When I was a student, I used to spend hours drawing from photographs in magazines. This is a time honored practice taught in art classes with the one drawback that while you are learning skills, you aren’t creating something new, but rather copying someone else’s composition. Is it art? Do you have the right to sell it? Does it belong in an exhibition of your work? Is it representative of your style? These are all the questions an artist asks oneself as we painstakingly work a piece of photo-realism. If I take the photo myself, suddenly I’m an artist, but if I work with someone else’s photo, not so much.
This all passed through my mind as I was looking at the latest graphic tees coming out of the fashion world–the kind that reproduce photographs, sometimes celebrities, sometimes flowers, in over-sized prints. They are not usually photos the designer took. Are these art, resalable, and adding to the ouvre of the designer? Apparently so. I may rethink my photo-realism phase! Also, if I pay a licensing fee, does that make it art? Hmmmm… food for thought.