Posted by: Liz Massey | October 9, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for October 9, 2008

Photo courtesy SXC.

Two very different types of contests and a look at the Polaroid-A-Day project of Jamie Livingston, plus the results of an art-collectors survey and “artist date” ideas, are the catches-of-the-day from the teaming expanse of the creative blog-o-sphere!

1. Stretch your idea fluency muscles! The Heart of Innovation blog, which is run by Innovation Champions, is having the First Annual Multiple Uses of Ping Pong Ball Contest!

There’s no deadline posted on the site, but Idea Champions, which describes itself as “a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation,” is offering goodies to the winners that include the company’s Free the Genie cards and the book “Awake at the Wheel,” written by Mitch Ditkoff, co-founder and president of Idea Champions. Even if you don’t enter, the photo accompanying the post announcing the contest is priceless.

2. For an entirely different sort of contest experience, there is a cautionary post from the Artist, Emerging blog about predatory contests put on by hotels and others seeking to decorate their rooms with art.

Deanna, who writes the blog, posts large parts of the competition prospectus and explains her concerns.

“I can understand that a young artist just starting out might jump at the chance to have his or her artwork featured in a hip loft hotel. And if it were just a contest where they chose some paintings, hung them in their hotel, and gave the artists a cash award, then that would be fine.
“And if they wanted to create reproductions of your work and gave you a percentage of sales, then that might be OK.

“But. They want artists to sign over their copyright. If I interpret this correctly, if I won, I would get $2,250 and they would get my painting, all rights to do whatever they want to with it…Think about it. After you get your $2,250, your artwork is theirs. They could make your painting their logo and you wouldn’t get anything. They could create a line of linens featuring your artwork and sell it at Macy’s for $500 a pop and you wouldn’t get anything. Or worse…”

I appreciate bloggers who bring up copyright issues, because it is so easy in the heat of selling/pitching/deal-making to forget to fight for the future potential of our work. Copyright is, at its best, a way of saying “thank you” to the originator of the work, no matter how many times we’ve seen a derivative work.

(Speaking of which, have you noticed that anytime a feature film uses the tune “Happy Birthday,” there’s a line about it in the credits? That’s a copyright for you.)

3. Finally, a couple of interesting links chronicling the legacy of Jamie Livingston, whose Polaroid-A-Day project continued from a college assignment in March 1979 until his untimely death from cancer at the age of 41 in October 1997. He used a Polaroid SX-70 camera and the photos—more than 6,000 in all—chronicle his life and times, even his decline in health and death.

After Livingston’s death, his friends Hugh Crawford and Betsy Reid put together a public exhibit and website using the photos and called it PHOTO OF THE DAY: 1979-1997, 6,697 Polaroids, dated in sequence. The physical exhibit opened in 2007 at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College (where Livingston started the series, as a student, way back when). The exhibit included rephotographs of every Polaroid and took up a 7 x 120 foot space.

Besides being an amazing daily practice for Livingston, the collection as a whole seems to really resonate with those of us who see the significance of the story arcs of a person’s life. A commenter on a post about the website/exhibit written by Chris Higgins of Mental Floss said it best:

“Stuff like this is significant. People NEED to be remembered. Especially when they do something so spectacular as this even with such a sad ending. He continued his passion right to the last day of his life. That deserves some kind of history.”‘

(And a hearty tip o’ the blog to Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn for helping me discover this amazing story.)

Two more great links.

Making a Mark: Final results of a survey on whether artists collect art
Artist Date ideas from The Artist’s Way blog: Great ideas for wooing your creative self

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