies of original art.

More discussion and understanding is probably needed –even when artists copy their own work.

From: Dave Casey — Dec 11, 2008

I have to agree with the tone being imparted here, but only about half of it. Is there a place for reproduction of art? I think there is.

I have been looking at picking up copies of one or two paintings of the masters, paintings that I find incredibly inspiring, so that I may hang them on my walls. For example, I am mesmerized by Starlight Over The Rhone by Van Gogh and would love to find a space on my wall for a nice reproduction of that piece. Saying that, I would much rather spend my money on a hand painted reproduction, whether it be from China, Canada or wherever, than hang a $20 poster on my wall.

Which brings up a small point. Why is it wrong to copy a master’s work and sell it, but not to create a cheap poster from the very same work and sell it for $20 in any shopping mall across the country? Again, I would rather buy a very nice, hand painted repro from a Chinese artist, knowing that my money is helping to put food on the table of a small family, while keeping the artist afloat long enough to bring his own work to fruition. And I can assure you that many of these copy artists are just as anxious to make their marks on the world of art as any of us.

And before I get crucified here, and I can assure you that I will be, I do draw the line at copying copyrighted works and selling them illegally. I would not even think of buying a copy of a piece of work by a living artist. Hell, I won’t even buy a giclee of a piece put out by the artist themselves. To me, a giclee is nothing more than a cheap poster and I believe we have artists like Thomas Kinkade to thank for that.

But, who holds the copyright to the Mona Lisa, another painting I would love to hang on my wall? The Louvre? I can assure that they do not. They own the painting, thus the right to hang it. Well, I think they own it, but it could be owned by someone else and on loan to them. But, they do not hold the copyright. No one does.

So, if I want to hang Mona on my wall, what are my choices? Get a couple hundred million dollars together and go to the Louvre and see if they will sell it to me? Or go to the mall and buy a poster of the painting for about $20, $40 framed. Or buy a hand painted reproduction by a skilled artist, that would look real nice in a frame and hanging on the wall? I hate to say this, but it may a couple of years before I can fly to France and walk up to the Mona Lisa and say, “I’ll take it,” and hand over a check to cover the purchase.

How about all the coffee table books that are printed, that contain photos of the great works of art? Why is it okay to produce these books, but it isn’t okay to reproduce the art piece as an actual work of art? Because the authors got permission? Permission from whom? Who do you get permission from to reproduce the Mona Lisa?

I absolutely think there needs to be a delineating line that people shouldn’t cross, whether in the creation of the piece of artwork or the purchasing of artwork. But, people being who they are, that line will always be crossed. People shouldn’t do drugs, but there are plenty of them out that will cross that line every day and think nothing of it. It’s a conundrum that will be wrangled with for many years to come.

From: Joseph Leonard Barnes — Dec 12, 2008

Dear Friend, Your clone letter was very thought provoking and timely. I especially enjoyed reading the responses. Here is a thought that popped into my head as I read along, “what about work we create while attending workshops, clinics or private tutoring”? Somewhere in the back of my memory I learned that works created by an artist while studying under another artist should not be exhibited outside the classroom and definitely not entered into any competitive contest or sold for profit. Once the student graduated, so to speak, the teacher’s influence and training would no longer directly affect the budding artist’s new work. Whether there exists a “rule” or not, I feel that any work created while there is a student/teacher relationship the student should not display the completed classroom art as his or her own in a public venue. The master’s influence in the work would be such that the finished piece would not completely belong to the student, but in reality to both the master and the student.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 12, 2008

To David et al who wish to purchase prints, repos and copies, more power to you all. But it doesn’t change the morality issue. The fact that there are people willing to purchase these “copies” just indicates to me the deterioration of correctness and moral fiber and lack of respect for artists in current society. The fact that artists make prints say much about the artists. This is only my opinion regarding prints. There are “legal” prints being marketed where the artist is compensated. No problem. If the deceased artist is credited, again there is NO problem. With each letter this issue gets more and more obfuscated. The one and only issue here is copying an artist or using other artists work without permission and recompense and calling it your own work, pure and simple. I send a resounding NO to this practice.

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Dec 12, 2008

I recently read a story in the New Yorker magazine about a successful, well-known (at least in NYC circles) artist who specializes in painting realistic paintings from photos taken by other people. The article didn’t say, but I assume with the permission of the photographers. Her work sells for very high figures. I found the article odd, because at no point did the author or his interviewees address the issue of the references she used. Apparently there is another perspective out there about using references not your own. I found it uncomfortable.

At the same time, there is an entire school of art that freely borrows complex symbolism from other cultures without giving either consideration to the appropriateness of that use, the meaning of the symbolism, or even attributing the origin. I also feel uncomfortable with that. Extremely. This is an issue I have discussed with many people over the years. Some understand, some consider all such symbolism “public domain” because, if I understand their arguments, it comes from what they consider “primitive cultures” who do not have a sense of ownership. Oh, but they do: it can encompass both a sense of personal ownership and a sense of group cultural ownership.

Which brings up another question: in a traditional art, which is based on replicating, either rigidly or loosely, a set of conventions, is this copying, or is it ensuring a kind of cultural continuity? In the same way, perhaps, that our insistance on individual creation ensures our sense of individuality rather than communal ownership?

From: Cynthia Nelms-Byrne — Dec 12, 2008

I decided long ago that there is so much good, original art out there, that I’d only do one-of-a-kind work. I won’t reproduce it (except on cards used in advertising my work), I won’t copy others’ photos or paintings. When someone buys my work, I want it to be truly original, and something they can’t get anywhere else. Why be one of a zillion beanie-babies or other mass-produced item? I know lots of people don’t agree with me and I’m the equivalent of the “church lady” in my strict philosophy, but that’s the way I see it.

From: Martha Donovan — Dec 13, 2008

I paint with a few different groups. One is more in to there own original art. The other is just a great bunch of amature’s artist, most over 70. I try telling them to be original, and not be copycats, they just laugh at me and all my rules. I know I just feel better doing an original from one of my own photos, or from a still life I set up. My favoriate is plein-air painting, when it’s possible in New England.

I guess I should just let them keep copying Calenders, ect. as long as there having fun.???

From: Russ Hogger — Dec 13, 2008

I think that all artists are guilty of plagiarism at sometime in their art career. It’s only natural for artists to borrow idears from the artists that they admire and rehash these idears to blend in with their own methods. Art seems to have come full circle now and trying to be different and original will be a real challenge.

From: Bob White — Dec 15, 2008

Janet Warrick, Why doesn’t your son patent his boat design. That way it will be forever known as “Warrick boat”, and future generations will benefit from his discovery. It doesn’t sound right that such a great design die off without being shared and the creator recognized and compensated for it.

From: Beth Mahy — Jan 26, 2009

When I “came out” as an artist in 1995 (my parents schooled me in -oh God, no, not art) so at the time I was 51. I took the Van Gogh pattern. I did three years of black and white drawings, then painting- first watercolor, only recently oils. To help me ease back into painting I took a brown bag watercolor class at a lady’s house. She painted a piece and everyone else copied it. I thought, “When I do mine in fifteen minutes and it’s “better” than hers, I’m outta here.

I never outdid her and I was not that fast. However, one day sitting there I thought to myself, “Why am I sitting here copying her when I have books of masterpieces at home?” So. I never went back.

Soon after that, and repeatedly, I was given free display space with me in it. I sold some of the copies. I sold them for very little and I was always honest about it. They were signed as “after” Mary Cassatt for instance. I’m sure no one mistakes my attempts for the real thing. It gave me some experience with selling early.

Now twelve years in I realize it was a bad idea. You know what? I’ve made other mistakes too. Part of the game, I guess.

From: Must Say — Sep 14, 2010

To be honest, I think people who have a problem with a painter making a painting o a photograph are pretentious. What’s wrong with painting a photograph? Is it not the same as if you were actually there on site painting the composition? These photographers and whoever else that get all mad because someone used there photograph as a reference shouldn’t care at all! I mean, they just snapped a picture. They didn’t create there subject in the photograph. They saw it , and they snapped a picture of it. So what if a painter paints what some photographer snapped a picture of. Say a photographer takes a picture of an old house on say Bourbon street. You have a painter who wants to paint that house on bourbon street, but the problem is , he lives 1000 miles from bourbon street. What’s the problem with him just using a photo instead? He could just as well have gone there himself to paint it!! No offense to great photographers, but also be real here. When a person paints , whether they paint something photo realistic or not, It is there painting. They took the time , and effort to do so. Just Remember, you don’t own that house you photographed, and remember, I could just go there tomorrow, photograph it myself , and then paint it. Then what could you say. Get over it. It’s art. Painter’s put allot of effort and hard work in what they do. Just because they painted something that they didn’t photograph themselves is nothing.

From: must say — Sep 14, 2010

Now, I see that the speculation is not whether she just used the pictures as reference to paint from, but rather the fact that she may not have painted it at all, and just literally printed the picture on watercolor paper. If that’s actually the case , then most definitely she is not only a rip off artist , but a con artist as well!

Flag

 

 

Share.

Leave A Reply

No Featured Workshop
No Featured Workshop
Share.

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

Subscribe and receive the Twice-Weekly letter on art. You’ll be joining a worldwide community of artists.
Subscription is free.