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Inspiration vs. derivation, plus some really great stuff from Edward Ruscha

One of art’s primary functions is to inspire – inspire new ideas, thoughts, opinions, perspectives and, of course, the propagation of new art. But what a fine (and subjective) line exists between inspiration and imitation.

Take, for instance, this piece by American artist Edward Ruscha (pronounced roo-SHAY):



Remind you of anything? A book, perhaps, by Alice Sebold? That was made into a movie in late 2009?



No, no, no, I’m not postulating that Yoori Kim, the cover designer, deliberately “stole” or re-purposed Ruscha’s art for her own benefit. It could very well be that Kim was inspired by the art, but genuinely aimed to create her own unique composition.

I am, however, posing the broader question: when does inspiration quietly become imitation?

That aside, there’s a second reason for this post, and it’s to celebrate Ruscha. A pop art movement artist, he worked in painting, printmaking, drawing, photography and film. His word paintings, though, are what catch my eye, particularly their deadpan voice, odd humor and overt satire.

 


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