It came to my notice today that a former participant from one of my Drypoint Monoprint workshops has been plagiarizing my work to an alarming extent.
It made me wonder, is it unfair of me to be so exasperated by yet another pupil who does not understand the difference between being inspired by another artist and making outright copies without any thought for their own subject matter, concepts or technical application.
Above left -Jenny Robinson and Nancy Mintz Collaborative sculpture and Print. Above right Student work
What recourse does a professional artist have, whose art is the result of decades of experimentation, experience, long hours of hard work in the studio, and thoughtful attention to concepts and ideas, when others can make poor imitations of their work and pass the ideas off as their own?
I do, truly, understand that novices often need a starting point, and that often comes by emulating artists they admire, or who teach them. There is often a transition period where they must first feel comfortable with their chosen medium, before they can make the leap of faith they must eventually make to create their own, individual and original body of work.
The danger is, that in replicating another’s work for too long and without much thought, the line between copying and being inspired is crossed and you end up with a meaningless imitation.
Here are some recent examples, I will let you judge for yourselves!
Above left Jenny Robinson, section of Bay Bridge/infrastructure#1 print. Above right Student work
Above left Jenny Robinson , Hangar 1 , Drypoint (section). Above right Student work ( full image)
Above Left Jenny Robinson (section ) Ferris. Above Right Student version ( full Image)
ADDENDUM :To clarify, this problem has never arisen from college aged students, it is most often mature adults with an interest in art who should know better.