I was walking from the studio this morning thinking about where we get our source material from for our decorative surfaces. Everyone’s mind works in a different way. We latch onto specific items which resonate with us or what we want to do. Quite often we pull from source material to help us move forward. Some people call this “stealing like an artist.” I know that when we are all beginning it can be difficult to break out of what has been done and find your own voice. I’ve had many students who bring me a photo and say something along the lines of “I want to make this piece.” Is that plagiarism?  While there is much to be learned from that which has already happened it is more of a challenge to learn how to make those ideas into something new that gives new life to the idea and speaks in your voice.

What I really wanted to do with this post was to get two images next to each other for evaluation. Historical and contemporary, could the artist have pulled their material from such pieces and if so how do you think that they may have evolved each idea to build their own vocabulary and voice? While I have doubt any of the contemporary artists were actually using these images or bodies of work as source material it is fun to hunt down parallels in historic and contemporary work. Enjoy.

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