And Then There's Copyright Infringement
I'm finding myself in a dichotomy of self compassion and self deprecation. Yesterday, from the early morning 12 minute meditation practice to the second my smiling head hit the pillow, I was in an inexplicably good mood. I recited gratitude mantras in my head all day. Wore a sunny yellow long sleeve top, fresh faced with minimal makeup and completed a 4 mile exhilarating bike ride with Paul in the evening. Today, I woke up with maybe 10% less cheeriness but still ever so grateful. I had TWO high ticketed commissioned pieces to work on! No stressful deadline and subjects I'm thrilled to paint. These were (are) going to be rather large canvases. One of them 30"x40" and one 36" by 48". Sure, the clients are family members with money who truly believe in me, but I'm just grateful for the opportunities to create and feel fulfilled.
The subjects though.
How did I not think of this?
Did my excitement cloud the obvious?
Subject #1, which I immediately purchased a 2 pack 30" x 40" canvas on Amazon for $45.97, is a photo still from a scene in Joker of Joaquin Phoenix in his face paint and iconic red clown suit, arms stretched out, eyes closed, dancing on the dirty gray cement steps. I know I can do this image justice with acrylic on canvas. But what about copyright infringement???
Subject #2 is an actual photographers photo, found by my commissioner on Getty Images. It's a royalty free stock photo available to purchase as a print. The photo is black and white with pops of burning red; a seductive woman with her head thrown back, eyes closed in ecstasy, puffing away on a cigarette. The cigarette smoke is what's most captivating about the photo. It spreads and swirls in neon red light above the woman's head. It's a pretty dynamic piece and I was thrilled to have this challenge. But what about copyright infringement???
As an artist completely new to the scene, I'm finding out these challenges early on. They are inevitable challenges that I had not considered yet. Tonight, my therapist helped me to be more understanding and compassionate to myself. She helped me to see that it's OK that I don't know how to navigate through this yet and that I still feel insecure. She told me that just because I feel insecure now, doesn't mean this is how I will feel 6 months down the road.
What do I see 6 months down the road?
I'm only working 4 days a week as opposed to the current 5. I have this one extra day to create non stop content, both in art and social media representation of myself as an artist. Marketing myself. Opening up doors to freelance art and commissioned work. The ultimate goal is to work on a collection of about 8-10 acrylic paintings, titled "Quit Your Day Job." I'll let the true subject of the matter remain a mystery, unless I have personally already told you. This collection will not be a money maker but it's still my dream that I plan to make a reality. I want to show this collection proudly in a collaborative art show and potentially make some sales from them. This is something I see. I don't know if it's possible for it to happen in 2020, but definitely by 2021.
Back to the copyright infringement shit. What do I do?
I read somewhere in my rabbit hole research that I can contact the photographer for permission to use their image in a painting I am selling. I cannot imagine any photographer saying "sure! go ahead, hun! I don't mind at all", without them side eying me for this ridiculous contact and/or asking a hefty compensation for it and/or denying me completely. It seems tedious, but the right thing to do.
Another thing I can do is use their image as inspiration and give it my own Cosette Grider spin. UUUUUGGGGHHH. Why does this sound more difficult than it is?
Paul explained to me why this sounds more difficult than it is for me.
He reminded me that for 15 years, as a CAD artist in the Fashion industry (sounds way way way more fancier than it really is), I have been asked to digitally draw exact garments. Draw this. Boom. Draw that. Bam. It's all technical. Not too creative. I'm a really skilled sketch artist and painter. Paul says my pencil sketches are much better than my paintings. Here's where the self deprecation and insecurities come in. Now I feel like I have to just practice being creative. Do I even have the brain bandwidth for that anymore? WHERE THE FUCK DID MY CREATIVITY GO??
No, seriously. Where? Can I not create from my own head anymore? Do ideas cease to exist up there? Why is this blog post full of questions??
I would love nothing more than to take a basic idea and create my own unique take on it. Maybe I'm scared. I'm scared that I'll take the chance and after all that hard work and time, I'm going to hate it. The original image will be better. What can I possibly come up with that isn't a complete knock off from another artists unique perspective? Where is my voice? WHAT is my voice?