Fairly regularly I think I'm going to stick to some new regime or idea, like this one. 2015, I'm going to try to write proper blog posts about subjects that get in my brain a bit. Ideas I usually bore my friends and family with...Let's see how I go.
In this blog, I have from time to time talked about copying and also about research. More knowledgeable folks than me can articulate these better than I can...I did do my Masters and wrote piles of pages, but, I'm afraid it was so hard, I'd always find myself nodding off.
The gist of my thinking today is, that the two subjects are heavily linked together, for better or worse.
Firstly, let's think about research, and what that really means in terms of the creative person. To me, it's about finding out- finding out about the "thing". Which usually means some reading, from a book, from a library or through an online purchase, which is happily delivered to my door. I rarely look to a Youtube tutorial as a first port of call, and, I'll talk about that in a tick*.
The next part of research is, trying things out either by drawing or making the "thing". Not just once. Over and over, this is where process and practise come into play. Also, this is where discovery and change can happen. This is also where you can become the best at doing the "thing"...therefore creating something with a starting point, and an unknowable end.
What's the link to copying?
In art school, and other academic places of learning, PLAGIARISM, is so looked down upon, that the student can be excluded - thrown out. The threat of this is so real, that usually the student is forced into researching their line of study so thoroughly that this will not be a reality for them.
So, coming back to today, and the overwhelming event of social media and the outrageous trawled picture collecting sites...For folks who have not had the benefit of academic training, how or why would they even know or bother pursuing the model that I just described?
In a time where just about anything is available to -kind of learn- for free, why would any of it seem valuable or precious? When ideas are flung about (as everybody wants to be noticed) freely why would a 'new comer' even know they are copying? When they say they have been "inspired" by someones work, what are they really saying?
The newbie cannot be expected to be able to differentiate between a tutorial, for free, and an achievable finished object made by an artist or designer. If well regarded and fashionable makers do it, how is the newbie to know any better?
While I'm writing this, the last thing I want to do is to discourage anyone from being creative and expressing themselves. Mostly, I guess, one should be wary of starting that new online business, playing with the big girls and banging on about your "inspiration" and originality...if you haven't done your homework. There is always someone who's been around longer than you have. Read more books, done more travel etc.
Hopefully, I haven't lost you.
Find your own path. Find a real life expert. Find a book written by an expert. Email people, have real conversations. Work out of a journal, DRAW, record thoughts, names, things to look up later. Enrol in an art course. Learn from every single person who wants to teach you. Look out of your specific medium for inspiration....build a background of research for yourself, so you can stand proud, and completely know that what you are doing is your own.
*Youtube tutorials will show you how to do the "thing" they are demonstrating...so you'll be able to do that...handy for learning how to cast on stitches in a fancy way for knitting...not so great for 'ideas'.