02/24/2009: "Creative flow and the copyright question"
Last night I started working on some images for a new show I'm going to have in May. The opportunity to have this show only came up a couple of weeks ago so I really only have about 2 months to come up with 6 new paintings and finish 4-5 "in-progress" pieces.
I can't use the same paintings I was going to show in Anchorage, because most of them were paintings I already exhibited in Juneau, that I modified by repainting but not in significant enough way to warrant another local showing.
So, I am frantically getting back to work. For me, the process all starts in PhotoShop. I often use my own photographs (or in the case of last night, some that Aaron took of seaweed) and I incorporate other images that I cut and paste from photos I find online.
I piece them all together in PhotoShop, change the color, orientation, etc. and come with a completely new piece that I then paint into my stylistic form of painting.
However, as coincidence would have it, I've been working on a talk I'm going to give to a group of Alaska Native Early Scholars students this afternoon and the topic is copyright and cultural and intellectual property rights. Doing research for this has created more questions for myself as an artist, than it answered. When it's OK to appropriate or build on elements of another artist's work for example.
And discussing the topic with Aaron this morning he mentioned that the artist Shepard Fairey copied the work of an AP photographer with his Obama "hope" poster...and is being sued.
It's still such a gray artist to me, artists have been "appropriating" from one another since time began, both visually, musically, cinematicly, etc. I guess as long as you don't make a lot of money no one will probably come after you, but it still makes me nervous.
Also, I showed Aaron the 3 new pieces I started in PhotoShop and I could tell by his response that he wasn't that blown away. I, however, feel really excited about going in a slightly different direction. I wish I had more time for exploration without the pressure of a show, but then, whenever I don't have the pressure of a show, I pretty much stop working...so, it's a catch 22.