I'm bored and ain't nothin' goin on around here lately it seems. Where'd everybody go?
So let's try a discussion. I feel like this is probably the most fitting forum for this, and I'm also hoping that it'll get people who don't draw talking as well. So if you stumbled upon this and are reading, pitch in, will ya?
So, that artistic license. Let's start off by asking this. How do you feel about derivitive works? That is to say, do you only like the one true original interpretation of a thing, or do you find some enjoyment out of other artistic interpretations? Further, do you prefer the original, or does something draw you to the derivitives? Do you like it when people put their own spin or style on works? Can you appreciate artistic license? And finally, do you believe that a derivitive can exceed the quality of the original?
Let's get one thing straight. I don't mean the adjective "derivative", so try to keep the negative connotations out of your head. I mean the noun, as seen here under "something derived". Feel free to trace that all the way back to derive. It checks out.
Warm Up: If I apply this to fine art, this is what you'd get:
Original, I hope (da Vinchi):
Derivative (Dali (lol))
Derivative (Fernando Botero)
Then there's this thing...
That might be a poor example in the sense that most people will still pick the original, if not the final. But notice how they're all interpretations of the original, and well known at that. Can you appreciate the others as well as the original, or do you only like the one and only?
The Real Thing: Now, apply that to anything you like. I'm not going to post examples, you've seen it all before. You see it in this sub forum. If there's something out there that you love, what do you tend to prefer? How would you prefer it were done?
Here's the last thing I want to ask, especially towards artists. Given the choice and your own personal preference, would you rather create things as close to the original as possible to achieve a sense of authenticity, or would you create things in your own way and let your inner creativity speak for itself, and why for either (especially the why, the choice itself is largely unimportant without the reasons).
I'll chime in later. There's already too much text here. Go.
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Well it kinda depends. There's a difference between just being inexperienced and having your own personal twist on it, in that the latter you CHOSE to make the art like that.
Some subjects I try to draw perfectly, like my birds. But in other situations I like to draw my own style, my own way. So it kinda depends on what I wanna do really. What kind of message am I trying to portray? It's unhealthy to just draw perfectly all the time since it doesn't have your own spirit in it, and I always try to put a little of myself in everything I do, even the realistic pieces.
I see making derivative works as a little different, kinda like a form of parody.
Grey areas, these will be extremely dense in a discussion like this. However, I'll attempt to be as objective and pointed as possible. When it comes to derivatives of works; I often feel that it depends on the licence the artist allows. When you post something to DeviantART or the likes, you must disclose what the publication permissions of your work. I personally have no qualms with artists improving other artists' work with permission.
Now, do I think that improves the work? That's an interesting one. It has to do what you believe art is, what it represents, and the mood of the piece. Certainly I believe that someone can take an artwork and improve the technical execution. The same can be said for the mood the work is trying to portray, in fact, the latter two aspects of a piece can go hand in hand. I certainly think an artist can change another's work, but whether it's improved? Who's to say. Sometimes lack of technical execution is not purposeful, look at Picasso, his technique is fantastic, but does he care about proportions? Are they evident in his portraits? No. Look at Dali, his works are often too abstract to follow certain technique's "rules". You can change an artist's work, and I believe that this is what derivation should be about. I'm not sure how much I agree with anyone "improving" other's original works. Original is the way it was meant to be after all.
Following on from that, you have stock photography, which exist for the soul purpose of being changed. This is where many artists take a piece of work (stock photography actually takes skill, it's not always point and shoot) and turning it into a different realm of art. That's an example of where derivation thrives, in every day works.
Do I think that people should edit my originals? Nah. I believe in referencing, I believe in remaking something in a different style, but I'd never be really keen on someone taking one of my works and "improving" it. If I created a painting (we'll say digital), and someone wanted to edit it, I'd ask them to try recreate it with their own vision. I could save their time, sure, by giving them the layered drawing, but what's the point in that unless it's intended collaboration?
In non-seriousness, and permission from artists, I have no problem with derivation. As a serious piece of work, whereby the piece a person wishes to edit is not explicitly shelved as a "stock" or "open source", I don't see it as something original. I tend to find these derivations as humorous, or interesting if I see them. I'd very rarely look at them with the same fondness I look at an original however.
I simply feel, and always will feel, that art is best seen in its inspired, impromptu, intended state. This way, you see the inner workings of the mind more than you would through a derivation.
I wasn't going to post my thoughts on this subject because I'm a) not an artist, and b) a musician, but reading the posts made so far have really changed my mind.
Abnegation, I can't help but agree with you on each of your points, especially your closing statement. The base form of a piece is almost always the one that contains the essence of it's intended expression. Because of that, derivatives of the piece may add content and a new lens to view it through, but the original artist's intentions are always the ones to shine through if the piece is left in a recognizable state and the viewer has knowledge of the original.
Another important topic you've all covered in different amounts is permission. We all know that some pieces just shouldn't be modified and some beg for it, but the artist's intent should be respected no matter how easy, fulfilling, or hilarious it would be to change the work and put a personal spin on it. Take, for instance, a piece painted in memorial of a loved one. Even improving it's readability or execution would just be offensive, even given the permission by the original artist. Some pieces, like the stock-art mentioned, absolutely demand to be used by others as a template or tool. It would seem that the real determinate factor when questioning the ethics of making a derivative are about as grey as anything else.
The only actual content I feel I can add to this thread has nothing to do with traditional art, but comes from my knowledge of both music and yoyoing.
First, music. I'm a jazz musician at heart and I've cut my teeth playing the same things everyone else has. These pieces (Straight, No Chaser, Mr. PC, ect...) have been worked to death by anyone who's picked up a horn. Of course they were created to be noodled and doodled into oblivion, but not all jazz follows that progression. Artists like Don Ellis were emphatic in the way they put their work out there to be used by the masses, but others were fiercely protective of their creations. My first thought would be to abhor those who want their work to remain sacred, but after creating some music of my own I've found that I'm not always comfortable with the idea of someone profiting from my work, whether monetarily or otherwise. Of course I've never composed anything that could be sold or enjoyed beyond my own group, but I can certainly understand both sides of this discussion from a musical angle.
In the yoyoing world, everything is different. Every single trick is based on the same elements. Each of those elements has a creator and they should get credit for their innovation, but almost all their names have been lost to history. Literally everything anyone does with a yoyo is built on the recent innovation of others, so giving credit where it's due is impossible. There are some tricks (like Yuuki Slack) that contain the name of their inventor, but most are unnamed and seldom understood by anyone who doesn't know how to perform them. In the end, every yoyo trick or movement is a derivative of the one before it and the entire community has accepted those conditions in order to move forward. I find it very interesting that the art community could never accept something like that and the musical community just wouldn't accept those conditions out of pride.
To bring things closer to the true heart of this topic, I'll say that I can certainly derive pleasure from derivative pieces, but I'd rather see the original and have time to appreciate it first. Without a true appreciation for the base work, any additions serve only to mar the piece in my eyes.
Grey area aside, derivative pieces are just great all-in-all, but must be done respectfully and with purpose. What I've seen of PC's art community so far follows that model perfectly and I haven't found anything I can't appreciate. Without the inherent respect of a community, though, derivative work can easily cross lines without either artist's intent.