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July 20, 2012
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First off, I'm super stoked about the new project I'm working on. I'm hoping to set up my own online store and blog selling handmade crafts based around popular fairy tales and folk lore, all art nouveau styled, of course ;) This project will be my little artistic outlet in my otherwise non-arty lifestyle. You'll hear a lot more about it soon! :)

This leads me onto something that I'd love all y'alls opinions on. So I was browsing through Etsy looking at my 'competition', and I noticed that independent artists (ie. Not big companies) are selling Mucha's artwork as jewellery pieces, prints, coasters, jewellery boxes, badges – you name it, it's there! As a fellow artist, how do you feel about this?

Personally, I feel that it is someone profiting from another artist's work, and I feel that's a very low thing to do. Everyone is, of course, inspired by other artist's work, which can lead you to create your own art piece influenced by said inspiration. For example, Mucha very obviously influences my illustrations, however, I do not outright copy his work. For my new project, my crafts would be based off fairy tale characters that do not belong to me, but I would not duplicate another artist's work and sell it on. Simply using the art and shoving it in a cameo pendant or on a bookmark is disrespectful to the original artist. I feel that it's lazy and unartistic. If I found out someone was selling one of my illustrations as a print I would be very unhappy. Or does it not count because Alphonse Mucha is no longer living? Is it even legal? Or is it just… artistically frowned upon?  Why do people make such a big deal about drawings being traced and stolen, when it's fine to sell on Mucha's art?

What do you think?

(Please note that I encourage a lively discussion – not an argument. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Thanks.)
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:iconestatikllc:
estatikllc Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Mucha was primarily a commercial illustrator, or at least that's what most of the works you typically see are from. So a good chucnk of his work was not even his after it was created, it became the property of the client who hired him to make said advertisement. Of course the laws were different then, and being created in France complicates matters more. Chances are the family didn't have rights to the works, and were unable to renew the copyright. I'm a bit surprised that some of the companies he designed for didn't extend them, but then again if you look at his body of work, he copied HIMSELF quite a bit, creating many ads from a handful of drawings. He himself wouln't get away with that these days.
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Huh, that's interesting to know! It still amazes that no one 'owns' his artwork, but at the same time, I suppose it's that it's free for everyone to use.
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:iconkeyshe54:
Keyshe54 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012   Traditional Artist
Only works in public domain are legal to reproduce and sell for profit. On 1 January 2010, Alphonse Mucha published works went out of copyright and entered the public domain.(I didn't know that until I looked today O_O) Just because an artist is dead doesn't mean their copyrights are revoked and often family or others have them for some time. I don't know what the rules are exactly but something like 120 year after creation or 75 year after death a work becomes 'public domain' and is free to be used.

I personally largely agree with you, and get upset seeing people just take works, even if it's fan art and sell for profit with out the creators permission or the legal rights. Either assuming it's fine, don't care, think they wont get caught, or others do it so why not? If always hurtful when I see some Chinese eBayer selling DA artists work for print, or professional artist works as posters... too. Too often I see people just take images and art right off Google for their works... :/

But if it's in 'public domain' I don't really care and think it's fine. Better though to make you own art and creations, or at least a 'real' derivative works... I wouldn't really like just buying anyones' Mucha' print or pendent, kind tacky and boring. Also no idea if they aren't just taking someones scans right off Google for it. Same goes for original drawings/paintings I rather see some one use the style for their own piece not just piggyback off of Mucha concepts and poses.
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, that's interesting to know! It's a shame Mucha's family don't gain copyright of it. But i guess that's their choice. The internet is kind of a loop hole for such things anyway. Copyright is a sticky issue.

It's difficult to define a difference between Mucha's style and art nouveau. Picasso didn't define cubism but he largely dominates the style, same with Mucha. But there are some obvious cases of piggybacking off him, for example, on Etsy I saw that someone had taken this: [link] and exactly redrawn it but with a mermaid tail, then were selling it on as an original art piece. That's kind of ridiculous imo.
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:iconkeyshe54:
Keyshe54 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   Traditional Artist
Yeah that sounds ridiculous alright... T_T
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