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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Can't See Clearly Enough To Paint

Nico Blue Coonhound
This, or she rather, is why (sheesh, even the camera forgot how to focus). Meet Nico, our 4th dog. Bailey, Cocoa, and Lucy, who can be seen in the first pictures here (taken by my wife by the way), are the other 3. Nico is a bluetick coonhound, named after Shannon Hoon's child (I'd love to paint Shannon on a Blind Melon album if anybody knows if any were ever pressed). So freakin' adorable. We're stopping at 4, figuring 2 big dogs per person is enough.

So we're on fragmented and less than optimal sleep. And we normally sleep a lot.

Another reason my vision's a little compromised is this deal with Shepard Fairey. If you know me, you know I'm not judgemental or pissed off very often. When I do get riled up, it's usually because I'm reacting to something about myself that the universe is reflecting back to me. In this case, it's my somewhat unresolved wonderings about the legality of what I do. Layered on top of my insecurity about cheating is the worry that I'm stealing. I don't like feeling like I'm doing something wrong. I go pale, get lightheaded and my feet feel like lead.

When I first started selling my Vinyl Art pieces, we consulted this book. It seemed reasonable that my work was transformative enough and didn't clash with the photographer's market, so the "fair use" claim would be valid. Fairey is pre-emptively suing the AP to get a judge to declare his use of the Obama photo to be "fair use". Suing.

Now I know, like I said in that first post about this issue, that I would be hard hard pressed to go an adversarial route in the courts, but it could come down to a third party's determination on a case-by-case basis whether my work constitutes "fair use". I decided to ask Tad Crawford, the author of that book and owner of the publishing company, what he thought, off the record. He responded, suggesting that I be as careful as I can and be prepared to pay permission fees.

So, I've taken this time while on puppy-watch to find the source of as many photos I've used as possible. In my online gallery, I've added appropriate credit to the ones I've dug up so far. I haven't found all, and some, like the John Lennon with the glasses, are so common that Warhol even used it for an album cover. I'm going to keep looking, and I'm going to hopefully go through my blog posts and add appropriate credits in the painting's description text. A lot of work, but I decided I'd feel better.

And that's the point. I want to feel good about what I do. I want to paint.


1 comment:

m said...

I asked about this on another of your posts because I've grappled with similar concerns. It seems you've largely answered my question here so need to reply on the other comment--unless of course you want to and have more to say.

I appreciate you sharing your struggles and conflicts on this topic. You can't be the only artist to struggle with this and as I said it's certainly been an issue I've had my own issues with as well.

I love doing portraits and it's so easy to use images that are accessible and appealing to us. Sometimes those are others' photgraphs. Determining how transformative our work is from the original is subjective and very difficult to do, and the never knowing for sure is nervewracking!

(This is the same M from other comments here, I just linked to my new blog instead of my twitter)