Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let's Get Something Straight...

Hello, everyone.

I have been exploring over at ArtFire, and working on my CreativeSundries shop there. So far I have my fawn necklace listed. I'll get more stuff up as time and motivation allow. I find the listing process there to be easy, even--enjoyable! Wow! It's all on one page, which is cool. It's really user-friendly. 

Now I'd like to address an issue I've seen on ArtFire, as well as Etsy.
I would like to get something straight, and, I hope, find others of the same mind:

Finding vintage images, cutting them out, and reproducing them, digitally or otherwise, and selling the finished, unaltered image... IS NOT ART! It is simply not art. There's no soul in getting a library book, scanning vintage images, and selling the scanned image. 

Why are people scanning and selling images that they didn't photograph or draw themselves, and that do not belong to them? 

I believe that there are two reasons: 1) because they can, either because a) the image's copyright is technically expired, or the original copyright owner is either no longer around to enforce the copyright, or because the image is technically in the public domain, or 2) They somehow just don't know any better. 

As for the first excuse, make sure you're reading the restrictions on "public domain" images. Images in the public domain are almost never designated for commercial--i.e., selling, no matter how much or how little. A perfect example is the illustrations in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The images are in the public domain. But they are not for commercial use--i.e., copying them and selling them as a digital collage sheet! Or, making rubber stamps out of them, and selling the stamps. 

As for the second--if people are selling images--not things made with the images, but the images themselves, I would really hope they would do research into what they're selling. 

It's different from collage. I don't use photocopies in my collages; I love the way the original images look. 

What if the images are from 15th century China and there is no way to trace the artist? It's still not cool to scan them, print them on cardstock, and sell them, unaltered.

I'm just not sure why people are so intent on selling (unaltered) images they themselves did not create. And it is frustrating that online selling venues are allowing it to continue.

I encourage you to use your own creativity! Take your own photographs! Make your own images! Carve your own stamps! If you like certain images, say, vintage 50s and 60s (like I do), why not buy an antique book and cut out some of the images for your collages? Make an original card that incorporates the image in your own way. As Shel Silverstein says, "Put something in the world that ain't been there before."

Discussion and comments welcome! 

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