Tag Archives: originality

What Is Originality?


ImageIn starting the art contest in 2010, we have learned a lot about issues that we did not think would arise.  Each student is asked to send in an original work of art. But what does that exactly mean?  We have many teachers who have their students enter collages with images that come from other sources.  In these cases, the compilation of the images into an original form is the student’s creation.  However, as the original images are not the students,  we cannot have a contest winner or include in the book, an image that is copyrighted elsewhere.

We have also encountered students who will take a work such as “Starry Night” by Van Gogh and put their own interpretation onto the image.  If the image is now in public domain, then this is allowed if the student gives the original artist credit.  However, when an image is an exact copy then this is a greater challenge.  When a student sees a painting and then tries to make an exact copy, the work of putting the paint to the canvas is done by the student, but the work or imagination in creating the work is not.

We cannot be aware of every image.  Our official policy is that we love to see the work conceptualized by the student.  A work in the public domain can act as a starting point, but we hope the student will take it from there and add their own style to the piece.

To learn more about our national art contests, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.

Original Art Wins Out


ImageWe often receive emails asking if a student can make a reproduction of a famous piece of art or a photograph that is well know such as an album cover. The answer depends on if the student is using the famous painting as a starting point or if they are trying to authentically reproduce the art. There are two levels to the judging:  being accepted to be published and being a Top Ten Winner.  

To be a Top Ten Winner, we like originality.  If you take an image that is well known such as a Van Gogh, your rendition of it may be good enough to be accepted to be published; however, due to the fact the composition was originally created by someone else, it would most likely not be chosen as a Top Ten Winner.

 To be accepted to be published, one can take another person’s work and then add their own style.  Don’t try to copy it exactly.  Take a work and put your touch to it so we can state that it is your work.  There are many copyrighted images, such as Mickey Mouse, that we have taken the position that they are not acceptable.  We don’t ever want to have a quarrel with Disney or Pixar concerning their images in our book.

With the deadline coming up in just over 2 weeks (April 3rd), we hope you will have your students join our Celebration of Artists.  You can always look at the winners online and see the styles represented.  Good luck to your artists.