So, if you didn’t read yesterday’s post since earlier this morning, you might want to jump over there and read it. I used a quote to highlight the reasons for not copying and for crediting others. Then ironically the quote image turned out to be a misappropriated quote, reworded and posted without credit. Which brings up the one thing I didn’t summarize in yesterday’s post from the “rules” we suggest in the upcoming article “Stealing Talent” (see the Spring 2014 issue of The Polymer Arts being released on Friday.) That suggested rule is … never post anything derived from another artist’s work, not even from a class or tutorial, unless you’ve really made it your own.
Publicly posting anything that is not uniquely yours, even if you give credit to the original artist that inspired or taught you, is a dangerous and potentially harmful practice, for both you and the original artist. Your credits in the comments section of Flickr, Facebook or even a caption on a website will not necessarily follow that image as it is reposted unless the person pinning/posting consciously chooses to include your words. With the credits missing, people may think you are ripping the original artist off. Besides making you look bad, the original artist is no longer getting credit for his/her hard work.
So I have a proposal … let’s commit to NOT posting images publicly that are not our own original pieces. Let’s only post art which truly represents our unique creativity and ideas. And if we post something that was created as a result of a class or tutorial have it marked with the original artist’s name/credits IN the image itself. You can add text to your images using your photo editing software or watermark them using free online software like www.picmarkr.com or www.umarkonline.com. This way, credit will not be lost when images are reposted.
You may also put your name on images of your own work so they also will always have proper credit no matter where they wander off to, but please, do so as unobtrusively as possible. Watermarking takes away from the presentation of the art and if it weren’t helpful online, I would say never watermark your images at all. But if you do, remember to save an unmarked version as well so it can be used for other things like, oh, getting published in a high quality magazine.
Since I was going to post samples of asymmetry this week (a counter to last week’s symmetry theme) but would also like to give you an example of a watermarked image, here is a bead I created using Dan Cormier’s die-forming technique. And no, in this case, the credit to Dan isn’t necessary–this would never be mistaken for one of his pieces–but it was part of an exercise for an article reviewing his book, Relief Beyond Belief.
Asymmetry (getting back on track here) would seem to be about composition set off balance. But actually, it is completely the opposite. Asymmetry is all about balance. A well composed asymmetrical piece will have the various sides and position of elements balanced against each other–unless you are trying to create a sense of unbalance or tension. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. I have chatted enough for the last day or two.
I do want to thank all of you who sent me emails about yesterday’s post. I would highly encourage you to actually use the comment section of the blog here to share your thoughts with everyone. It is pretty telling that dozens of people emailed me but no one left a comment. It is a heated subject. But if you email me instead (and I really don’t mind at all!) please do let me know if we can repost your comments and we’ll do so anonymously. This is an important subject and we’d like to hear your thoughts as well!
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