- the emotions copying artwork can arouse
- how people can best support those whose artwork is copied; and
- the role teaching plays in enabling people to copy.
This post started with some posts sent to me by Luann Udell (Luann Udell) who's been running into some issues recently in connection with copying artwork. You can see some of her jewellery and delightful figures below and more on her website and her online shop.
|Horse Sculptures - copyright Luann Udell|
So we start with two more useful posts by Luann about copyright. These are:
- Waiting for the Cool: That Copying Thing Again - This references the emotional turmoil which can be generated and reverberate when somebody is copying another artist's work - and follows up on her original post back in May What is the Story Only You Can Tell?.
- A Response to "Copying vs Stealing" - This a response to Kerrie Venner’s article, “Copying vs. Stealing” on the site of the International Polymer Clay Association. It tackles the issue of what sort of support your artistic community could/should provide within this context.
Copying my work, then selling it as your original work, deprives me of potential customers who might buy my work. This does not support me.Kerrie Venner is the the IPCA Vice President of Education and Outreach although I understand she has now indicated to Luann that she was attempting to verbalise on the Association's site a thought many have expressed in the past - as some sort of “Everyman/Everywoman” if you will - and she had not intended these remarks to represent her own actions or the IPCA’s actual point-of-view.
Telling others I am wrong to care about my work being copied does not support me.
While it's good to have healthy debate about how best to deal with the perennially taxing and difficult issue of copyright and copying, I must confess I'm puzzled by Kerrie's notion of how best to do this. IMO the personal and the corporate need to be kept distinct. Personal blogs are a much better place for articulating purely personal non-corporate thoughts!
Is Intent the Issue?
For me the issue about copying usually boils down to the intent of the people who are copying. Is it
- either to learn a process - as part of their development as artists in whatever media (with no notion of generating sales from the learning projects)
- or to hang onto an artist's coat tails and benefit from their income stream
However what Kerrie and Luann's posts together did do is generate a couple of interesting questions for me which have probably been percolating around at the back of my brain for some time. I'm certainly very grateful to the two of them for enabling me to articulate it more clearly.
Does teaching generate "copycat" artwork?
The questions relate to teaching techniques and to what I would loosely term "copycat" work - where the artist who is trying to develop their own style is maybe still "borrowing" rather too much from their teacher.
It's certainly a frequent problem for very many people as they develop their own unique and dsitinctive styles - and it's not an easy one to resolve.
So here are my TWO QUESTIONS which fall out of the big simple question Does teaching art generate copying of art?:
- When you share your technique - whether this is online / in a book or article / through personal instruction - is there in fact an implicit suggestion that the person you teach can now copy your technique in its entirety?
- Or can they use the technique in its entirety but only apply it to an artistic creation for sale when the artistic and aesthetic content is generated from their own personal experience and imagination
When I teach or post, it is done in a way to inspire creativity and share the delight of making the work, not to have it duplicated without permission by someone else.What do you think?