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Live Journal. Series 8. Week 30-5. "Appropriation"



‘Sherry Levine's After Walker Evans (1981) is a photograph of a Walker Evans photograph. She is challenging the concept of ownership: if she photographed the photograph, whose photograph was it, really? And she is addressing the predominance of male artists in the textbook version of art history. Sherry Levine is a feminist artist.”(From Image Duplicator) ‘

This artist became famous for replicating photos.

What is wrong with appropriation, if I photograph a puppy or a lily and I then paint it, won’t it just be like another lily or puppy? So some else has painted a lily, am I then banned from painting lillies? What if the light was just like the light when they painted their version? So many sunsets are painted how can we tell which was the original? OK, I know a totally 'line for line'  and 'stroke for brush stroke' copy is entirely wrong. But Pop art exploded when Andy Warhol painted the Campbells's soup cans. So did that allow for trend setters to copy even more?

I love painting, I love trying to capture light.  I look at the great artists from the early part of the 1900’s,   Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Matisse,  then  my heart nearly bursts. The colours sing, the light is so pure. I am stunned and speechless when I am close to their work. I cried when I saw a Van Gogh up close.

 I so want to paint as they do!, and if I copy it, am I wrong?, I just want to get closer to them, to see how it works; how they achieve that image. I can only do that by working from the original example. I suppose it’s only wrong if I try to sell it as mine.  But it is mine.  I did it after all.

I admit I have copied images, I see a shape, a figure, a line in a fashion shot, and I copy it because it talks to me.  I change the colour, the size, the background, perhaps, the hair…then it becomes mine . I make it so.

 I am obsessed with fashion and had some old magazines I bought; they show patterns from the 1920’s and 1930’s.  One of them I altered slightly and painted in my style the result I show here. The original French magazine is delightful, but I simplified it and made the background more abstract. More 'me'.

I strive for beauty, and if in my quest I am carried along by the immense talent of those old masters  I can only hope as I copy, or study, some of the colour and magic will rub off, and I can achieve the perfect symetry I see in my head. So far, however I try it has eluded me.  ( Entry 5 of five),

 Voting for entries starts after the 18th.  By then I should be in severe pain but have a new knee, so will not be replying commenting or reading, unless life treats me kindly!  Good luck to all my friends. Read and vote to support us.


Sherrie wrote in her “Statement” of 1982 that “The world is filled

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Nice little entry as a performing artist, I "steal" all the time. Tones of voice, mannerisms....I have even been around enough to see some young actors steal from me. It's all good.

Such interesting questions! I think a photograph of a photograph is not art. Navel-gazing yes, but not art.

I so want to paint as they do!, and if I copy it, am I wrong?
This is a different question to me, partly because in painting, some of what you learn is technique of color and brush stroke, and there's a long tradition of copying Masters' art to learn from it. You could try hundreds of times to master the combination of Van Gogh's brushstrokes AND color mix, and still miss all over the place. Matching the color attack and layering of pointillism would be difficult for other reasons! The smoothness of an artist like Rembrandt is a wholly different territory of new techniques.

Part of what makes painting different is the training of both the eye and the hand while "doing." An instructor could talk the process to death, but you'd still have to try it again and again to pull the artistry of it inside you.

My home is happily blessed with a copy of one of the Monet water-lily paintings, and three different Van Goghs, all done by my mother. She insists that she has no real talent, because she's just copying (and I'm sure my father reminds her of that constantly), but I sure enjoy the results!

As for your French fashion appropriation, I like your version of it much better. Not only is the color scheme more striking, but there's something off about the proportions and perspective in the original. Almost as if it were an unintentional homage to Edward Gorey, or something. :0

I think of your painting as "yours" as it was your work, you who were inspired, and you are open about your inspiration -- no fraud intended. I like it. And I like this essay.

Thanks to all my friends.... Just home yesterday from hospital. 6th day.

A lovely sentiment that I think all artists can relate to.

I think in art, you draw or paint other people's images to learn, and I think as long as you're selling it as your work and a copy, it's okay.

*hugs* Glad you're home, and I wish you the best of luck on your recovery.

I've heard it said, "All poets borrow. The best poets steal." Forget who said it, so we can pretend it was me. :)

The reality is, all artists appropriate-- whether consciously or unconsciously. It is impossible to reinvent the entire freakin' wheel every time you create something, and we all operate by rules that we have picked up through brushes with previously-experienced art. There's nothing to feel bad about if you're *consciously* appropriating an element-- as long as you have something to add to what's being said.

Oh, and that "good Xs borrow, great Xs steal" thing has been attributed to just about semi-famous person under the sun, which is the highest irony. :)

I hope you're recovering nicely.

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