The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.
I have been mulling over this post all week. And most likely for a long time before that. I have always struggled to write whats in my head down on paper. I guess that is why I paint because what i am feeling I express through my art. I deleted the last two posts as they were a distraction from what needed to be said. This post is about copying, something that has agitated me all my life, since I was aware of what it was. However this will be where I draw the line. It has plagued me for so long, zaps my energy and paralyses my work.
I will write this post in true honesty, laying it bare. As to air it, understand it, and then let it go. I would also like it to help someone down the line, who may be struggling with the same issue.
So apparently I am copying, so I was told last week. My flowers aren’t original and I copy another artist’s work. This fellow artist, I have now lost a job and been blocked from a gallery who approached me and then said they couldn’t take me on because of this artist had contacted them. It has been tough.
Years of painting, over 1000 flowers painted just in the last year, hours of time put in to perfecting my skill and craft. Hundreds of exhibitions visited and books read on art, to be told you are not the artist you think you are.
Two words to be said to that, fuck off. Never in my right mind would I copy this artist work, let alone another artist. At times I thought they had copied me.
I will see it from their point of view, I can see similarities as we both draw flowers on paper in one color. But guess who else fucking did, Matisse, Elsworth Kelly, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’keefe, Monet, Hockney, Van Gough, Tracey Emin, Picasso, John Ruskin, Hokusai, Asian art in general ancient art, and way back in those bloody caves there are naïve plants drawn on walls in black.
Drawing flowers isn’t treading new ground, for any artist.
I paint flowers as I adore nature. Nature healed me when I was so ill with a brain injury, I would have to be assisted to walk into the garden and I would sit there with my plants, doing a little weeding, planting some seeds watching things grow, feeling connected to mother nature. It is these moments that go into my work. It is your life stories, places you have been, things that have spoken to you which as an artist shapes what you paint and how you paint it.
My last point is, that I disagree with the statement that nothing is original anymore. Why keep going, if this is true. Through out time we have periods where we dress a certain way, our houses look a certain way, that is what makes up our history. And without originality from creative thinkers we wouldn’t have the future. So originality exists in every era, no year is the same it just evolves slowly. And if we slowed down to notice this, we wouldn’t be so pessimistic, that being unique is dead.
Conclusion being copying only exists when you are unable to think for yourself.
I know my mind, and I dream big, I think long and hard about things, I notice the world, my mind is full of thoughts, and I am sensitive which makes me feel everything. I am not the same as you and you are not the same as me, and that is said to anyone and everyone.
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
Katsushika, Hokusai, 1760-1849: Grasses