Posted by: Liz Massey | August 21, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for August 21, 2008

Photo courtesy SXC.

A new development in the “open source” copyright battlefield, some thoughts about collecting the art of other artists, and some creative thoughts from inside (or at least near) The Beltway are all part of the feast that is ours for the taking from this week’s creative blog-o-sphere!

1. Photographer Jim Goldstein tipped me off to our first bloggy tidbit, which relates to a major victory for the concept and validity of the Creative Commons licensing idea, a framework for modifying and sharing creative works that was developed in 2002 by Larry Lessig, a law professor at Stanford.

The take-away for creative types is that works created under a Creative Commons license, which are often meant to be freely shared without pay, must be attributed as the author/creator of the work specifies.

John Markoff, the New York Times reporter who wrote the article, asserts that “The decision legitimizes the use of commercial contracts for the distribution of computer software and digital artistic works for the public good,” and notes that beyond Wikipedia, MIT has used a Creative Commons license to distribute courseware and the rock band Nine Inch Nails has issued a collection of musical tracks online using a Creative Commons license. It’s probably worth a trip to the Creative Commons site (after reading the NYT article) to understand this new wrinkle in the intellectual property landscape, and how it relates to the art that you make and distribute in a Web 2.0 world.

2. Sue Smith over at the intriguing Ancient Artist blog had a great post recently about artists collecting the works of other artists.

She writes,

“I know, most artists have walls covered with their own work. If you’re like me, there’s stuff in the closet, the garage, even the guest bathroom.

But I’ve always felt a residual creative energy attached to artwork, and not only do I want to send that energy out into the world with my own pieces, I want to bring the energy from other artists into my home environment.”

She also talks a little about a couple of items she has collected and what she likes about them, as well as the story of how they came to reside at her home. Her post isn’t long, and the number of comments it inspired are not overwhelming, but it’s a nice thought-provoker.

As a writer, it’s hard to get away from having the “works” of other authors all over my house, but I can see how this question is very relevant to visual artists (and perhaps some other media categories). Check Sue’s post out and join the conversation!

3. Fellow creativity cheerleader and new blog-pal Amanda Hirsch at Creative DC posted a hilarious post the other day about making art out of e-mail spam.

As she tells it,

“One day, a few weeks back, as I was deleting the contents of my spam folder, a subject line caught my eye: ‘Woman found with bottle in vagina.’ Wha? Could it be? I instantly cut-and-pasted the headline into an instant message to a friend, and we shared an electronic giggle. Then I spied another: ‘Boy eats cats daily!!!’ I sent it to my brother-in-law, an appreciator of all things weird. ‘Wouldn’t it be great,’ I mused, ‘to have a spam exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum’ (a place we both love). ‘Not a bad idea, actually,’ he replied.”

Amanda started out with visions of creating spammy needlepoint, but readjusted to a more practical (for her, since she doesn’t know how to do needlepoint) crafty little art project using e-spam subject lines as the subject matter. You can see the results of her Spam project on her Flickr page.

The Creative DC blog also pointed me to a neat Web 2.0 tool on the PBS website.

On the “United States of Art” page, you can add a current or planned public art work to the Google map, as well as look at the other locations mentioned by viewers.

The page is a special web feature related to the recent broadcast on PBS’s POV program of “The Last Conquistador,” a documentary about the controversy surrounding the commissioning of a larger-than-life statue of Juan de Oñate in El Paso, Texas.


  1. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Liz! I have your last post on creative momentum tagged on delicious, ready to blog about…it’s such a great way of approaching creativity. So nice to have found a ‘kindred spirit’ online 🙂

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