Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Story of "Art Currency" - III

Many thanks to those of you that left such kind and supportive comments on my last post which included the 2nd picture of myself in one week! Though "beast" is in the name of this blog, I try to keep the beast in me in check here, because I know it's pretty my head!! ;) Of course, I also know how "beastly" it is to be an artist and stay true to that. Especially if one encounters a potentially sticky situation such as "copyright infringement", which leads me to the next chapter of "Currency of Strength" and how it nearly came to a screeching halt!

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As I mentioned in my previous chapter of "Art Currency", I had been working on assembling my currency bills when it began to dawn on me that I might be working with images that were "subject to copyright".

I usually work with original photos of people that I purchase from flea markets, the occasional estate sale or paper ephemera shows, that are not subject to copyright in any way, so I was unfamiliar with the area I was potentially moving into. I mentioned my concerns to my dear boyfriend, who looked up a few sites for me to read through, because I was now debating whether to submit my work at all, let alone sell it...

The primary site I read through is Funny Strange, a site that has extensive information regarding copyright for collage artists. It was the most informative site, but it was not the most reassuring...

Luckily, I found another site with information that helped me to decide whether or not to submit my artwork to the gallery. It was Ask Harriete, and this post made me feel much better about submitting my artwork. There was also this post that introduced me to Fair Use laws but then the bizarre magnitude of this issue began to open up when I found this story of "Molotov Man/Joywar" at wikipedia and this hilarious video about Fair your head spinning yet?!??

One of the things I found most interesting among this research is the idea (found at the bottom of the "Fair Use" page at Funny Strange) that collage artists are now being hit harder due to the work of rap artists that 'sample' the work of other musicians, which is a form of collage, only using music. I happen to like a lot of sampled music, such as the Verve Remix* series, but recently I had been listening to someone that would now become my personal 'Fair Use Hero': Pogo**! Then, on the day that I would submit my artwork, I heard about World Fair Use Day, which took place in January this year, but I eagerly await the next Fair Use Day when I will celebrate by playing Verve Remix and Pogo all day long! ;)

After all the research, I did make a few changes to many of the designs of the 'bills', in accordance with the concepts of using portions of the original images. I also made the decision to not sell the work, though a few friends supported me to do so, but truly, this concept had been tucked away for so long and the end result of the currency turned out so beautifully, that I wanted to keep this work, though I do have same plans to expand on this concept...

"Currency Of Strength" in progress...some of these designs were re-worked after reading about Fair Use...

Now, there was only thing left: to actually submit the artwork! And this created a few problems as well...due to the request to send the images at 300 dpi (dots per inch), this made the scanned image files REALLY BIG!! And my dear boyfriend was helping me to submit it all at the eleventh hour - literally! I had finished on the due date but because the image files were so big they eventually had to be submitted one at a time, just before midnight!! I sent a message to the curator about what happened, continued to submit each file, though many would arrive after midnight, but I hoped that the message explaining what was happening should have gotten through before the midnight hour. I then submitted my entry fee and we finally went to bed near 1:00am...

I checked my e-mail the next morning to be sure nothing came bouncing back - it didn't! All there was to do now was to attend the Artful Journey Retreat and await the news to find out if my work got into the show and as we all know, it did...

The artist with her work...and Nina's necklace! Photo by Doug =-)
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WHEW! This has certainly been a long post and yet there are still a few final details to share, such as the Artist Statement I originally submitted, but had to pare down to 100 words or less, and of course the evening of the reception itself. 

The issue of Copyright Infringement is a big one and I certainly didn't want to run afoul of the law. Also, I'm happy to share what I learned in the process of creating this work (which is a LOT!), especially since collage artists can be affected. I hope you find the links I provided to be helpful, if you think you may be treading into copyright infringement territory. I believe "Ask Harriete" was the most helpful site and she has a lot of great info for professional artists in her sidebar, not to mention her blog on the whole. Go check her out!

Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll stay tuned for the "Artist Statement" - the message is an important one for women and you won't want to miss it!

* - I say, if the jazz remixes get folks interested in listening to the original recordings GREAT!! More people should be listening to Jazz, if you ask me! ;)

**- I unfortunately got Pogo confused with DJ Pogo, in an earlier post, who I'm sure makes great dance music, but it's the work of POGO that I have really been digging these past two months =-)


I Saw You Dancing said...

WOW! What an incredible journey.
I am so proud of your for persevering, as your currency project is SO worthwhile and needs to be out there for people to see.
Although it was an important process to go through, I think you made the right decision not to sell this art. [It will certainly make the decision easier when the next opportunity comes along!] But it makes your goodwill and honest efforts to do the right thing so much easier to prove, if it comes to that.
Absolutely fascinating about the relationship between rap sampling and collage! It never occurred to me before. Somehow I think it's not the last we have heard of this.
Can't wait for the next instalment.
Kat xx
PS You do look so cute in hats!

Juliette Crane said...

hello! i just love the idea behind your currency project. just beautiful:) i am happy to have found your blog. thank you for being so inspiring. xoxo, juliette

Harriete Estel Berman said...


Thank you for posting a link to Ask Harriete. For more information about design rights and rules, check out the April issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. An article titled "Intellectual Property" by Sharon Elaine Thompson explores this subject and features some of my work and my Ask Harriete blog.


humel said...

It looks beautiful - and so do you :-) And thanks for sharing the results of all your research x

Beth Nicholls said...

After that journey you must be extra specially proud of your exhibition! Love the pic, so cute. By the way, Joan Schulze who I mentioned in a post about quilts a while back cuts up dollar bills and stitches them into her art work...

Enjoy exhibiting!

Anonymous said...

I have learned so much from you, Monica. You inspire as well as teach. Plus, you're tenacious like a good Scorpio!! By making your Currency available, and the process of getting it out there, you have enabled other women to follow in your grand foot steps to continue our march as WOMEN. Rock on, sistah!

Thanks for leaving a comment on my give-a-way. I'll have more :)