Whose Art Is It?

Painting by Bob Scheelings

Painting by Bob Scheelings

Photograph by Gigi Embrechts  

Photograph by Gigi Embrechts  

“If you have a candle, the light won’t glow any dimmer if I light yours off of mine.”
― Steven Tyler

Recently I was contacted by western artist  Bob Scheelings www.bobscheelings.com  about wanting to use a few of my images for references for his art. He does painting, sculptures of the western cowboys and lifestyle. Bob and his wife Anita are originally from the Netherlands (Holland) but live now live in Skull Valley, Arizona.

Bob contacting me after visiting my website http://gigiembrechts.com and viewing many of the draft horse images I display and sell. Since most of my work is created from Belgium these images reminded Bob and his wife Anita of their home country.  Also Anita's great grandfather use to farm with the old traditional Brabant breed so the images brought back thoughts of their homeland.

Bob had chosen this image above as one he wanted to work with for his painting project.  I was a bit concern about doing this because it came down to the question of "Whose art is it?" So I contact some of my colleagues to see how they felt and a majority of them disagreed with selling their work to other artist because they felt it was the photographers vision not the artists so they do not feel they should sell to other artists that practice mediums of art (painters, sculptures etc).

I did talk to one other western photography artist that I have always admired Bev Pettit http://bevpettit.com and she said she gets requests many times from artist for her western equine work and has worked successfully with them. So she would not count out working with Bob if we both can agree on how it will be used and getting the proper licenses squared away. 

Now I had a decision to make, do I keep my images to myself or let them go to another artists so they can create their interpretation of them?  Here are my thoughts about all this.

Yes this is my composition, yes I finalized the photograph to be what it is, and yes I guess you would say this is my vision. But something inside me thinks that art should support art. I can not paint or do sculpture and Bob not an professional photographer or has Belgian horses in the traditional harnesses available to him in Arizona.  I think an image in another media would be interesting and only give it more exposure. He was willing to pay my price for the image and we made an agreement  what each of us would expect. So in my opinion we both win. He still has to do the work of painting it and as you can see from the top image he  created it with the vision he has of the horses he so remembered when living in the Netherlands. I want my work out in the world and it does not matter if it comes from me or someone else as long as I have been compensated and respected for my part in the creation.

But the question still remains...whose art is this? Well does it matter? Do we hoard our art or is it better that it gets out for the world to enjoy? I feel that although I have worked hard to master  photography skills and tools in order to take the photographs I do, I feel something bigger than me orchestrates the circumstances and perfect moments that fall in front of my camera.  I have to recognized the moment but I did not create the moment. So is it my art? Bob has to replicate the photograph as he envisions it to tell the story he has created in his mind. He has to have the talent to take paint and add expression to the canvas. Each of us as artists have our own mastered skills, knowledge and visions but neither of us created the moment in this photograph. The moment happened to line up perfect for one split second of time and it takes us both to do what we do as artists to turn it into something that we hope others will value and appreciate.

Does it matter if it is a photograph, painting, sculpture, or that it may inspired song or poem? What really matters is that it is shared for the world to see. I feel the moment that was created in that split second goes to something bigger than ourselves. This is also what gave us the gifts, talents and opportunities we have to create art in the first place. So I believe hoarding your art, vision, or knowledge can never serve.

If you have an opinion or comment on this subject I would love to hear it. Even if  you do not agree with my view please feel free state how you feel so about the subject.  We all learn and grow from each other.

Name *
Name