I’m more than a little disturbed by something I saw yesterday in a shop window that is all too common.
It was on prominent center display, the eye catching familiarity of a Mucha illustration bastardized, demolished, into something trendy and modern, and quite frankly sickening.
It was an image stolen from one of Mucha’s popular prints of a woman looking back at the viewer and holding her dress as the wind carries her voluminous long hair and her light, sheer dress wildly. She has a coy but joyful expression on her face, and of course voluptuous curves that one can barely see through her flowing dress.
In this present day, distasteful depiction, the spiraling hair was cut off, a boring and stiff black dress completely covered up a body that was made much thinner than the original, and the woman was awkwardly and irrationally holding a strangely angled and out of proportion bicycle with her elbow. On top of all this, it was obviously made in a digital program with too drastic colors, and not even printed in good quality.
It made me wonder, how do we let people get away with doing this? And why do supposed “art galleries,” or “art shops” promote this garbage?
I also ask, what is the point of stealing a historical illustration if you are going to eliminate all that made that art important? By this I mean the line work, the beauty of the female form, the extravagant design, the muted colors, and the fact that it was made all by hand.
Instead of trying to “modernize” something old, which therefore bastardizes a wonderful piece of art, why not simply make something new?
Directly stealing to produce something to sell is not art. It is not creative. Digitally “enhancing” something that was once a revolutionary design created by an incredibly talented artist is not art. There is no skill in that, nor any imagination.
Generally, I see very often the use of Art Nouveau imagery being used for modern design. I see very often specifically Mucha’s women being reproduced directly. Anyone who has studied art at all can see that there is no use in trying to copy a Mucha, it never does turn out quite as good.
I am in full support of borrowing and being influenced by Art Nouveau design, but I believe an artist should always be innovating, using their inspiration in new ways, in creative ways - not directly copying, unless it is to learn and practice your line, and not for monetary gain.
Give respect to these artists who have influenced many generations of design and art. Moreover, be creative and innovative, if you hope to call yourself a true artist.