Do not copy paintings and call them original

We know how the education system in India works at the lower primary level. There are a couple of words I use to describe it; By-heart and Mug-up. The best mugger is usually the topper. Students who stand average in exams are usually the ones who succeed well in their job. Why am I writing about this in my blog you think? Well, I have a point. Keep reading 🙂

I remember taking math tuition soon after I completed Engineering as I was home awaiting my joining date from the company I got placed in. I took in one student to teach 10th grade Math. Not so difficult, I thought. I had experience teaching 10th grade Math to my cousins and they fared well. The very first class I started with Set Theory. The very first example was the one where you separate even numbers from a given set of numbers. Easy-peasy. When I told my student to do that, he stared at me with a blank expression on his face. I tried a simpler way, wondering if he understood English. ‘Point out the even numbers in this list’. Blank expression again.

‘What are even numbers?’ I asked him.

‘2, 4, 6, 8 and so on’ he said.

‘Good. Now, what is this number?’ I asked pointing to 14

‘Fourteen’ he said.

‘Is it odd or even?’ I asked a little irritated now.

‘Neither’ he said.

‘What? Isn’t it even?’ I asked.

‘2, 4, 6, 8 and so on are even’ he said.

‘What is so on?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know Mam’ he said.

Well, this is the result of By-Heart. The boy didn’t know simple first grade Math. How could I teach him anything? I taught him a few basics and then gave up saying ‘I signed up to teach 10th grade Math, not 1st to 10th grade. Sorry’

I was once given zero marks in a test for a theorem wherein I had used a, b, c in place of x, y, z.

We were criticized when we wrote our own answers instead of the exact words from the textbook, even though it meant the same. This habit of copying everything from our source/textbooks is so deeply rooted in us that we apply it anywhere without thinking it is wrong. I see this in the art world too.

So many artists paint other artists paintings and sell them and think there is nothing wrong with it. They don’t mean any disrespect; they just don’t know it is wrong. Yes, we all start our artistic journey by painting stuff that we find on the internet. Nothing bad with that, just don’t put a price on it and call it yours. Instead gift it, hang it on your wall. What would be great is if you put it up online and actually gave credit to the original artist by just mentioning reference.

I have done these things too, but there comes a time where you develop your imagination and paint something unique. You know it came from you. Now imagine someone else paints the same painting just by copying yours and sells it. Is it right? How will you feel? If somebody copies and paints your painting for practice you may feel good or honored but if they sell it, you’ll definitely get angry. People have even gone to the extent of displaying/ exhibiting their copied paintings in art galleries as their original work.

This is my message to artists everywhere. Don’t copy. Try to come up with something that is inside your head, your imagination, something original. And if you find that difficult, start with photographs (royalty free) as references. Once you start this process, ideas will flow naturally. Do check out work by other artists and derive inspiration from them but don’t copy. Remember, an artist is not just paid for his/her skill level but also for their imagination and ideas. Good luck.

Author: Sylvia DSilva

I'm an Artist, You wouldn't believe I have a M.Tech in IT. I'm fascinated by Art, Fantasy, Magic, Myth; Yup , I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I'm a paintbrush and a nail polish addict. I am Rebellious. I love traveling. I love architecture. I love scuba diving and sea food. I wanna backpack through Europe. I have a tattoo on my wrist with my husband's name on it and a Paintbrush in the same to represent ME. Oh yeah, I cry while watching an emotional scene in a movie, I cry after a visit to an orphanage BUT it doesn't mean I'm weak. I'm one of the strongest people I know. I'm a proud Army wife, I've lived in Jungles and had Elephants ruin my kitchen garden; I see chitals, Nilgais, Hornbills, Peacocks, and many more on a daily basis. I've had experiences No Civilian would ever have in their life. The only thing I hate is people telling me what to do and how to live my life, when I don't really need their opinion.

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