Style thieves and questions of integrity.

On episode 77 of Waiting To Dry, we talked on the podcast about owning a style. When you come up with a new style, how much of it do you get to claim and where does the line get drawn?

Take for example my Painted Roses series. How much of it is truly mine?

Plenty of people have painted beautiful nude women before me. The patterns themselves are from vintage illustration or other sources not my own. Even the merging of pattern and background is a Photoshop filter that anyone can use(Hell, I will even show you exactly how). No one element of it is completely original. Yet, when it’s put together, it becomes a statement all of my own.

So it stands to reason that I would only be able to call out someone who is putting together those 3 elements in the exact same way that I do it. Everything else is fair game. So then, in order to claim my share of the market, I have to keep expanding my visual vocabulary to include more and more distinct pieces, and also grow within my own visual parameters.

The larger problem that was brought up in the podcast was this issue of artists freely imitating other artists for financial gain, and the institutions that give them permission to do so. Let me know, is this a problem for you? How do you feel about it?

Audrey Kawasaki is someone who is well-known within the art world to have imitators, yet a Google search of the phrase “Audrey Kawasaki imitator” doesn’t readily come up. In order to understand this phenomenon, we have to understand what she can truly lay claim to.

  • Painting on “bare” wood? Not really, although that is one of her signature elements.

  • Thickly outlined flowing strands of hair? Maybe, but that is one of the more subtle features of her work, and isolated, wouldn’t immediately jump out as hers alone.

  • Some of the background patterns and shapes have a distinct “handwriting” that I think she can lay claim to the essence of, but that’s not what most people usually talk about when they think of Audrey.

  • It’s really the facial shape and expression, the body type and shape, and the proportions that stand out as being her work. And that is what is mostly imitated of her work.

Was she even the first to start painting figures in this way? I bet not, but she surely