SchoolArts Magazine

Summer 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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8 SUMMER 2018 SchoolArts A ppropriation is the act of tak- ing something from someone else for one's own use, usually without permission. Recently, a talented young student of mine learned about the pitfalls of appropri - ating when two of her paintings were juried out of a museum exhibit. In this all-state high-school show, the curators required students to share their source materials on the back of their entries. I sat with that student to discuss her experience and why she thought her work wasn't accepted. She had the insight and maturity to admit that she hadn't significantly changed the images to make them her own. I was happy that she was objective and identified where she could improve and hopefully not make the same mistake in the future. A similar issue popped up in a recent media arts project where stu - dents expressed their views on immi- gration and identity. In these digital stories, I found that many students didn't use their own images, but appro - priated images that were readily avail- able within a few mouse clicks. Yes, our students are digital natives, but they often lack a basic understanding of the legal and ethical ramifications of using the imagery of others. Images and Ethics Today, image banks house far more images than could ever be housed in a classroom. Therefore, this increases the need to teach ethical behavior about using images by other art- ists, even as sources. It's important to teach students to take their own photographs for their work. This encourages them to embrace the best practices of professional artists and also gives them greater creative control of their content without any potential conflicts down the road. I remember my own high-school experience where my two art teachers P O I N T O F V I E W CONTINUED ON PAGE 45. had a huge bin of old National Geo- graphic magazines in the classroom for students to use to find materials for paintings and drawings. This was perhaps due to my teachers' emphasis on teaching us technical skills. This is a common practice for artists—to draw upon published images to help them articulate their own ideas and to create their own imagery. Visual Journals Another way of getting students into the habit of cultivating their own ideas and images is by keeping a visual journal. This encourages them to trust their own creativity and aes - thetic sense. This practice also helps them to avoid the quick and easy pitfall of plagiarizing when they run up against an artistic block. I often have students draw upon their visual journals for imagery and ideas when exploring media in class projects. I encourage students to work from life, to take their own photographs, and to use their journals and sketch- books to generate their own work. The more decisions they make, even in their source materials, the more their distinct views will emerge, enabling them to articulate their unique vision through composition, lighting, and design. Class Discussions Shepard Fairey's well-known legal woes regarding his Hope campaign poster is a good example to use in dis - Inspiration, Not Appropriation James Rees Our students are digital natives, but the ften lack a basic understanding of the legal and ethical ramifications of using the imager of others.

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