Gwenn Seemel, through her own blog writing, has been challenging me to think about copyrights and why I make art.
Making art, or expanding this to “making things up”, being creative in general, is just part of who I am.
I don’t make art for money. I think if I did I would be frozen, uncreative, stuck. I am open to making money off my artwork, however. I would love to be a full-time artist. I study Gwenn and another artist I went to high school with, Robyn Wethe Altman, to see how they market their art, as both work full-time as artists, and part of this is making good art, and another is good marketing. Their current state of employment is within my grasp, I believe. My goal in 2014 is to work full time in my creative fields.
Why do I “copyright?” I do it for one reason only; if a card company stole my image and made a product with it I would want the profit. I recently read an article by an artist whose work was stolen by a company that makes Christmas ornaments, and they made a small fortune off her work, and now she has the ability to make that money back. That type of thievery would make me mad. I don’t make art for the money, but I do want the right to make money off my own artwork, and if I want to give my artwork away, then it is up to me to do this. It is a matter of morality.
But Gwenn brings up a different aspect of copyright and here we totally agree. I was horrified when Barack Obama’s “Hope” poster was deemed stolen. Shepard Fairey used an AP photo by Mannie Garcia as a model for the poster shown below, but I believe the poster was a new piece. Is it considered Garcia’s because it was manipulated on a computer, not sketched from the photo? Some people sketch from a photo perfectly. If one sketched a perfect image from the photo and manipulated that would it still be a copyright infringement? And what about people who make collage art: images from Vogue and Elle and Time magazine become part of a new piece of art? Where does copyright end, especially with public figures?
This makes the derivative aspect of the copyright laws problematic.
I would not go after a fellow artist who was inspired by my work and “stole” some aspect of it. I have been influenced by several artists, and when I was starting sketched some of their work, sitting in museums. More than that, some artists I stared at over and over, and their images are burned into my soul. I didn’t knowingly make any aspect of another’s work it into my own, but I have never gone back and looked at all my artwork to see if I “stole” some aspect of their work.
I would be honored to influence another artist. I would be thrilled to have a budding artist copy my techniques, as I did with Hockney and Bengston and Tanning.
My images/blog posts can be reposted as long there is a link back to zenkatwrites. All images ©D.Katie Powell (there is that pesky copyright). Permission must be granted to use my images and they must be linked to http://www.dkatiepowellart.com.