Monday, August 3, 2009

Is it cheating to use photographs?

Queen of the Wasps oil on canvas 40"x 30" 2007

Many artists these days paint from photographs or trace projected images onto their substrate - techniques which are frequently dismissed as "cheating." As an artist who garners source material from the Internet and personal photographs, I have often been asked my opinion in this matter. Here it is:

I have seen portraits/still lifes/landscapes etc painted from live subject matter that are derivative and staid, and I've seen paintings that were obviously traced from projections that are vital and imaginative. And vice versa. Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me what technique the artist uses, as long as the final painting is successful.

Furthermore, devices like Photoshop, projectors, photographs, and The Internet are reflections of the times we are living in. To expect that these methods not enter contemporary artwork is completely regressive.

To read an in depth critique on this subject visit this ARTnews link


MB said...

There are so many valid ways one can use photographs as source materials in art. I think the artist's integrity is what counts the most.

Fine Life Folk said...

i agree with the regressive opinion. methods that involve today's technology eventually get subjected under the critical microscope anyway. poseurs or those with weak artistic viewpoints of expression eventually get frowned upon and those with opposite values get lauded for the same passion that ushered old artists of the yore. and let's not forget that those criticized still get their redemption decades after. Case in point: Van Gogh.

Jerry Nelson said...

Great post! As a traveling photographer I wholeheartedly support you!

Jerry Nelson