Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where is the line?

A couple of years ago I reconnected via Facebook with my best friend from high school, and I've had a couple of opportunities to visit her home; I've probably written about this before.  Her house is full of art, chock full to the gills, and much of it consists of faces.  Many of them were created by an artist in Oregon named Trina Hesson, with colors and styles similar to this one I built this morning.

I was enchanted by Trina's work -- still am -- and some part of me is craving color right now (not surprising, given that winter is still here and spring seems pretty far away).  So given that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" I've decided to give myself permission to play in this zone.  I've always been fascinated by faces -- much of the art on my own walls consists of masks and faces -- so I think I will indulge this urge a bit and see where it takes me. 

Hopefully it will be to someplace not quite so obviously derivative.  We were talking in my spirituality group this morning about deep-seated taboos, and this is one of mine: it's wrong to steal, and copying a style of art feels like stealing.  Even if I'm putting it together in my own way, out of my own surfaces, there's still this sense that this is wrong.  I'm just not sure exactly where the line is between inspiration and theft.

I remember one gallery owner saying to me "Amateurs copy ideas; professionals steal them."  I'm hoping this one is amateurish enough that it will not be misconstrued as stealing... because, quite frankly -- I really like it!


Joyce Wycoff said...

I like it too ... and if doing faces is stealing, our history is full of it. You keep doing what brings you joy and you will share your joy uniquely.

Maureen said...

Interesting; this question of "theft" versus being inspired by another's art came up on Ann Martin's All Things Paper yesterday. Art history is replete with examples of appropriation. And think of how in the salons style-copying was how one learned. At some point the true artist either does or does not take over to reveal the original hand.

Don't call this theft (such a harsh word). It isn't.

From what you did with your wonderful Goddess series, you will, I'm sure, create some marvelous faces. Can't wait to see where your inspiration takes you.

Diane Walker said...

I think I must be the luckiest artist in the world: you guys are so great!