I take lots of classes from many fabulous teachers. I make videos. I make art. I love it all. I do it all because I love it. I consider myself an artist, just because I create as often as I can. Sometimes I love what I make, sometimes not. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that I’m happy doing it. I have no desire to make money from anything I create. If I do, it’s just a bonus. It’s not something I set out to do. I do like to PROFIT from my art. By PROFIT, I mean joy…I get joy from sharing. I get joy from inspiring (and sometimes teaching) others. I often assume everyone else feels the same way. Big mistake. Where am I going with this? Let me try to explain.
My life took an unexpected turn last May when I became ill with severe chest and back pain. The illness and subsequent misdiagnosis, ongoing pain, and frustrating roller coaster of medical investigations and treatments consumed my life. It took away my joy. I wasn’t able to participate in activities that I love – including art. It worsened my clinical depression, affected all my relationships, and prevented me from exercising and playing tennis, too. It continues to affect me profoundly, but I am trying really, really hard to take my life back, despite the fact that I am far from recovered. I’m not looking for sympathy here…there’s a reason I’m sharing this. Stay with me, if you wish…
I have not felt inspired to make art at all, but lately I’ve been forcing myself to get into my studio, even if it’s just for short periods. When I’m feeling uninspired, I often copy other artists that inspire me. I have never considered it a problem, because I ALWAYS give credit to the original artist, AND, I am not selling my art, or making a profit in any way from it. I know not everyone agrees with me, but that’s always been my opinion.
Before all this happened, I made Youtube videos, which I also consider creating, and I quite enjoy making them, and sharing them with others. I like to help other artists by promoting their classes with my videos, and with my blog. Yesterday, I made a video, a time-lapse video of me creating an art journal spread, as taught by one of my favorite artists. I gave credit, both within the video itself, and in the description. I didn’t explain any of the techniques, but I did post the products I used on my blog (I debated even doing that, but figured I would get questions and thought it would be okay). It took a huge amount of effort on my part – fighting through my ongoing physical pain. (I even missed watching Gray’s Anatomy! Don’t worry, though, I PVR’d it…) – BUT IT FELT GOOD. I was so happy to be making art, and making a video again. I was excited to post my video, and to inspire the other students by showing “my take” on the teacher’s work. Although I didn’t really want to, my artwork ended up being quite similar to the teacher’s example. I wanted to do something different, but, like I said, my creative brain isn’t working very well – so I used different colors, and some different products, but I really loved the teacher’s work, so I wanted to make one like it. It’s in my journal…I’m not going to sell it. I’m always flattered when people copy my work. (not that it happens that often, lol) – My intention? – was completely and entirely to inspire others, and to help promote a class that I am enjoying immensely. I figured any “non-paying” students who viewed my video would want to know more, and may even sign up for the class! I had no idea anyone would be offended, or that I would “get in trouble with the teacher”. But, I was politely asked to remove my video, because other paying students had complained that I was giving away something that they had paid for. The teacher also felt that I had “crossed a line” because my finished project was so similar to hers. Honestly, I was crushed. Even though I do (kind of, sort of) understand, it hurt my feelings. (Am I being too sensitive?) I will get over it, obviously, and, in future, I will ask permission before I do anything similar. It’s weird – I’ve done this exact thing in the past without a problem. In fact, the exact opposite – the teachers were appreciative of my efforts, and the other students seemed thrilled that I would share my process. I was told in the past, that I helped to promote classes, and bring new students to them. I guess this is why I figured it would be fine this time. Please don’t get me wrong…the teacher did what she had to do, and I know I do believe she felt uncomfortable asking me to remove my video. I think I’m just taking this way too personally. *sigh*
So…my video has disappeared. Yesterday’s blog post has disappeared. *poof* Yesterday’s joy didn’t happen. :(
So…what are your thoughts? I hope I don’t regret asking for opinions…be kind, please. I don’t mind hearing opinions that differ from mine…I welcome them. I just want to hear other perspectives, and see if I’m in the minority here. I think I am, because so many other artists are making a living from their art. I TOTALLY GET THAT! Please understand, that I do get that my situation is much different for that reason. Does anyone agree with me?