Creative appropriation and other thoughts.

Portrait commissions by Gilly Cullen

The occupational hazard of every artist — the idea that others are copyinf what you are doing, plucking ideas and creativity from social media posts and running with them in their own way. There is nothing wrong with that. Artists have and need the freedom to draw or paint what they want to, the idea of topics or thoughts being copyrighted is absurd.

What constitutes creative theft? Is it taking advantage of a person’s knowledge or artistic techniques? Or directly lifting personal quotes from someone’s website and passing them off as your own?

I have spent years honing my craft, working on my own techniques. I didn’t study art at college, but I lived art everyday. I love, love, LOVE what I do, I put everything into my work, and it can be emotional and visceral, and wonderful and passionate. No matter the subject, whether it be a portrait of someone’s pet, an idea for a birthday card, or a large scale exhibition piece, I put the same amount of focus and effort into it. I invest almost all of myself in what I do, and it’s comforting to know that nobody can do exactly what I do in the exact way that I do it. No one can truly ever copy you or dull your shine unless you let them.

They say that to copy or emulate someone is really a form of flattery. But have a thought for the artist – let them know that you have been inspired by them and supporting them in what they do. By all means be inspired by other artists (we are here to inspire!), but we shouldn’t wait on the artist to come up with or develop ideas for others. To artists, their work is sacred. It has been painstakingly created and grown from an initial thought and pulled from the ether to become a full-blown, fully realised piece of art.

Artists should be true to themselves and their own art – explore then actualise your own innate imagination. Find your own creativity.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Leave a Comment