To clone or not to clone. It’s the argument that comes up regularly between my east coast friend and me: He says to find a popular original and make a lot of them to make money. He says I should pay attention to the history of famous artists who delegated much of their work to apprentices while the esteemed one went on to new work. I reply that he should pay attention to all the famous artists working privately, without outside labor or apprentices, making rare and valued art. I would love to read a survey of how many well-known working artists in the world let others do part of the work on their creations.
I say that is not what my art is about. My art is about originality. My website is called ooothere.com, meaning specifically, Only One Out There. This means that each thing I launch is from myself, through my brush or chisel, to the medium, and that will be the only one made. Yes, I start with mass produced raw materials. Then I make it intimately personal and unique. Each one. Individually. By myself.
I really have a “thing” about originality. I don’t even like my own work to look like others I have done. I don’t like the pose to be the same as other poses. I don’t like to do the same view of the same scene. I dislike multiples in details, actually. Someone once proudly showed me a painting where the artist had discovered the technique of patting a deformed brush repeatedly over the trees to make cloned tree tops. Fractalizing, in a sense! I love fractal digital art—and have spent a lot of hours playing with such things. I use that and other mechanical means to develop ideas and visions for original art work. I photograph my work during its evolution and use photo editing techniques to “try out” different approaches when I hit a roadblock. Or when I want new impetus to my ideas.
But to manufacture art to get a lot of product out onto the market? No. This is not “me.”
Am I just stubborn? Or maybe a bit stubborn about being selfish? Seems to me that I have artistic license in a lot of ways that I really value, and I don’t want to interfere with that “right.”
Others may print skeleton paintings and have other workers add strokes to them. But when my art hangs on someone’s wall with my signature on it, I have painted every stroke on that individual canvas with the earnestness that prompted my studio mantra: “no one else can make your marks.”
It’s a fingerprint. Don’t mess with my fingerprint.
Note: I do use digitally