Thursday, March 3, 2011

Be Inspired Blog Hop - Aaron Christensen's visit to the Land of Seuss

Some of my artist friends and I have noticed an increasing amount of how-to's and knock off blogs that stray into the realm of copyright infringement, which is simply the stealing of others art. As an artist with art and artworks featured worldwide, this has me concerned and disappointed. So, to help the blogosphere out, and add a dose of originality, several of us (see permalinks below) are posting about how you can be inspired by another without stealing from them. Before you glean someone's art from google images, color copy it from a catalog, scan it with your scanner or take snippets of it to use in your art, please consider being an original. It's a great way to go and it will keep you out of hot water.

That being said, I'd like to introduce you to my art inspiration, he's Dr. Seuss. His 107th birthday was yesterday. I am a collector of vintage Dr. Seuss memorabilia and grew up with his books. To illustrate our point about being being inspired yet original, I'm sharing with you my faux taxidermy project. I've created this quip to get you into a Seuss frame of mind.

I made it my own with Seuss in my thoughts. A tribute to him, no stealing, no cops. Now look what I did, enjoy it you may. Now look what I did, be inspired this way. As you sit on your bumple, scratching your head, "what is it to be original, what is it I said?" It's a place in your heart, a place in mind, a place that all artists must honestly find. - A.C.

These are copyrighted characters and sculptures created by Dr. Seuss- Theodore Geisel. Property of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, all rights reserved. This image is being used to explain an editorial point and I claim no ownership of this photograph or it's contents.

Here in my studio we are lucky enough to have the materials and the know how to create magical things out of thin air. If I chose to, I could copy one of Dr. Seuss's character mounts, or to be really bad I could post a blog how-to and teach you all how to do it. But I'd never do that because it is morally wrong and frankly illegal. So to illustrate how he has inspired me as an artist, I'm in the process of creating my own wild character wall mount with Seuss-like silly characteristics, but it's 100% my own idea. She's something I dreamt up, created in sketch form and then sculpted into three dimensions.

She's a Bird Nesting Head Doe, a rare jungle treat.
She carries bird eggs till their up, up on their feet.

In her second stage of sanding, she's taking shape.
I'll need to finish her features, prime and paint her.

As she progresses, I'll post some new pictures here. I'd love to hear suggestions as to what her name should be. I have her new home picked out, it's just above my drawing table.
dr. seuss, dr. seuss inspired, taxidermy, dr. seuss taxidermy, by Aaron Christensen
Here she is, long eyelashes, whiskers and all.

I hope my example illustrates the difference between being inspired, using that as motivation to create something of your own and the opposite, which is duplicating and infringing upon your inspiration. Remember, it's okay to be inspired by other artists, as long as you make your art your own. Be fresh, be original and be honest, you'll enjoy it!

Please stop by my artist friends blogs to see what they've come up with.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

up, uP, UP on a pedestal - The Good Doctor, Dr. Seuss

While most artists rattle off a list of historical figures like Picasso, Monet or whomever as their inspiration. I take a somewhat more whimsical path into the dewberry dawn...the shimmering seas, where the swamie swans swim in the suntacular breeze. That's where you'll find the mind of Dr. Seuss. Theodore Geisel, the good Dr. Seuss is one of my most favorite artists. Although my art generally seems quite opposite to his. I share his love of advertising, having fonts be a subject matter and rethinking what's been thunk before.

Tomorrow, I will be posting a terrific Seuss-like adventure into my first D.I.Y. on this blog. It will also be a place to have conversation with visuals about being an original artist. Original artists takes what they find for fun that is funner, shake it around in their brain until it's new, like no other. (sorry, had to put a Seuss-like spin on it).

In the children's room decorating business, there's a lot of copyrighted properties that children love ie. Batman, Hannah Montana, Yo Gabba Gabba and so on. During my fourteen years designing children's spaces, I've been asked to duplicate or create murals of all the popular characters. As a business person, aware of copyright theft issues and liabilities and a sense of wrong versus right morally, I've chosen to steer my clients another direction. Yes, it can be hard work, but it's worth it. They appreciate originality and in the end respect you more for your creativity.

Understand that abandoning the idea of duplicating copyrighted works doesn't mean you can't please your client. You can create Batman's world, with skyscrapers, the moody night sky and even a cave as long as you are inventing the ideas yourself and not duplicating the work of others, which include his likeness, the logos or pages from comic books. Paint a great Batman-like room and order the licensed products to fill it, if that's what your client wants. But do not steal or as it's technically called infringe upon the intellectual property of others.

What about Seuss, what's this to do with Seuss? Okay...I had a client whom collected Dr. Seuss's art. Not only did they collect his illustrated works, they own several pieces of his contemporary art and sculptures. They wanted me to create a Seuss room for their daughter. Having had a lifetime love of the good Doctors work, I was eager to take on the challenge.

dr. suess girl's room, bedroom with decor and props, theme by Aaron Christensen

I worked up some drawings based upon my thoughts of what I thought Dr. Seuss would do. How would he address a bed, paint a wall or decorate? If you are inspired by an artist, a designer or a product, you are free to use them as inspiration to generate something new. This doesn't mean color copying, collaging, tracing or altering it, it must be something new, from your own hand. In this case I dreamt up Seuss-like objects, that I sculpted in my studio. I do not claim for them to be Seuss, it's not using his characters or brands, I'm not selling them in the market place confusing people into thinking they are Seuss, they simply are inspired by him one-of-a-kinds. Because they are original, now they are my copyright, my creation that can not be duplicated, or used without my permission or license. I hope this makes sense.

My client is happy, they have a Seuss like room, no copied characters, no rip offs, nothing but originality inspired by the good Doctor.

I made it my own with Seuss in my thoughts. A tribute to him, no stealing, no cops. Now look what I did, enjoy it you may. Now look what I did, be inspired this way. As you sit on your bumple, scratching your head, "what is it to be original, what is it I said?" It's a place in your heart, a place in mind, a place that all artists must honestly find. So with these kind words, I bid you good day said Aaron the artist, on Seuss's Birthday!

If you need some studio magic for your child's room we can design, create and ship nationwide.  Visit my website for details.

dr. seuss inspired table in a girl's bedroom / room by Aaron Christensen

dr. seuss inspired etagere, cabinet, furniture, room, design, decor by Aaron Christensen