The Perils of Copying Artists Work

He dressed in bright pastel shirts and ornate ties with brown or black creased pants brushing polished shoes like an artist’s work. Thin silver bracelets swayed, and square-ish rings were a signature.

Teaching students the principles of Fine Art was more than a profession.

Mr. Geraue taught you how to be authentic.

I loved the class.

My fondest memory. An assignment to create a Halloween design on a poster board. The best pictures would proudly hang in store windows around town for fall celebrations.

Each student received two large poster boards. One chance to make a mistake and one to get it right. It was a tough choice of what to draw.

I wanted to win.

To have my Artwork noticed by residents of the small town. After all, we were known as Crazy Carleton’s. Kids at school picked on us.

Nobody fancied our family.

Winning the contest would make me better at something.

Creating a Masterpiece

The skills to create such a masterpiece was lacking. Thank goodness my brother came to the rescue by ordering a sizeable creepy poster from the school book club.

It was perfect.

The wolf-like creature with large yellowish fangs and claws stood towering on its hind legs and half stride, jumping over a broken log in an eerie forest.

It was dark, creepy, and screamed Halloween.

Grabbing his poster, I shot to the back porch window and placed the poster board over the wolf-like creature. It was a perfect fit. I could see every detail.

Excited, I ran back into the house, grabbed the scotch tape, and secured them to the window, bellowing YES.

Creating Art is hard work; it was tedious tracing each line and minor detail. Making the colors just right was near impossible. Pressing through, I finished the masterpiece a few weeks later.

The Halloween design was splendid and sure to be a winner.

Be Authentic

I walked into class with pride and confidence and handed in my masterpiece. My hopes of winning diminished, the teacher said,

Linda, it looks great, but next time don’t copy another Artists work.

I stood dumbfounded.

How did he know?

I didn’t understand the risks of copying an Artist’s work back in ninth grade. My Art teacher was aware of personal strengths and the weaknesses to overcome.

He taught students to think creatively. Taught you how to express yourself authentically — assisted you in reaching your fullest potential.

He encouraged you to be authentic.

Copying Artist’s work leads to failure because you don’t think outside the box. You deprive yourself of reaching your fullest potential and becoming the best version of yourself.

Copying someone’s work is not authentic. It’s a replica of or altered version. Your abilities and personality can’t shine through someone else’s Artwork.

Your growth becomes stunted, and being the best version of yourself is never achieved. The masterpiece you could create fails because you copy.

I learned the perils of copying an artist’s work and being authentically you.

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