This week I have seen three unconnected discussions fall on the same topic; two were in two separate Etsy teams, and one was related to a forum I moderate. All three discussions dealt with creative fields and issues of copycatting from others in the same field. It was interesting to sit back and watch where the discussions led since almost all involved are creatives themselves.
One positive thing that came out of some of these discussions involved suggestions for how to move past those issues in a positive way that lends inner strength and a source of inspiration. Taking that route is far better than resorting to fear, stalking the work of the artist in question, or attempting to cut them down whether directly or indirectly.
One poster brought up a question that doesn't occur to many who are already feeling defensive or territorial: you have to first ask yourself whether or not the things that are upsetting you are trends, based off of published books or lessons, or are mass produced materials that are in large circulation. Is there still a legitimate issue when ego, pride, and feeling competitive are all taken out of the mix? If two artists are given a rectangular space to create an owl in—both of which will most likely have eyes, a beak, feathers, and wings—how different will the designs be? Which parts are universal versus a personal embellishment?
Having been a part of the creative community for as long as I can remember, I have observed my fair share of both sides of the story. I have seen blatant IP infringement and copying, and I have seen the reputation of innocent artists smeared by others who have been too quick to judge and too sharp with their ego and tongue.
One thing that I shared myself in these discussions is an idea that dominated the creative atmosphere in my art college. Casting a very wide net of shallow exposure to others in your field, rather than a deep but small net of exposure, is key. Otherwise, it is far too likely that, as an artist, one will either intentionally or unintentionally draw too much inspiration from another's work. In the fine art world, this concept is nearly a mantra. In an ideal world, this mantra and understanding would be adopted by all artists, crafters, and companies in the creative field.
Anyway, that's my food for thought since it was percolating in my mind this week.
I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween weekend full of fun and mischief! I will leave you with this Blessed Samhain Treasury which features my Halloween note card. In the coming weeks there will be plenty of news and sneak peeks. Stay tuned!