February 25, 2018

Not My Painting...

A recent note with photo attached:

Greetings Ms. Jacobs,
I hope the day finds you well.
I am a self taught artist. I have been studying several artists for years, while experimenting at my kitchen table with painting t-shirts, watercolor and acryllic.
Loving it, enjoying it, yet unsatisfied and not able to figure out where or how to conquer the big "whirld" of abstracts; and then I found Laura Lustig and you.
For the past 6 months or so, I have been studying your energies and color passages. I love your ability to bring out my mood and emotions. stir up memories of places visited somewhere before.
This past weekend I, I took a blank birch board, "closed my eyes" and proceeded.
Attached you will find "Park Place"....They say that imitation is a form of flattery. I dont believe I imitated you at all, however, I hope that I have managed to compliment your talent.
Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for sharing with me and the web.
Dxxx Pxxxx

What do I say? This isn't the first time I've received such announcements, in fact I keep a special folder with a collection of such paintings. The writer is correct, there is a tiny bit of flattery there but I can't help feeling a bit disheartened as well. I'll try to explain why, and I'll send a link to this explanation to DP.

First let me say that my personal style did not happen overnight, it evolved over many years, many style changes, many trial and error attempts, many failures and I still repaint work that suited me last year but looks horrid this year... so I'm a work in progress myself. Personally, I have been strongly influenced by name artists such as Diebenkorn, Rothko and Twombley, to mention a few. Several contemporary, lesser known artists also hold my fascination, I'll confess to leaving nose prints on their paintings or my monitor screen. But be that as it may, that's the extent of my attention. Anything more would be a shallow way to learn. You don't begin to understand the entire process when you just go for the surface arrangements of color and composition. Plus, it hampers your own innate ability to create an original path you can call your own. Absorb the work of others, study it, sort it out... but allow it to simply be an entry into your own world of creation. I think that's what DP did here... it's certainly not my painting, but it is derivative. I'm okay with that, derivation is what makes the world go round.

A little history as to my hesitation... copies of my work have been found on eBay several times and heads-up emails sent to me by artists familiar with my work. In one case my whole website and bio was hijacked and another name substituted. Also, images of my solo shows were used to create an eBay atmosphere of a well exhibited artist... but the copied paintings simply sucked! I guess the idea was to order something from "my" site and get the hacked copy instead. EBay blew him out of the water, but I'm sure he's up to no good somewhere else.

So that's where the creepy feeling comes in when I see my style studied. My advice: learn from someone who has/had it figured out better than this artist... I'm still messing up big time, and you don't want to learn how to do that!

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