What is original art

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Starrpoint wrote
on 22 Jan 2010 11:24 PM

I must admit this is one of the dumber ideas in the "i am the only true judge of what is art and all of it is mine" mine set. I also belong to an art group, and we have a model with sometimes set poses, other times we let the model simply move around. and I can vouch for the fact that each and every one of us creates a different, and unique work.

We all have different styles, and none of us have the exact same view or perspective of the model. We differ in technique, medium, etc.

Most places don't allow work done under the instruction of a teacher, that is when everyone is simple producing a "copy" of the workshop drawing/painting, etc.

This is certainly not the case here. Is there any recourse? Any person or group you can appeal to? Has she been to this work group?

I would be interested in seeing this work and how much it lacks "originality" I am betting that these works differ quite a bit more than a group of painters painting the same landscape does.

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panzenbock wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 3:22 AM

Hi, I am in South Africa and I also go to a regular drawing group.  I would never attempt to sell the drawings I have done in a group at exhibitions or galleries (only privately) because the moment and pose was captured by many and it is obvious, even though my drawings are very different to the others.  A local gallery sells some of the drawings done from this group and the repetition is obvious.  I would however get the model privately and set up the stage and do work of my own and attempt to sell that.   However, I have as a selector of group exhibitions questioned the 'original' and 'not original' comments on my art and the explanation from those who claim they have all the answers is, "If something has been done before, a landscape or a seascape or a still life of apples etc.," it is not deemed to be original.  If for example I produce a painting or people all standing on their heads and holding trays on their feet, it is the first time that THIS has been seen, so that is 'original'.  A load of horse dung in my opinion.  I feel the need for a selection panel should be narrowed to - is it suitable for the exhibition, is it a good painting, is the technique well done, is the composition and the balance good and is the painting a subject that would perhaps sell (from a gallery point of view) and forget about all the nonsense that pulls an artist down instead of building up the much needed confidence that is required.  That means all the Indian/cowboy paintings are not original and marks are deducted because of that and the artist is turned away.  Paint and cherish the moment while you have it. From Lorna in South Africa

 

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cooper2 wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 9:02 AM

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh CJ!  Are you hunting for people in attack mode today?  :)

But really.  Let me share an experience I have dealing with staged poses and their originality.  A recent relocation caused me to search out a new life drawing group (practice, practice, practice)  What turned up is a group on  the ISU campus.  Mostly students studying to be medical illustrators.  They work in 9 x 11 sketchbooks with #2 pencils.  And they get the whole figure on the page, with room to spare.  How do they manage that?!  The results are more photorealistic than an actual photograph.  I walk in with my Biggie 24 x 30 sketchpad and vine charcoal, wishing I was brave enough, in this group setting, to get out some paint.  I have been to the group three times now and am still struggling to get comfortable, the struggle being with working like I normally do when it contrasts so strongly with what most of the group is doing.

So in saying that all life drawing group work is unoriginal would indicate that I am trying to style my work after others in the group.  Oddly enough, as I was driving home after Thursday's meeting, I started scheming as to how I could take paint and canvas in, rather than go buy that 9 x 11 sketchbook. 

And let's back up a minute---those more-real-than-photorealistic drawings from the medical illustrators?  No two are alike.  The only thing they have in common is perfection, or the striving for thereof.

Later, Cooper

http://karencooperpaintings.com

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on 23 Jan 2010 9:42 AM
Just suppose the variables of every moment of life as one creates, combined with the variables of being an individual artist, serve to ensure an original work every time! Then the artist must decide if those who know less should matter at all! All the best to you and your group.
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Margo5 wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 12:29 PM

First of all, let me say that I have found this to be a very interesting forum.

I think others have already made a really good point. Not discussing life drawing co-ops, if you took the original picture, there shouldn't be any question - you took the original picture and used it for an original painting.

When it comes to workshops where the teacher provides a line drawing that is protected by copyright, you wouldn't want to enter that into a competition.

There was an incident here locally where I donated two paintings that I had done. One was original from my own photo and the other was a study I had done using the book Painter's Quick Reference Landscapes (2006 North Light Books), which clearly states on page 2 second line: "All rights reserved. It is permissible for the purchaser to paint the designs contained herein and sell them at fairs, bazaars and craft shows." (bold lettering, my emphasis). Unless someone took the paper off the back of the painting, I gave credit to Linda Kemp for the fact that it was my rendering of her original. These paintings were donated to a group that helps pregnant women to be able to bring their babies to birth rather than abort them. I received no compensation for donating these other than the satisfaction that one more person may have been given a chance to exist. Here locally, there seemed to be a strange undercurrent about that painting.

The other painting that I donated (my original photo) is shown here on this site tagged under "cactus."

I also, did a few paintings using Patrick Howe's book dramatic light - a very inspiring book that I love. I gave one of those paintings to a friend of the family. Those are not something that you would want to enter into a contest.

The open studio work comes under a very different set of circumstances than these. I agree that open studio and plein aire have a lot in common and work from those venues definitely seems original to me. We would probably have to start removing a lot of beautiful artwork from our museums if we began to question the originality of work done in that venue.

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leivan wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 2:54 PM

Handy Man by Michelle Leivan

It looks like a lively discussion. I think I need to put my own two cents in though....

I also coordinate a life drawing group. I do not pose the model but usually mangage the time on the poses. I often create a completed piece during our 2 hr. session.... I dare your art league president to deam the pieces I create in the sessions as "Not Original" (one shown right) Not to mention every piece walks out of each session by each artist working in their own medium and from their own perspective and skill.

Assuming that you pay to be a member of the Art League: I would ask to see the "rule" that defines "orginal art" in the league. I believe that your issue needs to come up in an Art League meeting. Or, you need to run as Art League President when her term ends. Her narrow minded rules are arbitrary, comprecious and unreasonable.

The issue of Critique... My 16 year old son critiques my work, as well as my husband... it's as simple as they live with an artist and have an opinion... that would mean every one of my pieces are not original??? That's just crazy... critique is what makes us better artists, it helps us see beyond ourselves and drives us to step out of the box of our own imagination. This is the same thing that happens when you work in a drawing/painting group....

Oh, and any instructor who lays a hand on a students work needs to be slapped. There are plenty of ways to show the student what is needed without placing their own brush to the student's canvas. It's just the arrogance of the instructor to do so and they should not be teaching.

Good Luck, and keep the brush to the canvas!

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Starrpoint wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 4:11 PM

I've seen work on other sites that was coached from vague idea to composition, to color suggestions ("now layer it with "pumpkin orange") complete with the piece photoshopped with the coach's "fixes" until it looked like something that "coach"  would have done.  Which is probably where these kinds of rules come from.

This kind of coaching really would fall under the heading of instruction. It is a hard area to quanitfy.  Where do you draw the line? How much is shop talk and how much is taking on the creative end of the painting? I have taken workshops, and while I produced nice work, I don't consider it my own. They were learning experiences. I do apply what I learned to my own work, but the stuff from the class is usually given to mom!

A few suggestions over a cup of coffee, that is just shop talk.

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cooper2 wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 4:54 PM

If there is a teacher, then it's a workshop or class, and the work resulting should not be considered original.

A life drawing group or studio usually does not come with a teacher.  Sometimes I wish they would.  Everybody makes their own mistakes, hopefully learns from them, and because of the process, creates work that is original.

Is there a possibility that the guild president that caused all of this commotion and discussion, really just doesn't like life drawing and the work that results from it?  Maybe she doesn't want nudes at her exhibit and sees this as a way to eliminate them?

 

Later, Cooper  http://karencooperpaintings.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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Margo5 wrote
on 23 Jan 2010 5:08 PM

Cooper,

That no longer deals with "original." Michael Angelo's nudes weren't degrading to women or men. There are nudes and then as one man said elsewhere in these postings there is something that goes way beyond that arena. His label for that was "erotic." We solve the problem here by allowing people who don't want to look at that type of thing to simply filter it out.

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on 24 Jan 2010 1:39 AM

 

Not all artists can afford to hire a professional model, set up a pose, paint in a solitary situation (refusing to use even our own photos for supportive information.)  Am I the only one mentioning pooling our resources and painting together for costs, convenience, studio availability, adequate lighting, transportation, safety in numbers --all those needs?  When it is not a workshop with an instructor, or a classroom situation,  it seems perfectly obvious that each artist is producing his/her own personal interpretation and creative statement whether the subject is a portrait or a landacape.  Dear God, let's not begin to sound like the hair-splitting political experts!  If the rule for a show submission is so tight, choose a different opportunity  to submit or show your work, or join another organization. 

MJS

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Starrpoint wrote
on 24 Jan 2010 6:03 AM

You bring up some real points in this. Money.This has always been an issue for artists forever. That is why artists have had to seek patrons. This idea that a true artist never considers such mundaine issues as cost is foolish.

Many artists band together for more than moral support, although that is not inconsiderable. But having a studio to work in and company to work with can be a real stimulant to creativity.

The idea that creativity must exist in a vacuum is also foolish.

While I agree that STUDENT work, ea, work done at the direction of a teacher is more a reflection of the teachers creativity, work done while working in an art group should not be considered in the same light.

We have a life drawing class at the Renaissance Gallery here, and the work that the students do is done under a strong instructor, many of our gallery members sit in, to share the model. They are not students, and do not participate in the class, but share cost of a model. Many places it is hard to get a model.

And many artists don't feel comfortable hiring an unknown by themselves.

As you said, there is the safety issue here. Many of our women artists feel much safer working in a group. That does not mean their work is not original.

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Bill McEntee wrote
on 24 Jan 2010 6:43 AM

Thanks Starpoint, 

These are very good points. Unless you are supported by some sort of trust fund or have begun with wealth, then you will run into serious money issues fairly quickly.

And working in groups is a great thing on all the levels you said. I have worked alone and in groups, and there are benefits in either. 

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Starrpoint wrote
on 24 Jan 2010 7:21 AM

There are definite critical advantages to being part of the right art group. I know since joining the Renaissance Gallery, an  artist co-op, I have become much more critical of my own work. I am much more productive of quality work. I have learned to be a bit more, can I say it, businesslike in my art?

Not so much producing art with the public in mind, but aware of look for the details, the quality in my own work. I think I have become much mroe creative, and less likely to produce mundane, run of the mill type of paintings, drawing, etc.

I realize that I need to put my efforts into my best work, not just fiddle around. This is one difference between joining a group of working artists and simply joining the local art league. I belong to both, but I find the art league less stimulating and more restrictive and selective in their definition of what is art. Less universal and willing to experiment. I like experimentation!

While I still do most of my work alone in my dungeon (my studio is in the basement) when I do work in a group setting I am much more confident, and it shows in my work. My brushstrokes are less tentative, more sure, and I have learned to distill my drawings and work down to what really matters.

I don't get as lost in details.

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cooper2 wrote
on 24 Jan 2010 7:35 AM

Hi Margo,

I was referring to the original thread of this conversation where the guild president disallowed work from life drawing studio, saying it was not original, and therefore ineligible.  I was insinuating that this would be a convenient way of keeping nudes out of the show, IF she really didn't want them in.

All that said, it's still a moot point.  She took the power of her position way beyond it's realm

Later, Cooper   http://karencooperpaintings.com

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Bill McEntee wrote
on 24 Jan 2010 7:35 AM

Jay Babina:

Speaking of Original art, I find Giclee prints the biggest joke in the art world. Technology has allowed artist to make cheap worthless copies of work that will fade in the sun regardless of claims by ink manufacturers. 

Hi Jay, 

I agree that technology presents us with some challenges, but must disagree on the subject of "Giclee"  printing.

I made a print of one of my watercolors as a gift for a family member 10 years ago. I printed with an Epson printer before the introduction of more stable art inks. I warned her to keep the print out of direct sunlight. To this day, that print looks identical to the original. 

I had seen prints of the work of friend in 1990. When visiting him in 1997 at his home on Colombia's Caribbean coast, I was shocked to see the original had faded almost beyond recognition. The light of the setting sun crossed over his painting every day. The beautiful ocean view had cost him the colors on that picture. Conclusion: colors, original or otherwise, fade in the sun, hence the low light in museums.

Another angle on Giclee is the financial. I have run into many people who love my work but are in no position to pay me what I need to part with an original. If I can sell them the picture they love for a price that is respectful to both of us, then everyone wins. And, I have just added to my list of collectors. Don't forget the fact that every print is an advertisement for your original work, and a boost for your name as an artist.  

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