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About originality in art

Wed Feb 11, 2015, 4:13 AM
Many deviants around here seem to think that if they have seen a type of work before then that means it's not original. So by that reasoning, if someone comes up with the weirdest thing in the world, than that makes him original and therefore better than the one that drew something that has been done before.

I'd like you to consider this for a while. Humanity has been around for thousands of years, almost anything an artist might think of drawing, has been drawn before. If an artist draws a portrait of a girl, that is so "unoriginal" you can literally find hundreds of thousands of such drawings. 

Then should an artist stay away from drawing portraits?

Is an artist's work less valuable?

Consider this for a moment. There was an artist (if i can even call him that), that pooped in a box, and made an art show about it. He was definitely original and his work is very valued. There was another artist who put a shark in a tank and sold it for $12.000.000 dollars, (yes it's not a typo, that's 12 million american dollars) that is the most expensive "artwork" sold in the modern era. 
here's a link…
:new: many have asked about this shark in a tank and the poop in a box so let me give more details here, the shark is dead, decaying in the formalin solution tank, they replace it every 5-10 years or so. The poop in a can was actually more poops in more cans, each being sold at around 100.000 EUROS, here's a link in a list along with other "original" artwork being sold, also here's the wikipedia article… :new:

So by this "originality" reasoning, pooping in a box is more valuable than drawing a portrait.
Coming up with the weirdest shit you can think of, has more value than drawing something beautiful.

I will have to disagree.

Just because a subject matter is popular, doesn't mean it becomes less valuable. 
Just because something is more original, doesn't mean it has more value. 

An artist should draw what matters to him/her regardless of if it has been done before or not. If an artist wants to draw only fanart, then that is who he is, he is being true to his inspiration and there's nothing wrong with that. 

And that is my 2 cents on the subject.


Please note that I am not referring to any particular comment and this is just a random example. I just get these comments on a regular basis and i thought i might say a few things about it. So please don't feel targeted if you left a comment like that recently. You're not alone, everybody does it.

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MadQueenAlthea Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree 100%
aldesi Featured By Owner Edited Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
To me, the two most important things are:

1. The pleasure I get from watching it.

2. What they want to say with their art.

So if I see a portrait of a girl, and it's drawn in a way that just makes me admire the colors, or the serenity, or makes me wonder what she thinks, then it's good art to me.

Alternatively, take Osamu Tezuka. Someone might fault him for not paying close attention to exact anatomy, but the stories he told are just beyond important. He lived through war and still didn't lose faith in humanity and the importance of every single life. He had something to tell us, and that's what makes his works exceptional. *takes a sip from her black jack mug* That being said, they still have visual artistic value.
Ada-Erika Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015
Does this also go for artist's style? I..I likr this way of drawing humans that I have seen two artists do and they have little differences but pretty close and I like it and I liked sketching them that way. (Easierto draw than others I've done) but I feel like a thief if I draw something that is their style...
SupremeOtakuWhovian Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I guess if you draw it that way enough times then it becomes your own in little ways. Like how you said the two artist's style are pretty close but still have little differences, The same goes with copying someone else's work; in one way or another it eventually becomes your own.

Note: You can actually never COPY someone's artstyle...because it's theirs...only THEY can do it. People just become inspired and want to try it for themselves. (I'm rambling)
dannii-jo Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015   Traditional Artist
I think a lot of those contemporary art pieces that sell for ridiculous amounts of money reach such inflated prices because the artist has curators that really know their stuff/know how to milk the market for all it's worth. By creating a media buzz and driving up the demand, wealthy private collectors and influential people in the art world also add fuel to the fire because they basically create a market for whatever artist they like at the moment. They also drive up the prices by outbidding each other, and when all of the people interested in buying the piece have small fortunes that they can throw at whatever they want, then things get expensive, quick.
I've seen the craziest stuff sell for millions of dollars, and a lot of it could be made by an 11 year old.
It's not really a matter of originality, but knowing how to work the art market. A shark in a tank is the most unoriginal thing ever. Aquariums have been doing it for ages. xD

I definitely do think some art is less valuable than others, depending on skill level and amount of time put into the work, popularity, if the artist is still alive, etc. But that's just personal opinion~
Beserker989 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Student General Artist
As I believe,every subject being too exaggerated isn't good and the same goes to originality,I completely agree with Your statement.
WilhelmTheloniousF Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Piero Manzoni, that guy was the shit, literally.
I don't know for the shark in a tank, but to my mind, Manzoni's shit, is as original and awesome as Dada fountain, even more, because hey, he sold 30 gr of excrement for the same price as 30 gr of gold, that's genius. 
NayaWhovian1016 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said! ^^
ChibiMonga0211 Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'd agree with you on this subject, stay true to your inspiration (as long as it isn't incriminating)! Everyone has an inspiration and you can't judge them for being "unoriginal".  Everybody had a start somewhere, and found some sort of inspiration! :happybounce:
Gem-D Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I completely agree with this, very well said!
HannahLouise77 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015  Student General Artist
very agreeable, fellow human.  Well said. 
athenapallas87 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's a good point that is part of the largest debate possibly ever: what is "art"? Defining art, and then what makes something good, is a topic that has no clear conclusion. Originality is often considered a part of a piece of art being "good" but at what point is something *too* original, or does that point even exist in art? I think you make a good argument that the reversal of originality in art (like a tried and true pretty young female portrait) isn't necessarily bad art, or even an indication of that art's impact. Whether or not art that is original and very expensive is good or worthwhile is another conversation altogether.
TouchedVenus Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I couldn't agree more. :heart:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Kradath Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015
You're absolutely right.

Even if it comes to other things (cinema, writing books and so on). I mean, how many times were some movies revised and remade? There are LOTS of examples of this. Tons of movies based on books, and even books inspired by another books, or by the history itself; even based on folklore of many countries.

Art is no different. How many authors have painted the same landscapes? This people really think that artworks are bad just because their theme is the same? Then they shouldn't go to the cinema then... What if the movie is based on secondhanded ideas!
LetsgetRyanous Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I totally agree with your words, that's all i need to say :meow:
WolvezByte Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a common problem for group concerning our Join request's XP Unique-ArtStyle-Club 
PolarAzulTigris Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
How you know You've been on FB too much of the day; you can't find the like button. Anyway; I really am glad this is brought up. An argument on a site on active on usually knocks off species for 'not being original' to an extent I get it. They're tired of seeing canines with lion type tails etc or whatever it is. But honestly if that person loves Lion tailed canines; then why is it a problem? Same goes for anything really. I can relate to this in more than one way and wish people would understand that art JUST didn't come around the corner because they came to be and now are the critics of the universe.
robertjamesftw Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
“Every artist is a cannibal/every poet is a thief/all kill for inspiration/and then sing about the grief.” -Bono

The human experience is highly varied, but follows certain themes. Similarity is what we often see, in fact; as critters, we're very good at seeing patterns, and our brains are hardwired to create linkages between those patterns. It's how we learn to handle events in the future that are largely the same as this one, but not identical (which is impossible, of course). So naturally, when we see something and it sparks a memory, we think "Oh, we've seen that before." But it's never precisely the same, and even if it's the "same" artist, it's always somewhat different. After all, as the saying goes, "you can't step in the same river twice." The water's not the same -- so at least in some way, it's always a different river.
anyd1 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I agree. I believe there isn't such thing as "originality" because we all get our inspiration from other people and various things. 
One idea is NOT solely ours alone. Its been thought of and done before; or interpreted or manipulated. 
Courageous-Kyla Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist

Seriously though, this is a really well said opinion, and I'm really glad I stopped to read it. Thanks so much.
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Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
LadyCortuna Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Very well put! Thank you so much for sharing!
ctribeiro Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015   Digital Artist
This subject always offer a good discussion theme. What, in fact, is the vaue of something? If you're talking about money value this is a very simple matter, anything in the market has the value someone else is ready to pay for it, simple no?
In terms of art there's always lots of other variables. First, are you working for yourself, for others, or both? In the last two cases there's another subject to consider. Are you trying to "please" a specific group of people or a broader range?
As for myself I always have one thing in mind no matter the work I have in hands, my first goal is always to do it the best I can and take no shortcuts. Second, I thrive to improve my skills. Others can like or dislike what I do but can they say that it is technically wrong?
The rest is a matter of taste and, of course, if you surprise people they tend, at least, to pay attention...
Otaku-Mom Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes! Art is...emotion, life, soul, beauty, love, self expression, you...and subjective. It should always come from within...not your wallet or what others want. That's not to say you shouldn't draw/paint/write/create for someone else or not get paid for your hard work...only that it should be what you want.
Did you WANT to draw that portrait of that couple for their wedding and get paid for your talent and time and materials? Do you WANT to draw Edward Elric just because you love FMA? (Like me) Do you WANT to splatter paint on a canvas in a haphazard way because it made you feel better about your break up to do it and now it reminds you that you're still awesome?
Good. Great. Do it some more.
Art should never be about what's most popular or what's trending...unless that's what you want the subject to express....and it most certainly should not be poop in a box (just...ewww) or dead sharks that have to keep being replaced (poor sharks!). Dear Lord no!

Sorry if you don't get what I mean with just kinda came out all rant-y. :)
FabriceW Featured By Owner Edited Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah I agree. To me the person who draws or paint want to communicate with himself and the others his love for beauty.
....And beauty lies everywhere.

The thing that makes it original is the way this persons is affected by the surrouding and the way he or  she renders it. :)

Well this is not a final statement, just my opinion on that subject.
SpiritWulffe Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I like it :)
Lordkirn Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015
It's not even a thesis...
ThatZACHARY117 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
LittleMissDragnet714 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with this status full on!
Ao-Ryuu Featured By Owner Edited Feb 11, 2015
Someone pooped in a box and called it art...I say, it better have had something really weird about it or something strange. Otherwise, I know my cats have thought of doing that a long time ago. Maybe I should call those random droppings art lol. But as others were saying, if you think that is art, that's your opinion. Art is very subjective.

And I have to say that your journal made me feel better about myself. I have this very huge idea of a project that I thought over and over again about how unoriginal it was. But upon reading this, I feel like it isn't so bad. And do you know why? Because every piece of my hard work and effort is going into it and I have the intention of making a great impact upon people. If I stick to those principles and not get sidetracked by being original for originality's sake, then I will emerge successful! That's what I would rather have than a huge amount of money.
Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
yes, if you put passion in what you do then people will love it and eventually want to pay you to do it. I once saw a guy on a TV show really passionate about managing hotels, not i really don't give a crap about hotel management (duhh) but he made it look so awesome! His passion for it made managing hotels looks super fun and awesome and i was hooked to the TV and watched 'till the end. *u* 
So i think that it's passion that draws people to your work, not the work itself. At least that is my theory :D
GoGoSpark9lPunch Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Completely understand. Sometimes the world of artistry is so difficult to be a part of. There's always more recognition towards the genre of showmanship rather than the material being created. I'm a budding photographer and have gone to two schools to help build up my craft "professionally". I would try my hardest to capture elaborate images for homework. With the impression of having them stand out in the back of my mind. This led to carrying heavy equipment up and down mountain summits. Accidentally smashing my fingers against my tripod a few times for those "hurry take the shot!" moments. Waiting around for the right moment to happen. Sometimes being disappointed when things didn't turn out how I envisioned or having to improvise on the spot for a new idea. Yet all of this effort would get outshined by certain classmates. I kid you not when I say that sometimes my pictures were passed on while a bag of oranges laying in a dirty street; were called "revolutionary." Someones garbage in the street... Literally! And these students were very vocal, very "trendy." You know, social media club type. The thing is, they planted a visual scene by talking about their pieces. While others let their work do the expressing. I guess sometimes art, whatever it may be, can transpire through suggestion or popularity via trending genre. When really, the content isn't all that great. During this process, I did learn about the subjective nature of appreciating everyone's talents. I actually kind of learned more on my own. Who knows if I'll ever be 'Oranges in the Street' good. Whether: almost breaking my thumb over that ledge, makes me original. Are these classes going to make me a professional in the field of my work? What is a professional anyway, at this point? At the end of the day, I love my work. The self-expression. The awareness of the world/subject when you view it through your talent. Viewfinder, paintbrush, sculpting tools. Art is YOU and it's individualistic, yet part of a community of emotions and feelings. Something we all share a bit of. 
LeahPlainAndTallish Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How is putting a shark in a tank even a new and exciting concept lol?
Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
because the shark was dead, in a transparent tank so you can see him, in a transparent gell so he would stay in place. The problem was that the shark eventually rotts away so they change the shark and gell to a new one every 5 years 
here it is… and sorry for the miss information but it was sold for 12 million dollars not one
LeahPlainAndTallish Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's just so gross I don't even know what to say. Lenin shark lying in state lol.
Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
yea, it's gross and also killing innocent sharks every 5 years. Why should a shark give his life for that pathetic excuse for art? This "artwork" is so popular and expensive, it will probably live on for hundreds of years, just how many sharks will have to give their lives for it? There should be a law against this!
LeahPlainAndTallish Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes it is gross.

But so many sharks are killed every year for soup and also culling I don't think anyone really cares about one more for the art work. :/
Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
well it's one thing to kill for food, to eat, and another for entertainment, it's like the people killing animals for fur to make fur coats, it's the same principle :C
LeahPlainAndTallish Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, the animal is dying for no good reason. :(
FreezingCicada Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015
Why does it matter?
No seriously, Legit question. I dont care if I'm original or not. I just want to create something cool looking.
I usually see people want to attaching meanings or messages into their "art" as if to enhance it further cause of it.

Its kinda like how people hate on referencing. Why is that a thing?
Why is trying to think of more precise drawing methods bad? Cause its not "creative" enough?
Dumbest thing ever.

Anyways, I agree with what you posted.
Art is purely subjective, You cant force someone to look at something the same as you.
Anyone that would do that. I wouldnt bother listening to them.
yuuike Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Lol it's just like how this one time I saw this 'modern' art and I looked at it for the longest time and didn't get what it was cuz it was literally 3 squares of yellow on a black canvas and I only got it when I read the title and it was called like cabin or wuteves like ??? :iconimsotiredplz: Why is this in a museum???

In all honestly modern art are like 99% wtf  lololol But then again now days everything is considered cliche and overdone but it's like there's only so many things humans can do okay jeez
Yuuza Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
yea, modern art is the best example of artist chasing this notion of being 'original' and coming up with nonsensical weird shit instead. And the critics who say it has value and put it in a museum for everyone to see, it's like the story 'the emperor's new clothes' 
yuuike Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Student Digital Artist

Like i mean it's always been hard for artists, like, the pure artist ones with the studios and traditional paints and etc. not like the new ones (graphics designer, animators, etc)

But now days the only way to stand out seems to be do some whacked up things no one else has before... and seriously after like over 2000 years of art there's no much left that people can do so here we are with all these new "creative" "art":iconimsotiredplz:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
True, now everything is a derivation of something :nod:
GoGoSpark9lPunch Featured By Owner Edited Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I went to the modern art section of a popular museum here where I live. There was a really large white canvas, empty for all but a few dabs of silver glitter. You could hardly see it shimmering under the bright light on it too. =D There was also a regular, pale white patio chair with a pink strobe light bolted on the bottom of it. In case you ever wanted to sit and tan your bum I suppose, haha!
yubbi45 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
there was a piece at an art museum somewhere that the cleaning lady put in a trash bin because she thought someone just left their garbage there :XD:
Gravuun-Lok Featured By Owner Edited Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If you've thought of something, hundreds of people have already thought of it long before you. Long before you were even thought of being brought into this world.
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