To create this drawing Fool’s Paradise, I set up an arrangement of sticks and stones and took a series of photos from different angles. I was aware of the role that shadows and light play in such still-life arrangements and spent time getting the shadows ‘right’.

As an art judge I get to see and analyse a lot of artwork in a broad range of mediums and disciplines. I enjoy looking at other people’s art and having to make judgements, although it’s not always straightforward.

Is it just me, or are we seeing a decline in truly original artwork these days? With all the advancements in technology one would expect to see exciting new art, but this year I have come across instances where there has been direct copying of published photos and even other artists’ work! What’s going on here?  I thought this was the clever country?

Copyright laws in Australia are very clear. Why is it that some artists have little or no regard for them? Are they themselves devoid of creativity or are they just plain lazy, or maybe even devious?

My art is precious to me and so is all the research I do in order to create my work. I instigate all my work and like my fellow artists, I demand respect for what I do and how I do it. In return, I give that same respect to all the artists whose work I see.

Why are people continually copying from books and magazines?

Art is personal, not borrowed. Art is original, creative and expressive, or at least it should be.

Copying from (your own) photos is quite acceptable although dangerous if you do it all the time. Some seek the permission to use other people’s photos and while this is  legal, it’s something I would never do. One needs to work with three-dimensional subjects now and then, as they can teach you far more than a photograph can.

In order to obtain as much realism as possible many simply copy (or trace) all they can see. Art is not about detail, it’s about (visually) convincing the viewer that the illusion you have created is believable.

Some think that the more realistic (the more detailed), the better the artwork. I have seen so much detail in some artwork over the years that I am convinced that the human eye could not have possibly noted all the information. Seascapes are a great example where in some instances every single detail of each wave has been perfectly (and I mean perfectly) rendered. The problem is that many are more enthralled by all the detail than the artwork itself.

The appearance of digital art in galleries has only added more grist to the mill. While there are some wonderful examples to behold, the lack of originality in some instances, is a concern.

The boundaries of art are continually shifting. Will originality become a victim?

Richard Klekociuk ©


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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  1. Edna Broad says:

    Richard, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on the problem of copying despite copyright laws and the knowledge that it is breaking laws. The problem is amongst the magnitude of art out there how difficult is it to follow up who is copying what and everyone knows this. For example I had someone actually copying my work when I was at uni and I couldn’t even prove it then because of the problem of explanatory ‘influences’ from other areas. Plagiarism from the net in ‘cut and paste’ is rife in writing but that’s easier to prove because of the sequence of words.
    Hyper realistic paintings copied from photos destroys creativity in art I think too. But so long as award art competitions encourage this by awarding prizes for obviously photographic copies then artists will continue to believe it’s a standard to be followed. I think one of the reasons why photographic realism is so acceptable is that TV, video photos etc. flatten out and sharpen the images our eyes see. This has had the effect of denigrating the focus of natural vision with its dimensions, peripheral vision and individual imagining of what is seen.

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks, Edna. What a great reply and I agree with you. It’s a pity our culture strives for ‘quick fixes’. I love the journey as well as the product!

  2. Gillian says:

    I agree – so often I see sometimes iconic photos used by artists who sell their work without any thought given to the original copyright holder. On Redbubble there are many such examples, even Harry Potter copies, when we know that J.K Rowling holds a very tight reign on her merchandise. Why do RedBubble allow it, I wonder?
    Recently I joined Paint My Photo where people invite artists to paint from their images and enjoy seeing the results. That’s a real boon for those , like me, who can’t travel much, so that’s the only exception I make to always working from my own source material.
    On a personal note, hyper realist artwork leaves me cold. I might appreciate the skill, but it seems to lack emotion somehow. As someone on UKCPS said – there are easier ways to make a photocopy!

    Great post, Richard. x

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks, Gillian for your excellent comments. Redbubble’s standards worry me too. I wonder if the people running the various groups have any idea about copyright.
      Tropical regards, Richard x

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