A recent FineArtViews newsletter article started out on the subject of copying another artist's work off the internet. Good article. You should go read it. Several angry comments had been added by artists who'd found out their work had been copied by others via the internet, copies not authorized by them.
About halfway through the comments you start to hear mention of reproductions. Hmmm. Reproductions.
Reproductions. Copies. Giclees. Enhanced giclees. Artists angry because copies have been made, but still making copies anyway. Fakes. NOT originals.
I once painted a painting for a fund raising auction at church. One of the organizers asked if we could also auction a couple of copies of the painting. A good cause, right? So I said yes. If you are either of the two people who bought those copies, you are still safe. If anyone else out there in the world has a copy of one of my paintings, well, don't blame it on me. Other than those two, I don't do copies. Reproductions. Giclees. Any of those.
Am I an art snob? Maybe. Do I like real? Do I place a lot of value on honest? Authentic? Absolutely.
You can talk about the limited edition reproduction and how only 300 copies were made and they are all signed and numbered by the artist. So? The only time the artist even touched the piece of paper the thing was printed on was to add that signature and number. And then we have the all important giclee. Aaaah. The giclee. The artist's original painting computer printed on a piece of canvas. And then we throw in the enhanced giclee: when somebody takes the regular old normal giclee and swipes a couple brushstrokes across the surface to make it look like a real painting. Hunh! But it's not real.
Why? What's the real reason for making a reproduction? Yes, VanGogh and Monet are dead and they can't paint anymore paintings. So you spread the love a little of what they did by means of copies. But remember, they're the dead guys, no more paintings from them.
What about your average artist in the little white tent at the summer art show? Why copies?
Number one answer:
"My patrons just love my work, but some of them can't afford an original right now." (So you'd rather sell them a fake??)
Okay, so now we're getting around to covering the title of this post. For the impatient. WAIT. Get some patience. Sign up for the artist's mailing list so you stay current with their new work. Most artists love to stay in touch with people who appreciate their art. Some will even do payments to help you out. Even still, save up a few dollars so when you see that artist again you'll be ready to buy a painting. Not a copy. Not a reproduction. A Painting. A real one. Honest. Authentic. Real.
Because when you get to the bottom line, a painting printed out by a machine is NOT art. It's just a copy.
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. Let's talk about talent this morning, and stay calm, but this is your warning to stop reading if you don't want to head out to left field on the subject.
Sunday, we had a sermon that mentioned football players that drop to a knee and point heavenward after scoring a big touchdown. And then this morning, I read one of those artist statements where the artist reveled on about her God given talent for drawing.
That word, talent, what a slippery little bugger it is! A catch-all, of major proportions, to be sure. And before we go any further, I want you to know that I am absolutely aware that God blesses me every day. But that word talent...hmm.
I appreciate football players that point heavenward. And I like artists who talk about God as they paint. It makes me realize they have their heads on pretty straight, ergo the penchant for misusing the word talent.
Are you ready for left field? Here we go: I don't believe talent is something we are born with.
If you have the capacity to score game winning touchdowns, it likely has a lot to do with how many practices you've been to. How many hours you've spent in the weight room. How many miles you've logged in running. If you are able to capture the likeness of a horse trotting across a field, it likely means you have spent hours observing horses and even more hours drawing them. If you can paint a waterfall with beauty that amazes people, chances are you've been hit by it's spray several times, and if you paint with watercolors, those drips on all those papers are inadvertent. If you can paint a person and get the essence of the personality down on canvas, odds are really good that you've got a whole bunch of full canvases laying around somewhere.
Could you accomplish all of those things without any prep work? I'm betting not.
There's that story about the guy in the flood. His town was flooding, water was rising around his house, so he climbed up onto the roof. He prayed for God to save him. So here comes a boat with a couple of people in it. "Hop in" they tell him. "We'll take you to safety", they said. The guy on his roof replied "no, I prayed for God to save me, I don't need your help. I'll just sit here and wait." Next thing the guy knows, he's in heaven and a little bit miffed: "God, I prayed that you'd save me from the flood--why didn't you?" And God said, "sheesh, I sent a boat, what more did you want?"
The guy needed to get off his roof, into the boat, and help row the thing off to a good place. Work at it.
From left field may I say that artists who are viewed as having great talents would not be viewed as great talents if they were not also viewed as great workers. Before the talent comes the work.
Must be time to head to the studio. Thanks for stopping by.