It has been a while since I painted this piece, and I have gone on to paint numerous pieces that may be influenced by all sorts of art artists, and everything else I see in nature, but it is different enough that I can call it my own. I like that. But we have recently had a conversation spring up in an art group, around the topic of copying other recognized artists work and things seemed to get heated. I think people are really protective of these popular artists. The point is where do we draw the line between inspiration and down right copyright infringement? There are newbie creatives (which I still consider myself to be) that are taking these (sometimes expensive) online courses that are monopolizing on the desire of the masses to paint like them. Let's face it, if you spend money to take an artist's class, you love her style and want to emulate it somewhat. No one spends money for techniques without dreaming, in some way, to make art like the person they are paying to learn from. Maybe I am missing the point, but I signed up with two whimsical artists that I wanted to be just like (lol), when I grew up, artistically speaking.
Somewhere along the way though, I was fortunate to be called on it, and decided, at the time, that I personally, couldn't study from the artists I admired, because I would not develop a sense of myself as long as I kept wanting to copy their style. The very first art class I took was about six years ago, by an artist in Gibsons, BC. Her name was Mary Jean Brown. The whole group painted from a grid style on huge blank canvases. We all started the same way by laying down coloured gesso, and then gridding the canvas out, and painting the shapes we saw in the corresponding square on the grid. I did a fine job, I thought. That painting was a fair representative of the drawing technique outlined in a book I read a long time ago, called Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain. I felt like I was in my element. I could do that kind of art for sure. But we were not encouraged to reach inward to that creative place where our own unique inner muse resided - right in there with our emotions.
A little more than a year ago, I took a workshop with Nick Bantock, and his teaching style opened me right up. We spent the weekend in Victoria (where I lived at the time) with a bunch of fellow artists, (including my bestie Patty) gluing painting and excavating our inner artist. We all came away with something completely different from that workshop. The course was best for me. It did not teach me to do art like Nick, which would be a feat for sure, but rather to connect with my own creativity. This is what I need to do. I am a bit fragile and insecure, and like a sponge, I often want to be someone who seems more interesting or talented than me. But there is an interesting person within each of us, and finding her through expressing our creativity, while being inspired by everything that surrounds us, seems to be the way. Yes, I love Nick Bantock, Barb Moustafa, Patty Fontaine, Kelly Rae Roberts, and Tamara Laporte, among many other talents, but it is the "me" I want to find and develop on! No matter what artists I adore though, I always come back to what I learned in Nick's workshop! Will I continue to be inspired by the ideas of others? Of course I will. I don't think it is possible or desirable not to be. But I want to learn to steal like an artist, not copy like a cat! This video expains what that means so much better than I am equipped to at this time.
I know this is a dicey and hot subject among artists. And I do not claim to know what is the right or wrong answers here, at all. But I do know it is a worthy subject to discuss. There will be lots of opinions around this. New artists and developed artists alike will continue to find elements of other artists work in their own. It is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, no idea is original. But, we have to remember that each of us has that special gem within us that will make our own art special. Art is fun, and it is a journey where we get to learn so much about ourselves. Thinking about subjects like this, and keeping it honest, is all part of it. So, don't take it personally, and keep on growing, and making beautiful art! The world needs you!
Love Your Friend,