Last night, someone in one of the groups I belong to (hi Creatives Club! :)) posted this very interesting video about art and it got me thinking about exactly what is it that artists do and where we get our inspiration from.
I have written on this blog about one of my current inspirations, J M W Turner, and his strokes, combinations of color and overall composition and how I love that, even though he is “officially” a Romantic landscape painter, his art has some sort of abstraction to it – an abstraction that is usually found in nature (and that is what attracts me to his art!).
But going back to the video. The examples that she mentions are just spot on: Mondrian (Hey, I could do that!) and Cy Twombly (Hey, a kid could do that!) and it made me think of the many times I’ve heard someone tell me “well, maybe I can copy it,” or “why spend X amount of money if I can make it.”
And the reality is that no, you probably can’t make it. Every artist is unique in its own way. Brush strokes vary depending on our handedness and even on the lengths of our arms (I think this is actual, factual, technical information by the way) or how much training we’ve had and with who . Also, what are the chances that you reproduce the colors exactly as they are represented in this piece? There is also the creative thought that is moving the piece, the technique, the materials used, etc, that make this piece a whole.
But I think of the most important aspect of reproduction and it is just that, reproduction. Creating art is an art; it involves hours and hours of training and practice and botched projects; it involves many frustrations and ideas that not necessarily translate to paper as we envisioned them; it takes time and energy and materials. And it is close to our hearts.
For me, reproduction is not the same (unless your piece is meant for reproduction like a photograph or a stamp, or other amazing types of art that are out there that are meant to be reproduced!) as owning an original piece that was maybe done for your or done for others. I’m not diminishing in any way the fact that art can and will continue to be reproduced, I’m just saying that for me, it is not the same. Do you think it is the same to own an original Matisse painting vs. a reproduction that you bought at the museum shop? I still own reproductions of art because I can’t afford the original piece, but reproductions sold to me by the artist, not something that I made because, hey! I could do that.
We need to protect the artist and the art.
Although, they say that imitation is the best kind of flattery…