I May Not Be Tim Gunn…

After posting about my new art doll-inspired series of creepy girls the other day, I was relieved to hear back from Colleen Downs, the super talented sculptor of Loopy Boopy art dolls. As I said in my emails with Colleen, there is a line that separates being “inspired” by someone else’s work and copying the work outright, but unfortunately, it’s one of those fuzzy, squint to make it out lines. My best explanation for what constitutes stealing in the art world is, “I know it when I see it.” Going by my gut is hardly a scientific method, so it came as a huge relief to check in with Colleen and be reassured that we’re on the same page.

12 X 12, acrlyic on canvas
prints available in the shop

The concept of a painter stealing from another artist is strange since it doesn’t involve real tangible gains for the thief. A painter copying someone else’s work still has to spend the hours to paint the copycat work, laboring over every detail. It probably takes the copycat longer to duplicate the masterpiece than the original artist spent creating from scratch! Doesn’t seem like much of shortcut, does it?

So why copy? I believe most of it comes down to simple insecurity – new artists who haven’t gained the confidence to develop (and trust!) their own style. Everyone is influenced by other artists’ work. Unless you’re able to create in a complete vacuum, you’re constantly effected by the world around you. Like my painting instructor Martin loves to say, “Once you’ve seen a Michaelangelo, you’re ruined.” You can’t UNsee it.

The trick is to take all of those influences and put your own personal spin on it, develop your own unique style. When people see my work, I want it to be instantly recognizable as a kgb painting. I’m not there yet and still discovering my style, my voice, but I feel like I’m getting closer with each new painting. Which is probably also why I’m so fickle – I love the newest girl on the block until I paint the next one. Then *she’s* my favorite! 🙂

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