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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Attribution & Creativity

Brian Wilson My brain and the Universe apparently think it's funny to mess with me this week. What one thinks, lessons one needs, are presented all the time by both. For me, it's my gut check that sees me through, guides me on my path. I don't need a written constitution or mission statement to refer back to and I don't need my internal storyteller fucking with me.

But, Life has its plan. So I'm having to do a tough gut check again about what I do. After all, I do create for sale works based upon works created and copyrights owned by others.

Mick Rock responded through his assistant to my contact form submission on his site that he thought my painting of David Bowie is pretty cool. Awesome! But he definitely takes the tough stance regarding the copyright issue. They wanted to make sure I wasn't planning a mass reproduction run for sale, infringing on his work, his art, his ego, him.

I have NO problem with that stance. I totally understand where he's coming from, as I feel the same way about Fairey's use of Garcia's photo. Fortunately, I have an internal "don't fuck with people" rule. It's golden. It's why I don't sell out my purpose, my art, my self.

I do what I do for the right reason and can communicate that externally. I can say that my art is meant to pay tribute to musician and photographer, music and photograph, not simply to use them for personal gain. I wouldn't be unhappy if people were simply printing off my blog images and pinning them up in their rooms or cubicles. I want my art to spread, to connect, to reach humanity.

But I want people to know I did it.

So I sign my pieces and I put my website in the corner of each image, assuming I remember. Hugh of does the same. He's now welcoming connection with his fans by posting photos of his own cartoons they have printed and posted in cubicles. No gain to him before, but now he gains by showing how people use his work, his art, him.

He gets to say, hey maybe someday you'll buy an official signed print, but no worries. It's good enough, even possibly better, for me that you pay me with your attention, your connection, your sharing, your spreading of my message, you.

Life for Life. Is that attribution enough? But Hugh's looking, as I am, for that provenance, that thread of humanity he started, or he continued. I want people to send me pictures of how my pieces hang, how my stickers are stuck. I want that ego boost. Mick Rock wants that ego boost to be in control of all his connections.

Again, I don't fault him one bit.

As long as humanity can still create. And that's where I side with Fairey in the sense that I think human creativity feeds itself. It's how we sustain our culture. Remixing, sampling, quoting must be allowed, and I think encouraged in order to encourage us as people. Shut it down and we wither.

But that creativity indeed BENEFITS from attribution. When you gratefully share those on whose shoulders you've stood, you encourage camaraderie and ease egos, you show your character, your essential truth, and build trust.

My gut says I'm good.



saranyan said...

I agree Dan. Create for a reason...because you are born to create. Other things will take care of themselves.

Life for life...I agree, admire and applaud. That is the best way to keep it. :)

Nancy Devine said...

creativity is essential in my life. it's how i sustain the culture of my own life.
as always, you work intrigues me.