Friday, June 26, 2009

Artistic dilemma - opinions needed

I'm on the horns of an artistic dilemma ... and in these jeans, THAT's painfull! The subject of copying has been coming up a lot lately, and I've been pretty forward in sharing my views on the subject. As creative beings we would have to live in some kind of hermit cave not to be influenced by the work of others BUT we should never COPY.

Having said that I do believe in synchronicity, especially as we all have the internet, the world is a smaller place and what influences the work of an artist in Estonia may be simultaneously influencing me. I went for a wander through some of my favourite shops on Etsy last night and stopped at Bonheur (see link down the side). Let's get this straight I LOVE this shop, not only is her work beautiful but she styles and photographs it so well too. When I clicked the favourite button just before Christmas, she had mainly jewellery in her shop. Last night I saw lots of artwork and bags, absolutely lovely stuff but at the same time my blood ran cold because 2 of her images are so similar to things I have been working on over the last few weeks!!! I just never manage to work on drawings and images for myself anymore, and when I finally do.... arrrrggghhhhh!

The Marie Antoinette style lady with piled up hair festooned with jewellery, butterflies and flowers is quite a generic image I guess and we could both have been influenced by many things from old paintings to fashion magazines, besides, my image isn't too similar to hers. But the Crow wearing a necklace (he's so sweet by the way) is just too spookily similar to an image of a Magpie wearing a strand of pearls and a tiny crown that I've been working on. He even has lacey patterns in his black feathers, just like Bonheur"s image!!! FREAKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I won't show them to you (mine) as they are still huge unfinished many layered photoshop files and beside I don't want to be accused of copying. I did not copy, I haven't seen any of this new work before, haven't been into her shop since before Christmas, I swear.

So how did these images get into my head over here in Wales and over to Bonheur in Estonia without me copying her? The weirdest part in all this is that I was intending them for a series of shopper bags I'm making!!! Bonheur"s images are on bags too, although a little different to the ones I'm planning. And let's not forget that she got there way before me! It just goes to show that we are all Magpies picking through the vast input of imagery the internet provides us with and picking out similarly shiny little gems.

The big question now is what do I do? Do I abandon all this work or do I rework it until there isn't too much similarity. I don't want to be accused of copying and would be mortified if the positions were reversed. What would you do? I think I might even ask Bonheur for her opinion!


noye studios said...

i guess things really do cycle thru. Because until i got to the bottom and saw your pictures i kept thinking "wow, this crow sounds exactly like one of my works-in-progress." Seeing the photos though i realize it's not, because mines an OOAK art doll.

Still, I would keep at it. Yours won't be a copy. It'll have whatever you originally invisioned in it.

MarZel said...

You bring up some really good points that I have also been thinking about. It is very hard for me to continue doing something if someone has already done it. Then again, why am I fussing as this is so common and yet MOST ideas that are similar are done in their own unique way and cannot be compared because of that. Yet, it still bothers me and stops me from doing art. How sad; because truly there is nothing new under the sun!! For me, I also wonder about the ego of it all... why do I have to be the first one to get there...or think of it...or to do it??? I think I have to work past this...and just create!!

Zan Asha said...

Hmm, Yve--there's an old saying in the movie business: "There are only 4 original stories, and every movie after that is just some reworking of those original stories." And I think that might be true of EVERYTHING. In the end I think it's your discretion as to whether or not you want to continue.

I cannot tell you how many doll artists seem somewhat similar--whether the subject matter they are creating, or sometimes even a bit of style, but they are also discernible from one another. I am sure your style will set you apart from two cents is to continue, especially if you've spent time and money on the creations, but it's up to you.

Abi said...

I think you should just go for it. I have actually seen this style of bag in a high street shop - in particular the crow with the beads, with lace and buttons, so I'm guessing the chance of many people coming up with the same design is going to happen. Wish I could recall the shop - I will have to check it out. The thing is, your style will still be your style, even if there is a similarity.
Have you see the WWII 'keep calm and carry on' poster images? :O)

Yve said...

Abi: Keep calm and carry on... tee hee, like that! Thanks everybody and you are all right of course, there are no new ideas. A friend pointed out that there's this old myth that crows and magpies like to steal shiny things to decorate their nests, that was what made me think of my Magpie picture and probably what inspired Bonheur's Crow. I love what she's done but you are right, my work will be different.

I love magpies, there is a nest full in the tree outside my window and I listen to them bickering all day long, I imagine they are all trying on their finery and admiring themselves! That's why I wanted to create that particular image. I guess if I hadn't stumbled upon Bonheur's stuff I would have carried on blissfully unaware!

Oh well, hopefully I'll be showing you my images in the next few weeks :o)

Abi said...

Cool! so glad you're going to carry on - I like the 'blissfully unaware' - I think that sums me up perfectly! :O)

Yve said...

Tee hee, me too, mostly just unaware but sometimes blissfull... :o)

Cynjon said...

This is such a VERY tricky topic really...I think the only answer is to take it on a case by case basis and do what you think is right.

Tangentially, I once got a rather nasty email from some anonymous person saying what a schmuck I was for ripping off Tricia Anders...who didn't realize that Tricia and I are quite good friends, and that if one were to go through our "art files" chronologically, one could see where one persons idea fed the others, which then grew into something else, which then fed BACK into the others and so on and so on...a mutually beneficial "symbiosis!"