At another gallery, I also tried to photograph a Chinese painting I
really liked. Suddenly, a guy popped out of the back room and shook a
finger. No pictures here, lady.
Say what? Why?
explained that I was admiring an actual original painting. By
photographing it, I would be violating the artist’s intellectual
property rights. Really? I thought. So, what about the intellectual
property rights of the artists whose work — mostly Western masterpieces —
is copied over and over again and hangs all over the gallery, which sells mostly copies of
Western masterpieces? He was kidding, right?
Nope, not kidding. No photo, lady.
dissatisfied as I was with the merchant’s explanation, I had to
acknowledge that the vast majority of paintings produced before the 20th
century are considered public domain and can be freely copied and sold.
Moreover, there’s a huge market appetite for imitation art
throughout the world. U.S. retailers such as Pier 1 are known to carry
oil paintings from China. Add to this all those hotels, motels and
furnished Florida condominiums that buy imitations of paintings — many
imported from China — by the gross.
There is also a factor that goes back to the roots of Chinese art.
masterpiece is an honorable craft in countries such as China and Japan.
Working in traditional calligraphy and pottery, budding artists are
actually encouraged to quietly observe the master first, and then copy
the masterpiece to learn the fundamentals.
In that light, a
Chinese art student might not feel even mildly larcenous as he makes a
meticulous copy of a Van Gogh – at least at first. But, hired to
mass-produce a hundred copies of the same Van Gogh, followed by three
dozen Mona Lisas, the conscientious artist might eventually suffer
enough second thoughts to rethink his or her career.
I’m not suggesting at all, however, that China lacks original art or original ideas.
its thousands of years of history, China has conceived several museums’
worth of unique art forms ranging from ink wash paintings to
The story of post-war Japan provides a telling
parallel to present-day China. Japan after the war got busy making
knockoff toys and gadgets. Decades passed before Japan’s economy drew
close to the West. As this happened, Japanese design and industry caught
up also in innovation, originality and quality. Similarly, China is now
going through what might be called its imitation phase, as it waits for
its pre-Cultural Revolution traditions — in art, design and
entrepreneurial pizzazz — to come fully back to life.
the successful ecosystems created both in Da Fen Village and the Pearl
River Delta — with all the merchants, distributors, developers and
manufacturers in one place — are a model that Western high-tech
companies are emulating today in hopes of gaining efficiency and bigger
The following slideshow illustrates street corners of
Da Fen Oil Painting Village, and the basic operations of their
Chinese art mass-produced
Paintings mass-produced and sold at Da Fen Village are not limited to Van Gogh, Rembrandt or Monet. They include copies of traditional Chinese paintings as well.
Technology has allowed us to enjoy most art-forms with nearly full emotional impact at reasonable cost.
We've routinely listened to recorded music for over a century from Edison's cylinders, to records, to tapes, to CDs to iPods. Movies have evolved from silent films, to talkies, through color, surround sound and 3D right into our home theaters.
Paintings are long overdue for a technological revolution. A reproduction in a small book just doesn't cut it any more. Even a large print lacks the subtle surface texture from brushstrokes. Perhaps robotics can be applied to produce a reproduction worthy of the masterpiece at prices affordable by most.
Every artist wants his art to be enjoyed by many, not just the rich few.
The Google Art Project attempts to do what you are talking about by digitizing artwork in very high resolution (enough to see individual brush strokes on many paintings). You just need to be able to afford a decently sized and high quality monitor to see great art in a high quality rendering.
Name calling and insults neither advance our understanding of an issue nor demonstrate rational thought. A carefully reasoned respectful discussion may open our minds to new insights and issues. However, when people hurl insults, ethnic and personal attacks, their positions are hard to take seriously.
Ditto on that - remember walking into tape copying shops in the '80's - they were duping them right there.... ;) But PLEASE, stop being so defensive - the author has mentioned that this is a phase, and things are changing - what is the problem? She could have easily brought up much more "dirt" if she wanted to, but kept it to the point of this city - you should be proud as the paintings look great, and you have already developed supply chains for them.
Ditto again (need a "like" button). We have the saying that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". China has much bigger issues to be defensive about than something you really can't even deny like copy cat paintings - what about the duped Apple stores and products... Why litter these boards with this crap - If you are government sponsored tell your bosses to go to hell and worry about real threats, otherwise spend you time copying our ideals of free speech - we (the western world) criticize ourselves more than you ever can so why waste our time here?
I've always found the commentary for EE Times articles to be insightful and informative, many times even more so than the articles themselves.
What I've never found is the personal attacks and childish name calling that you see routinely reading comments on almost any other site on the internet. To see it here is disappointing.
My Comments - Part 1.
I still do not get the purpose of this article. Does the author have objection to something that happens in Da Fen?
Second thing is - what is this article doing in EE Times? Is it that news and information about electrical and electronics falling short to fill in the columns? I saw absolutely no relevance of this article here in EE Times.
With apologies to the author, I may dare to say that perhaps the main focus of this article is about similar meaning words - piracy (of intellectual property) Vs replica making. Technically, one can easily make a distinction betwen these two phrases. However, let me give a perspective from an art lover point of view below.
Before I go there, I saw one comment someone made on a certain nation's tradition about making piracy. My comment on that - As far as Piracy is concerned - especially in historical perspective and in the context of Western Vs Eastern, please go back in time some 200-300 years, one will find enough examples to feel bad about piracy and one can even find that some great nations of today formed some companies in the name of doing business but were given the charter to do piracy by the respective kings and queens of those nation. If one really wants to go this historical way - it is an unending debate. So let's not even bother about branding someone based on history/race.
My Comments - (Part 2)
I do respect the Intellectual Property and hence buy music, paintings and literary work. But please note that - there is a big difference between art forms such as the music, dance, books and painting/sculpture. Painting, sculpting, carving seem to be the only art forms that need material - paint, brush, canvass, stone, tools etc apart from the creative mind of the artist. The other art forms are blessed by technology and hence can be recorded and can be rendered through suitable media. Therefore painting, sculptures are the only art forms for which one has to travel to the place where originals are kept. Those who really enjoy art and are priviledged to travel without too many hurdles really do so for the original paintings/sculptures, no doubt, are great pieces of art created by perhaps greatest creative minds that existed on this planet. However for a person like me, though I like to buy the art, buying the original paintings/sculptures is way beyond my capacity. Also I am not a painter/sculptor who can make an exact replica for personal consumption. Printed/photographed copy is an option but then you don't have a "painting" made with real colors and brushes done with someone's hand on a canvass. In that case, if some artist really can make a replica as good as original with paint and brush and sells it as a replica - it will be my honor to buy that replica (if affordable to me) from such an gifted artist. From my point of view - making an exact replica as original is an art in itself and not an easy one.
The problem with Music piracy is different. There is no other artist than the original involved and only machines are involved in making copies of the original art. Here also - if some artist can render the music of original artist - listening to this replica in live will be more enchanting than the rendetion on a machine.
Nice debate going on, I honestly don't feel bad at all for such things, and I'm even a bit proud of it actually. Arts are long gone from modern world, I'm glad to see great arts 5km from where I lived. I of course vote for paying Van Gogh something for copyright if he is still around, but for sure not to the ones who bought their paintings and locked in their safe for centuries. 1) I don't think artists sell copyrights along with paintings if you really know what copyright is, 2) copyright has about 100 years of valid time, 3) most artists will be happy that someone do marketing for them, and more people will want to see the original after they see the "knockoff", 4) these arts are everywhere on the internet, on thousands of computers's wallpaper, I don't see people writing articles about it, 5) I wonder how this author feels about taking pictures in others private properties secretly, 6) .... I can give hundreds of things but what I sometimes feel like, is some people loves to slander others and put themselves on an upper position on (morality?)
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