For a long time throughout my college and professional career, I've had this idea in my head that looking at other artists work would make me less original. If I was inspired by them, the art I created out of that inspiration would partially belong to them and I wanted it to be 100% mine. It felt dirty in some way, like I was cheating if I got an idea from someone else's work.
But the older I get the more I realize how silly that is, and how having that idea is probably why I was in such an annoying rut/painter's version of writer's block for so long. Because the thing is, inspiration can come from ANYWHERE. A book, a tree, the color of an appetizer plate, but it doesn't feel like cheating when I make a painting based off those things. But paintings, paintings are different. Looking at other paintings is hard for me, it's a mix of jealousy and guilt that I haven't created work like theirs, that I haven't spent the time I should have to perfect my craft the way they have. What is that about? And if I do make a painting truly inspired by another artist, is that breaking some code? Is it unethical? I want to know what you think!
Also, here's a photo of one of the painters who has inspired me since my college drawing teacher introduced me to her work 5 years ago:
Julie Heffernan's self portrait. Soon after seeing her work, I created this piece inspired by her style:
Tell me your thoughts on cheating in art! Is there a line you can't cross? Comment below!
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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