Who and What I am into the Week: Mini Controversies

Well, if I were honest about what I am into this week…I spent an inordinate amount of time reading “threads” of controversial topics online. Martha Stewart and her “off sounding” sound bytes involving bloggers. Lisa Condon’s art being copied and then the photographers work she used to create her art being copied. Really? Who has time for all this??? Apparently, I do. Which in truth, I do not but I got sucked into some really long threads of sometimes thoughtful and sometimes uneducated interactions.

Responses and then peoples responses to responses. I KNOW better than to get sucked in. I have left  (supposedly professional) Linkedin groups for this very reason. It takes emotional energy. I remember getting caught in a thread once-OMG! Whatever you do DO NOT COMMENT or your day is shot-and then looking at the time and thinking does (insert industry leader’s name here) do this? Do they spend their time and precious energy responding to a response to get the responders up-to-date on the “real” controversy?

It’s not like I want to be an apathetic voter or anything. I do think that the vein in both cases had to do with copying. If you happened to listen closely, Martha doesn’t like having people copy recipes. Lisa doesn’t like being copied verbatim and people have some serious opinions about photos being copied. Not sure I heard photographers weigh in on that issue. I am sure they do though… way way down on the thread that I didn’t get to because I just had to STOP and give myself a SHAKE.

I went to the John Singer Sargent exhibit in Boston this week. I wonder if, back in his day, they talked and gossiped over dinner about copying? Was originality hoarded and guarded in fear of being copied? You know, they didn’t have secret Pinterest boards back then!


I  have been on a bit of a mission as of late to foster originality and uniqueness in the creative community. It needs to be done. Instead of wasting creative time and energy staring at mini train wrecks in our mini worlds, we should probably concentrate on our own originality. I know that comes in many different forms (no judging.) I also know that the word originality carries some Picasso type of weight to it but HEY, there is only ONE you! That means you are completely original. It also makes you an expert on you. There is nothing like seeing people realize how original they truly are. The style course has been crazy good because people are seeing themselves in a beautiful new light. Beautiful, that’s you too. Demand originality from yourself. Draw out what has made you into YOU. If that means you take time out of your life to find yourself, that’s okay. We’ll be right here when you get back.  And we will be so happy to see you and your unique, original ole self!



  • Melissa AuClair

    I usually avoid drama like the plague too (isn’t there enough in real life?!) but I got into it. And I felt the same way- I don’t have time for this!!!! BUT, I thought there were some underlining things these controversies brought out that are good to hash out and discuss. I’m convinced most drama isn’t worth my time or attention. But I was drawn to the response that came as a result of these events (and I also ended up blogging about it too). Ultimately, I think it was good because I had to take a deep look at what I was doing, make sure I’m being clear about the value I offer, see where I’m lacking and keep striving to grow. You summed all this up very nicely Monica 🙂 Keep on pounding on your podium. All of us timid creatives need to hear it!

  • AndyMathis

    all the photographers need to do now is steal from Cody Foster and the circle will be complete.

  • Amber

    I found myself way way down the same rabbit hole Monica. And I generally don’t spend time doing that sort of thing either. It’s a total energetic and emotional drain. But what I find so compelling about the Lisa case in particular is the one-sided stance on originality that has so many artists around the world rallied in support. As a working artist, I wish the conversation would crack wide open (beyond one man’s site) with regards to appropriation, derivation, etc. among more of us. Artist to artist. I think it’s a conversation worth having, regardless of lawsuits and pointed fingers. I want to see artists really thinking and not just reacting. Of course, I myself (and maybe there are some others out there like me) am too afraid as a “peer” to initiate the conversation. I also feel that someone who has rallied so much support should be willing to join the discussion and answer thoughtfully posed questions. Yes, ignore the accusatory ones, but not the genuine “hey, let’s really talk about this” ones. I knew I could count on you Monica, as a Smart Creative Woman, to bring the conversation back to focusing on cultivating our own originality and growing ourselves as the leads of our own story. Thank you for that. We won’t get our time back, but we may have emerged from the rabbit hole more resolved to bring our most original selves to our work.

  • Lisa Blade

    Sergeant soothes the hopped up creative- always! LOVE HIS WATERCOLOR!

    There has always been copying in art, as a tool as a compliment and as straight up I want what they have. Some get caught, some go on and on.

    In the great art schools they spent years copying the masters (mostly the dead ones but many go on to travel and study with living masters/mentors).

    “Weir met Sargent in 1874 and noted that Sargent was “one of the most talented
    fellows I have ever come across; his drawings are like the old masters, and his
    color is equally fine.” ”

    In our minds now, it was all so seemingly pure but even Sergeant shows evidence of influence well into his career- he loved Velazquez (sp) and people would comment on the

    “”The Spanish master’s spell is apparent in Sargent’s The Daughters of
    Edward Darley Boit, 1882, a haunting interior that echoes Velázquez’s Las Meninas””

    Grand art seen in museums has been created from- gasp- photography, from waaaaay back. it wasn’t all live painting and models, but, as early day “retailers” they hid or downplayed that aspect, (smart cookies), always make the rice crispy bars seem like hard work. Recent discoveries of these photos has both photographers and artists sitting up and being ok.

    Not saying it is ever ok to be a pirate, to steal or malign but there is so much visual out there- we are HUGE consumers. It can happen without malice- EDUCATION on what is right and wrong is critical, thank you for your part in that Monica!