Copy, right?

July 22, 2005



Like a lot of artists who have been around for a while, there
are people out there doing fairly commendable copies of my
work. Some copy "in the manner of"--the general themes and
ideas. Others copy part of the style or as much as they can get
of the style. Some take images from the Internet or other
publications and copy verbatim. Some almost "get it" and apart
from turgid brushwork, the only real difference is the
signature. 

Over the past few years there has been a growth industry in
copying the work of the recently deceased French painter
Bernard Cathelin. Perhaps somebody painted like that even
before him. His images and their variations, much in popular
demand for current home decor, have become commonplace under
many signatures. This has occurred because his is pretty basic
stuff and easy to clone--simple flat patterns, minimal drawing,
no light and shade. The work gives few problems to unskilled
painters with an eye for cash flow.

Right now at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia,
PA, there's a forty-year retrospective of the work of Richard
Pettibone. He's the guy who makes meticulous, postcard-size
copies of some of the late and recent art icons--Warhol,
Stella, Lichtenstein, Duchamp, Mondrian, etc. The critics of
course love it because they think the work challenges the
popular notions of originality, size, and banality. Think of
it: Warhol's soup cans, which were copied from soup cans, are
copied by Pettibone. Critics also like his fun-poking mix and
match--Dali-ized Warhol Marilyns, etc. Again, Pettibone has
always been careful to copy the stuff he can copy. For the
copyist, Pop is a piece of cake. To my knowledge, he hasn't
made a decent copy of, let's say, a John Singer Sargent
watercolour, because he can't. In this sense, the copyist
Pettibone is being forthright and honest.

The prevalence of cloners may account for why a lot of
brilliant and deft artists are guarded and devious about their
ways and means. Sargent, a private, secretive guy, was known to
labour over work in order to keep it fresh, and to finish with
a flourish to make it look easy. This "speedy" look has defied
his would-be copyists for years. "Mine is the horny hand of
toil," said Sargent. Secretly, I've always felt that Sargent's
attitude was something worth cloning.   

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "This show...is a solid one that establishes Mr.
Pettibone's role in the land rush of cloning, borrowing and
recycling known as postmodernism. In the process, he has made
art that he can call his own. Its emotional wisdom for the
artistically inclined is bracingly clear: love art, love
yourself, do what you have to do and what only you can do.
Utter honesty is the only path to originality." (Roberta Smith)

Esoterica: In your daily toil, be on the edge of pride with
your unique touch and your devious methods. Take joy in the
maneuvers that might be just a bit tricky to copy. Your "look"
is your look, you own it, and you should know that when it's
appropriated, it has been taken because it's valuable. You have
the goods to change and modify at your pleasure--and to have
sport with your cloners. "Those who follow are always behind."
(A. Y. Jackson)

Current clickback: If you would like to see selected,
illustrated responses to the last letter, "Last Child in the
Woods," please go to:
http://www.painterskeys.com/clickbacks/woods.asp

Yes, please go ahead and forward this letter to a friend.

If you would like to comment or add your own opinions,
information or observations, please do so.  Just click "reply"
on this letter or write rgenn@saraphina.com

If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this
material, please feel free to forward it.  This does not mean
that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly
Letter.  They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about
it by going to http://www.painterskeys.com

The Twice-Weekly Letters are in Russian at
http://painterskeys.narod.ru/  and in French at
http://www.painterskeys.com/fr/

In compliance with the welcome legislation on spamming, our
mailing address is: Painter's Keys, 12711 Beckett Rd., Surrey,
B.C., Canada, V4A 2W9.
Copy, right?

July 22, 2005

Dear PYGOYA,

Like a lot of artists who have been around for a while, there
are people out there doing fairly commendable copies of my
work. Some copy "in the manner of"--the general themes and
ideas. Others copy part of the style or as much as they can get
of the style. Some take images from the Internet or other
publications and copy verbatim. Some almost "get it" and apart
from turgid brushwork, the only real difference is the
signature. 

Over the past few years there has been a growth industry in
copying the work of the recently deceased French painter
Bernard Cathelin. Perhaps somebody painted like that even
before him. His images and their variations, much in popular
demand for current home decor, have become commonplace under
many signatures. This has occurred because his is pretty basic
stuff and easy to clone--simple flat patterns, minimal drawing,
no light and shade. The work gives few problems to unskilled
painters with an eye for cash flow.

Right now at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia,
PA, there's a forty-year retrospective of the work of Richard
Pettibone. He's the guy who makes meticulous, postcard-size
copies of some of the late and recent art icons--Warhol,
Stella, Lichtenstein, Duchamp, Mondrian, etc. The critics of
course love it because they think the work challenges the
popular notions of originality, size, and banality. Think of
it: Warhol's soup cans, which were copied from soup cans, are
copied by Pettibone. Critics also like his fun-poking mix and
match--Dali-ized Warhol Marilyns, etc. Again, Pettibone has
always been careful to copy the stuff he can copy. For the
copyist, Pop is a piece of cake. To my knowledge, he hasn't
made a decent copy of, let's say, a John Singer Sargent
watercolour, because he can't. In this sense, the copyist
Pettibone is being forthright and honest.

The prevalence of cloners may account for why a lot of
brilliant and deft artists are guarded and devious about their
ways and means. Sargent, a private, secretive guy, was known to
labour over work in order to keep it fresh, and to finish with
a flourish to make it look easy. This "speedy" look has defied
his would-be copyists for years. "Mine is the horny hand of
toil," said Sargent. Secretly, I've always felt that Sargent's
attitude was something worth cloning.   

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "This show...is a solid one that establishes Mr.
Pettibone's role in the land rush of cloning, borrowing and
recycling known as postmodernism. In the process, he has made
art that he can call his own. Its emotional wisdom for the
artistically inclined is bracingly clear: love art, love
yourself, do what you have to do and what only you can do.
Utter honesty is the only path to originality." (Roberta Smith)

Esoterica: In your daily toil, be on the edge of pride with
your unique touch and your devious methods. Take joy in the
maneuvers that might be just a bit tricky to copy. Your "look"
is your look, you own it, and you should know that when it's
appropriated, it has been taken because it's valuable. You have
the goods to change and modify at your pleasure--and to have
sport with your cloners. "Those who follow are always behind."
(A. Y. Jackson)

Current clickback: If you would like to see selected,
illustrated responses to the last letter, "Last Child in the
Woods," please go to:
http://www.painterskeys.com/clickbacks/woods.asp

Yes, please go ahead and forward this letter to a friend.

If you would like to comment or add your own opinions,
information or observations, please do so.  Just click "reply"
on this letter or write rgenn@saraphina.com

If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this
material, please feel free to forward it.  This does not mean
that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly
Letter.  They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about
it by going to http://www.painterskeys.com

The Twice-Weekly Letters are in Russian at
http://painterskeys.narod.ru/  and in French at
http://www.painterskeys.com/fr/

In compliance with the welcome legislation on spamming, our
mailing address is: Painter's Keys, 12711 Beckett Rd., Surrey,
B.C., Canada, V4A 2W9.
Copy, right?

July 22, 2005

Dear PYGOYA,

Like a lot of artists who have been around for a while, there
are people out there doing fairly commendable copies of my
work. Some copy "in the manner of"--the general themes and
ideas. Others copy part of the style or as much as they can get
of the style. Some take images from the Internet or other
publications and copy verbatim. Some almost "get it" and apart
from turgid brushwork, the only real difference is the
signature. 

Over the past few years there has been a growth industry in
copying the work of the recently deceased French painter
Bernard Cathelin. Perhaps somebody painted like that even
before him. His images and their variations, much in popular
demand for current home decor, have become commonplace under
many signatures. This has occurred because his is pretty basic
stuff and easy to clone--simple flat patterns, minimal drawing,
no light and shade. The work gives few problems to unskilled
painters with an eye for cash flow.

Right now at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia,
PA, there's a forty-year retrospective of the work of Richard
Pettibone. He's the guy who makes meticulous, postcard-size
copies of some of the late and recent art icons--Warhol,
Stella, Lichtenstein, Duchamp, Mondrian, etc. The critics of
course love it because they think the work challenges the
popular notions of originality, size, and banality. Think of
it: Warhol's soup cans, which were copied from soup cans, are
copied by Pettibone. Critics also like his fun-poking mix and
match--Dali-ized Warhol Marilyns, etc. Again, Pettibone has
always been careful to copy the stuff he can copy. For the
copyist, Pop is a piece of cake. To my knowledge, he hasn't
made a decent copy of, let's say, a John Singer Sargent
watercolour, because he can't. In this sense, the copyist
Pettibone is being forthright and honest.

The prevalence of cloners may account for why a lot of
brilliant and deft artists are guarded and devious about their
ways and means. Sargent, a private, secretive guy, was known to
labour over work in order to keep it fresh, and to finish with
a flourish to make it look easy. This "speedy" look has defied
his would-be copyists for years. "Mine is the horny hand of
toil," said Sargent. Secretly, I've always felt that Sargent's
attitude was something worth cloning.   

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "This show...is a solid one that establishes Mr.
Pettibone's role in the land rush of cloning, borrowing and
recycling known as postmodernism. In the process, he has made
art that he can call his own. Its emotional wisdom for the
artistically inclined is bracingly clear: love art, love
yourself, do what you have to do and what only you can do.
Utter honesty is the only path to originality." (Roberta Smith)

Esoterica: In your daily toil, be on the edge of pride with
your unique touch and your devious methods. Take joy in the
maneuvers that might be just a bit tricky to copy. Your "look"
is your look, you own it, and you should know that when it's
appropriated, it has been taken because it's valuable. You have
the goods to change and modify at your pleasure--and to have
sport with your cloners. "Those who follow are always behind."
(A. Y. Jackson)

Current clickback: If you would like to see selected,
illustrated responses to the last letter, "Last Child in the
Woods," please go to:
http://www.painterskeys.com/clickbacks/woods.asp

Yes, please go ahead and forward this letter to a friend.

If you would like to comment or add your own opinions,
information or observations, please do so.  Just click "reply"
on this letter or write rgenn@saraphina.com

If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this
material, please feel free to forward it.  This does not mean
that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly
Letter.  They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about
it by going to http://www.painterskeys.com

The Twice-Weekly Letters are in Russian at
http://painterskeys.narod.ru/  and in French at
http://www.painterskeys.com/fr/

In compliance with the welcome legislation on spamming, our
mailing address is: Painter's Keys, 12711 Beckett Rd., Surrey,
B.C., Canada, V4A 2W9.
Copy, right?