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[teacherartexchange] ideas, copying, fear


From: Jean Womack (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 11 2006 - 20:41:25 PST

I concur with your "5 changes" idea. 5 major changes. I observed a veteran
San Francisco art teacher tell his class to make changes to an intricate
cartoon of a warrior so that it could not be recognized from the original.
I guess they are concerned that the artists that they feed into the Silicon
Valley computer industry be aware that they are not allowed to copy other's
work and call it their own.

My San Francisco state teacher urged me to make some changes in my art work
but I do not remember now what the original was, if it was a newspaper photo
or what it was. It seems it always comes back to bite me, even if just
making a woodcut self-portrait from a photo the school took for my ID card.
It was 75 percent finished before I realized what I had done. I hurled some
Campbell's tomato soup cans at that woodcut, which improved it enormously.

I was told that sitting in museums, copying the masters was an acceptable
way to learn how to paint. I guess the person who told me that was wrong
about that.

I have just been watching the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco, on
TV. They use a dragon every year and they all look pretty much the same,
with variations on the theme. That's one of those cultural icons that gets
re-interpreted, not copied. That's an amazingly beautiful parade. I think
that a lot of kids get to work on those floats, putting paper mache on them,
or however they make them. I like the very tall wise men, with large masks,
probably made from paper mache. I'd like to make one of those costumes one
of these days. I think they are held up on sticks and the arms are just

Jean Womack

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