Snow Days

Snow days are good reflection days, but I’ve got to admit that I am already sick of the snow (yep, I said it). Even if I don’t have to drive in it, I worry about things like the electricity going out, elder parents, & the snowblower running out of gas. It looks like a shaken snow globe out there! Here’s a page of competitive snow sculptures. Now to the reflection piece, a good discussion going on at 2.0 about originality. Of course, artists and writers have re-imagined, re-purposed, re-contextualized forever, but with the easy availability of sources online, where do you draw the line? Well, there’s the Shepard Fairey case, where he recently admitted concealing a key error in a lawsuit over his use of an AP photo in his well-known Barack Obama “HOPE” poster. Students could be considered apprentices or novices in the copyright game, but end-use of the art needs to be considered as well as proper citations made. For instance, in my wallpaper designer days, a commission might have been a redesign of a best-selling product, but it was definitely a redesign, layout-sketched, final art-drawn and painted by me, and hence, original art. Otherwise, both the client and myself might have copyright issues. This is a good topic to cover with students preparing portfolios or for art shows, originality counts! That being said, practicing from existing images, is practice and not meant to enter commercial venues for compensation or recognition. Alright, time for some irony—here’s a site that offers SmartHistory (note that art history texts have, as one of my students recently put it, “naked tushies”): “We are interested in delivering the narratives of art history using the read-write web’s interactivity and capacity for authoring and remixing. Publishers are adding multimedia to their textbooks, but unfortunately they are doing so in proprietary, password-protected adjunct websites. These are weak because they maintain an old model of closed and protected content, eliminating Web 2.0 possibilities for the open collaboration and open communities that our students now use and expect.” (cited from “A Short History of Smarthistory”,


~ by lgirbino on December 13, 2010.

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