Friday, November 21, 2014

To Photo or Not to Photo - Off the Wall Friday

This week my email box has been flooded with  the QuiltArt List's discussion  on the use of photos as a starting point in original art.  Is is copying or is it inspiration?  What makes original art  - original?  What should be accepted into art shows on the national level?  And of course, everyone has an opinion.  Including me.

I, as you know, use photos as inspiration in most of my work.  Is it ever a copy of the photo?  My opinion is no. I thought I would offer the design process of my latest project as the proof of my opinion.

With the Sacred Threads deadline dooming looming -  I started off with photos collected in my pinterest files for inspiration.( They were taken from the Creative Commons with a share/adapt designation).  I loved these images

Cool huh?!  I thought so! Anyways - not being able to sketch - I traced the images into a composition that I liked (this composition was always in my creative mind - I choose the images to suit the composition)
But - I didn't want to work representational or figurative.  I've been trying to flex my abstract muscles plus play with curves.  So being inspired by Sonia Delauney, I came up with this background.  I tried not to overthink it too much!
Then I added the two together. . . blobbing out abstracting the figures so that they should only be the impression of what they really are.
Of course from here comes value sketches and palette choices - But I thought I would think on this sketch for a bit to make sure I really like it.  Let me tell you - even if I do keep this sketch - it will be abstracted even more so that the viewer should only get a hint of what the figures were originally.  Or at least that's the plan.

So needless to say - I'm quite sure that nobody is going to say upon viewing the final piece - OMG - those are cemetery statues aren't they??

No they should say - OMG - Nina- how did you do that?

And that's all I'm going to say on the matter of  using photos for inspiration.

So what have you been up to creatively?


Jenny K. Lyon said...

I love that background and how you abstracted it into the last image. Haven't tried abstraction yet but I like seeing your process.

Maggi said...

I like the way that you are abstracting this. Look forward to where it takes you.

Norma Schlager said...

You have given us a perfect example of abstraction from a photo.

quiltedfabricart said...

Perfect explanation of the photo to quilt debate. Everything I do comes from a photo and transforming it into fabric makes it different and so much more interesting. It irritates me when I hear people say, well why don't you just take picture and hang that on the wall? Seriously? It's like night and day - where is the challenge / fun in that?
Making a photo into an abstract is something I would like to do although above my current ability right now. Seeing your process makes me think maybe I can do it though. Thank you for sharing this :-)

Gwyned Trefethen said...

I also use photos for reference. It is how I understand the angles needed for a building, the proportions for a body, where shadows should naturally fall, etc. Thanks for clearly demonstrating how wide the gap is between reference/idea and out and out copying.

Nina Marie said...

What irritates me about the whole thing is how much photography is being seen in mixed media shows. My daughter by the age of 12 could take an amazing composed photograph - now at 17 she can edit it like a pro using photoshop - how hard can it be??? But you see photo after photo after photo in shows. Then we get slammed because we used photos for inspiration? really?! (sorry- I get a little crabby myself - LOL)

Lisa Chin said...

Love your design!