Hi all- well I was reading one of the blogs I follow today. It was Audrey Eclectic and she was talking about stealing other people's art. For some reason I couldn't get this subject out of my head this afternoon so I thought I would blog about it.
Firstly, it was an odd coincidence that Audrey Eclectic wrote about this today since the first thing on my mind this morning was whether or not I could sell the painting shown on the left. I know the image isn't the greatest quality but hopefully you can get the idea through the blurriness and the poor light. In case the image isn't familiar to you I will tell you it is the three of cups and though the style and colors are my own; the position of the three women; right down to the grapes in the hand of the lady is taken from the art of Pamela Coleman Smith who did the illustrations for the tarot that we are most familiar with. When I painted the painting I assumed that her work is in the public domain, since the tarot was published in 1909.
US Games who issues the tarot cards claims some copyright to the tarot, although it is unclear exactly what they can really own beyond the borders, card backs and packaging. Well I was just going to keep the painting or give it away - probably to one of my girlfriends. (Two of my friends were an inspiration for the painting and are portrayed in it). The Sergeant (my fiancee) said I should go ahead and sell it and then of course he went and did more research. It turns out Pamela Coleman Smith stole the position of the three women from a Boticelli painting that includes the three graces.
Secondly, I think artists have been stealing and shooting off in inspired ways since time began. I think there have also been copy cats that are unoriginal, trite and cliche since time began. It is a blurry line though. Every time a cover band in some small time bar sings - oh I don't know Amie do they pay royalties to Pure Prarie League - probably not - but they are stealing technically - since they are making a profit. That is not to say I condone blatantly trying to copy another artist just to make a buck.
Finally, I think I am just saying all art is derivative to some extent and I am still trying to understand that myself. I do know I believe in finding your voice - it serves art, it serves life but most of all it serves your own soul!
All my best,