May
12
2010

Art Plagiarism - Think Again! by Carissa Goldstein


As I delve further into the art world, I am constantly coming face to face with misconceptions I've had through the years. One prime example of this was learning how much creativity I have to bring to the table. Along with the mystical idea of being hit with inspiration, I assumed that what artists came up with was entirely of their own creation. Little did I realize that each artist starts at the beginning and has to learn the rules before they can break them. Van Gogh and Monet didn't start out with a signature style. They learned from their instructors and mimicked their styles first.

By taking classes with different instructors, I learn the tools needed to take me to the next step when I finally do find that inspiration. I can combine the techniques of other artists and put my own spin on them to create my art. It's not about sitting down in a room by yourself in front of a canvas and creating art. I think the most effective way to become creative is to first learn how others are creative and copy them. Of course this doesn't mean tracing another artist's work in your own hand and selling it as your own. Instead this means learning painting techniques, collage techniques, or whatever other techniques interest you from experienced artists before going out on your own. Aside from professional artists, I've drawn inspiration in classes from the other students around me. Everyone thinks differently, so in a class where we learned how to carve our own stamps, I was enthralled at the designs other people came up with. I was able to borrow their stamps to create my own piece of art in a unique manner. This is a perfect example of drawing from others to aid in your creative quest. Art is best done in a group setting to get the creative juices flowing. When I scrapbook, I often look at others' ideas and templates before deciding what tools and equipment I want to use, and then I embellish on those ideas and add a bit of my own personality. Everybody can create, no matter who you are, so stop thinking you can't!

Along with learning techniques from those around you, I think it can also be helpful to try to reproduce art that has already been done, but adding your own twist. It's about learning to crawl before you can run. Start with a prospect that doesn't scare the creativity right out of you. I'm learning to take these baby steps, difficult as it may be. Learn from my mistakes, and don't expect to paint the Sistine chapel in a day! Above all, remember that art is meant to be fun and therapeutic, not scary!

As a side note, I would encourage everyone local to the Raleigh area to check out the new S.T.A.R.T. program – Stop Thinking Art is Really Tough! This program is designed for those of you who aren't sure where to start or what to do. The workshops are Thursday evenings, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., all art supplies are included, and you'll leave with a finished piece of art, all for only $30! Starting in February, I'll be taking these workshops and offering feedback after the classes to let you know how they're going. Stay tuned!

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