Hello everyone! Happy Friday to you!
I got an interesting comment on my blog yesterday on my bird cage cards from "anonymous." She/He says: "Reminiscent of Gwen Frostic's work. huummm. Gwen's prints are the best, think I rather prefer her cards for buying. I find your work is very cold and barren. Almost Soulless."
I'd like to say thank you for pointing out Gwen Frostic's work. I'd never actually heard of her until this comment so I went ahead and Googled her. Her beautiful prints have a rich watercolor feel and bring out such beautiful colors of nature in birds and botany. So delightful and a feast for the eyes.I urge you to check out her work; particularly her cards HERE.
Clearly, Ms. Frostic's work is the result of many hours of intensive work. Soulful work. This is fine art at its best. She has then turned her art into cards and calendars and all manner of wonderful products to make a living from her work. Kudos to her and I hope to have my own successes with my own work one day. However, currently I have not been working on my fine art. It's been placed on the backburner for a while now. All my paintings and drawings from the past are stored away in a special case; save for one small watercolor painting that is framed in my living room. Someday soon I will take out my pencils and brushes and paints and enjoy it all again. I have made the choice for now to create little letterpressed greeting cards that are just plain fun for me to make. I either illustrate the subjects myself or I find free clip art that I make unique compositions with. Do I put my soul in it? Hardly. I'm having fun! I'm enjoying myself! I'm doing what makes me happy. Yesterday, I was printing a little card that will be coming soon...little hippos by a palm tree. Cartoonish yet cute. Is my soul there with it? No. I giggle at the thought. My happy helpful commenter was correct: I didn't put my SOUL in my cards. I make my cards purely for the fun of it and with the hopes that others out there will enjoy them too. I put my SMILE in it. Little paper bits to send around and urge a smile from others. Nothing more and nothing less. I do not take my little cards too seriously. I think the topic of fine art vs.commercialism are important..It's vital to know the difference between what is meant to be a soulful expression and what is meant to be a fun expression made specifically for a commercial product in an effort for fun and to help make a living.
The comment raised another important topic: How do artists gain inspiration? and Has someone copied my work or have I copied someone else's work? These are issues that we freelance designers worry about and wrestle with. There are so many ideas out there and many have been done several times over. On purpose? Sometimes. But I think most of the time it is unknown. It is impossible to see every piece of art that has ever been created and make sure your special piece isn't similar to another. It sometimes happens. My happy helpful commenter implied that my work was like Ms. Frostic's. I'm flattered! But I do not see the comparison or similarity. I guess I have a bird on my card. That's about it. I found the cool bird on a royalty free clip art subscription-only website and just plain liked it. I'm happy to have learned about Ms. Frostic's work though; it is incredibly beautiful and really speaks to me. Something to note is that we all get inspiration and ideas from each other and from somewhere else. We as artists develop our own particular style over time. Sometimes two different artists will have similar styles. For example, when I looked at Ms. Frostic's work it immediately reminded me of the work of CharleyHarper. They aren't exactly the same style, but they reminded me a lot of each other. Her work is more painterly and less geometric.
Ms. Frostic's work:
Charley Harper's work:
Are they the same? No. Are the birds in dynamic and expressive poses? Yes. Are their angles exaggerated? Yes. Are the birds of the same species? Maybe. But they are also different in lots of ways and I could go on and on.
These are all topics that have been floating around in my head for a while now and I'm glad my happy helpful commenter reminded me of them. I've said how I feel about these issues; I'm curious to know what all of you out there think about these topics in relation to YOUR life and occupations? Enjoy your weekend everyone! I will be hanging out with family...I plan to go to a town carnival and then off to a fun paper store to see what treasures I can find. I'll be back Monday with pics of a paper treat from "Japan" at Epcot. Be well and here's a smile!