This is going to be one of those more thought-provoking journals, where I get to tie in real news articles to how the online community operates. If you are able to read through this entire journal, mad props, because it's going to give you some mental floss to work with. I always like starting up a good topic of conversation, so chime in with the comments. I stumbled across this article after sifting through my daily news rounds (i'm a junkie when it comes to it).
In the event you do not care to go through the entire article, I can summarize it:Artist Chris Foss is a book illustrator who made a particular work for a sci-fi novel. At a later date, another, much more prominent artist, Glenn Brown
, made minor altercations to Foss' work, then sold the work for $5.7 Million Dollars. Brown is a controversial artist in that he often makes very similar reinterpretation of other artists work and then sells it, fetching quite alot more than the originals. Here's a comparison of the two paintings.
Pretty gobsmacking close hmm? Yeah thats what I thought too. Here's the kicker, even after the settlements post legal battle, the original is worth less
than the imitated plagiarized version. (also take note that if that image link no longer works in a few days its due to my premium running out, so if that happens, just copypaste the url into the browser bar)
This got me thinking, especially with how Deviantart deals (or in this case, doesnt) with plagiarism , art theft, how the actual artist and their status (brand name) plays into all of that. Recently, there's been quite alot of buzzing on how deviantart has fallen a tad short on their copyright policy and how they often do leave up very referenced (or plagiarized) works stating they are original and not copying the original artist. But after what you see above, where does one draw the line?Whats the line that gets drawn in the sand with Plagiarism, referencing, and copying work?
Always the million dollar question right? I have yet to meet an artist that hasnt referenced something once in their career. "What does a hand do in this shape? Reference it", "how does this lighting scenario play out? reference it". Referencing is a tool that is there to better get your foundation formed so you can further your own artistic endeavor, but it 'should' be just that; referencing. It's not supposed to be a stencil or even remotely close. If you cant draw hands, you dont go and copypasta one from elsewhere in, you go study hands, take pictures of your own hands, and work on getting the idea further.
Now on dA, I've personally seen alot of images that you can tell are indeed referenced and you can overlay the two, and it's very obvious when it's a bit 'more' than a reference. This comes in many shapes and sizes and I'm sure I dont need to go further with that, but where does the line of 'referencing stop' and 'plagiarism and theft' begin?
This brings me to the second point as well. Glenn Brown, the 'plagiarizer' of the art above, later renamed his piece acknowledging that the image was 'referenced' from the original, however the image still holds the value far above that of the original. Does brand name of an artist (prestige in the fine art world) give them leniency to performing plagiarism/theft?short answer: rhetorical question.
Of course it does! this is smack proof that this happens IN REAL LIFE. Is it fair? OF COURSE NOT, as it cost Mr. Foss nearly $6Million. Does it happen? Well, we've seen it all over online, with reposting of art on Tumblr, facebook, twitter, you name it, and either removing the credit from the original artist or going further to reference it to the point of duplication and making it your own. But should someone with more influence get away with doing that or even get more leniency?
From that news article, it's clear that at least in the fine art world, yes. (the sad truth really :c)
Brand name means alot in the fine art world, and especially with the level of subjectivism in modern art, what defines the actual 'value' of the art in question? I had a quote from a family member after going to see a gallery of an artist who had made it rather large, specialized in very colorful abstract art similar to picaso works. The quote?
"All it takes to become a famous artist is just to have one or two influential people in the art world like your stuff"
Really put things into perspective. Alot of art collectors use art as a way to preserve assets, aka investing. What kind of art? Doesnt matter, the second an investor wants to use that as a way to preserve X amount of money, then that artpiece immmmmediately gains that value, and it could be something like a white canvas with a red smear in the center, who knows! When it comes to the fine art community, what seems to be the case is that value of art has become entirely subjective to brand name of artist with this scenario. The value is no longer seen as to 'what the art is or its quality, but its investability. You'll see trends form, where artists no longer branch out to hit quality standards, but trend standards as that has the subjective value', and that's where this issue of the rampant plagiarism and theft happens.
So what does that mean for the art community, online and offline?
Depends how you interpret it. Trends are everywhere, you see them in music, movies, television, especially online art. People will mimick that which they know is successful. But does that give a pass to the referencing and plagiarism? Where does the line get drawn? What is 'too much'?
This is what I ask to you. •When does referencing become plagiarism, and how 'should' the Deviantart community respond, especially when the problem is around us each and every day?
•Do you think that communities tend to be more lenient on those who have influence who are guilty of referencing/duplication, why, and is it acceptable?
•Do trending of 'popular influences' pan into this? What in particular do you see that causes the most of this problem?
And What can the Art community as a whole, online and offline, do to fix the problem? And as a resolve, should brand name dictate value of the art over its content?
Because it might put someone out $5.7 Million.
Discuss. Let's hear it. I know that I cant be the only one thinking alot about this....... right?