Monday, May 16, 2011

Knock Off Art

Burning Question:  Is it ok to copy someone's art for use in your own home?  The ethical implications of copying art for resale are pretty obvious, but what if you simply plan to put it in your home?  Does it make a difference if the art you are copying is available for purchase?  Where does one draw the line?  Or has the line already been drawn and I'm just unaware?  If you were an artist (established or budding) and saw a copy of your work, how would you feel?

Here are some examples...

Amanda Talley Original

DIY Version by Plain & Fancy

DIY Version by A Dose of Pretty

Franz Kline Originals

DIY Version

Shaun Sundholm Original

DIY Version by me using Picasa and a picture from our honeymoon.
No, I haven't printed it yet since the jury's still out.

So what are your opinions on knock off art?  I'm really looking forward to your feedback.

Tomorrow= more DIY art ideas + giveaway announcements!


  1. I really don't know all the legalities involved but from the little bit of photography 'rules' that I've learned it seems things have to be 20% different from the original to not be infringing on copyright. I don't know how you gauge 20% tho! To me, that picture you're making is not infringing considering it's your own picture. I claim no legal responsibility by posting this comment! ;)

  2. I agree with Kara, it's one thing to copy the picture & put it on your wall but your using a photo that is totally different & taken by you! (: I'm glad you posted this blog because I have seen some neat pictures at Christian book stores that I wanted to try to remake using my own photography skills but didn't know if it was right or not! (:

  3. I think it's fine to use other's work as inspiration but why not go a little further than copying and make it your own. There is a popular image of a black flower silhouette painting that I think would be a great inspiration for a DIY painting, maybe using a different type of flower and a color instead of black.

  4. All great ideas were meant to be copied! Seriously, if you have a problem with someone useing your idea as inspiration, don't put it out where anyone can see it. The way I see it with my sewing - if you don't want to pay the price I'm asking, do it yourself. I have plenty of customers willing to pay the price!

  5. Hi Katie, so glad I found your blog :)
    I need to weigh in on this one! I've DIYed paintings for use in my own home and since I'm not claiming the subject matter as my own idea, nor plan to sell them, I don't see a problem with it.

  6. Hi Katie, I see that you have posted a painting that made I for my own home. I in no way think that I am a great artist. I was inspired by Ms. Talley's work but in no way do I think mine is half as good as her original. If I had the expendable income I would buy a Talley for sure. I highly respect the artist and feel that I am showing my admiration for her talent by attempting to use her work as an inspiration for my own. I think there are lots of people who can't afford a masterpiece and if you can incorporate just a little bit of that look into your own home for a little bit of money, go for it.

    Amy R.

    1. Amy R-give me a call and let's talk about how we can get you an original Amanda Talley. I appreciate your interest in my work. And Katie, thank you for bringing this subject up. It does start to become an issue if the topic is never raised. It should be something that people consider and personally, I hate to see copies of my work because it's not as good as the original and would hate for anyone to think it is actually mine. I'm very particular and specific about line-making and color which is not something you can copy by hand. Overall, as long as it's not being sold, I just have to let it go.

  7. Amanda, thanks for taking the time to comment here. You bring up such an important point about the possibility of people thinking a knocked-off version is the real deal. And this uniformed understanding could very possibly devalue their impression of the original work and their appreciation for you as the artist.


What'cha thinkin?