Sunday, August 22, 2010


I am going to stick my neck out and share an opinion on the copying and eventual selling of non-original art work.

Art students everywhere are, at one time or another, asked to begin taking their own photographs or using personal visual and mental experiences as source material from which to create a work of art. New students often study masters and other instructors' works to learn technical skills in handling tools and equipment, to learn about design, composition, color and application in creating an effective work of art - learning to walk before they can run. As a student begins to develop these necessary skills, they should begin using their own source materials and experiences to create art work.

A fine line must be drawn when students copy another's work and sell that work for gain and/or recognition. Not only are some artists dismissed from galleries or art show competitions for suggesting an original when in actuality it already exists, some are now being sued. At a workshop held outside of Atlanta that I attended earlier this year, the entire group was instructed to ask permission to paint another group's still life set up due to the issue of plagarism.
I think it is important to begin with the definiton of "plagarism". Plagarism is the act of copying the work of another and representing it as your own. The opposite of plagarism is, then, "creativity" and "originality". Students should employ the skills learned in classes and workshops to create their own style which should vary significantly from the style of the teacher or master.

So, be careful, wary of plagarism. It is an ethincal issue and in some cases can be a legal issue.