While I was at SURTEX, I got to talking to some fellow artists about inspiration.  What inspires us in our life and in our art.  Some tip-toe through the tulip fields and others love the flowers in their own back yard.  Some the ocean, some the mountains, some their children.  Sometimes ideas simply “come” – you have a theme you need to work on so you come up with a color scheme and some ideas and begin to create.

Going to trade shows and looking at manufacturer catalogs can be a great source of inspiration as well.  I am in awe of the creativity and talent in our industry.  However, it is important to remember to be an original and not be tempted to do something really close to another artists work just because it is successful.  It is successful for them – it will become a legal nightmare for you and you might find yourself falling victim to a good industry shunning.

The art licensing industry may seem vast when you are just getting into it but when you’ve been around a while, you will discover that it isn’t as big as you think.

And the artists come to know and like each other.  Not only do they network but they also watch each other’s back. The internet and social media makes it that much easier to get the word out when anyone sees infringement beginning…

Some will say I’m being a bit dramatic.  Obviously no one has the market on daisies, for example.  But if one artist paints a vase of daisies with 4 daisies and greenery organized a certain way – that becomes their images composition.  The chances of another artist getting the same number of daisies and arranging them with the same type of greenery, in the same way – but in a different shaped vase – are pretty much beyond the scope of probable.  That artist more likely studied the first artist’s work, decided it was selling so they would do “their own version”.  Well, that would be called copyright infringement.

Sue Zipkin was kind enough to provide a great example. Here is an example of her coffee pattern and one of my coffee patterns.

Here is a “new” piece of art that some might think was inspired by the above and is now new, but we respectfully disagree.  This would be violating both of our copyrights.  See how that works?

Unfortunately, copyright issues seem to happen time and again. Overall, this industry is awesome and full of amazingly original and talented artists.  Every so often, someone decides the best way to break into the industry is to knock-off the successful artists in it.  Not cool.  Not cool and we will spread the word, so my advice?  If you even think about this way of starting your business, stop at the thought and go be your amazingly creative self.

This is one of the reasons I decided to join GOOD – The Guild of Original Designers. I hope that there is strength in numbers and that artists begin to educate and put others on alert that they know about copyright law and are prepared to speak up.  Learn more about it at www.GOODesigners.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GOODesigners

Go get inspired! Inspiration is all around us and readily available between your ears… just be careful of being overly inspired by your peers, okay?

Thank you for indulging me in my little rant – here’s to your creatively ORIGINAL success!

– Tara Reed