Collage Artist Mae Chevrette on Using Quotes in Artwork

Indie Business: Using Quotes in Artwork - Collage by Mae Chevrette
Artists can’t help but be inspired by the world and words they see around them – but what is the difference between being inspired, and blatantly using someone else’s ideas as your own? As an artist whose work is based on the inspiring words and quotes of others (you can see some of my collage art with quotes here), I’ve been curious about the ethics of using someone else’s ideas and words in my creative work. I asked mixed media maven Mae Chevrette for her thoughts on the ethics of using quotes from others in her artwork:
” Ethically, I believe it to be sound as long as the new work is not taking away from the original work in any way and not harming the creative originality, ideas or profit of the original creator. One part of this which is very, very important is giving credit where it is due – to me, the creative credit is just as important as any monetary credit would ever be, so I make sure to always credit the creator and in some cases gain permission if at all possible (as with a new piece I’m working on which quotes a pro surfer – awesome dude who I was even more inspired by after getting a hold of him!). I have seen takes on my work and words that made me very appreciative and humble, and also blatant copies that made me very upset. Additionally, it is obvious when a work is made as an homage to an original work, and obvious when it is made as a cheap copy or desperate attempt at originality. I think in their hearts most people can look at a work and know which is which, and that makes a huge difference in whether it is acceptable or not.”

Indie Business: Using Quotes in Artwork - Collage by Mae Chevrette
[Photo and artwork by Mae Chevrette]


What are your thoughts on using quotes or ideas from others in artwork? Have you ever struggled with defining the line between inspiration and imitation? I’ve love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic on Twitter. Let’s chat!
Much love,

Art Tips: How to Choose Awesome Background Images For a Collage

How to choose background papers for a collage
For me, the hardest part of an art project is getting started. (Can I get an “amen!” from all the perfectionists out there?) When doing collage art, I get the most stuck at the beginning, figuring out where to start with the background. After all, the background is what an entire art piece rests on – and while it can’t be too plain and uninteresting, it also can’t be too busy that the text and images layered on top aren’t readable. So how do you choose background papers for a collage? For me, the real answer is “I just choose what feels good!”. Which is a supremely unhelpful answer, I know. But if I analyze what makes me feel good, here’s what I look for when starting a collage: 
How to choose background papers for a collage
Look for backgrounds that will allow you highlight the focus of your piece. For me, the quote is always the focus. If the letters are going to get lost against the background, then the piece as whole won’t work.
Look for interesting textures, patterns, and colors. Visual interest is important! I love the richly layered look of collage art, and finding neat background materials that jive together in a pleasing way pretty much rocks my world. 
Look in unexpected places for background images. I found this vintage map of New York in my old car that was passed down from my grandma – it had been in the glove box for years. Old dressmaker patterns have beautiful graphic designs, and are transparent enough to allow layers to show through. Vintage books have beautiful illustrations and gorgeous pages of text. Wallpaper samples can be bursting with pattern and texture, ranging from bold to subtle. A printed paper placemat from a kitchsy diner has retro appeal. Keep your eyes open – you really can find great art supplies in places you’d never expect. 
How to choose background papers for a collage
One last thought when starting a piece of art…
Trust your gut. Trust that you know what you like. Trust that you know what feels good to you. Trust in the experiment. Trust in your awesome creativity. 
To see more of my art (finshed art! Not just backgrounds!) you can visit my Etsy shop
 Happy Monday!
PS. If you’re selling your collage art, choose images that won’t get you into trouble!  Your own photography, messy painted textures, layered grocery receipts, and vintage book pages all make beautiful backgrounds. If you are using someone else’s images (such as scrapbook paper), make sure you’re altering it to make it yours. (More on the topic of copyright and fair use in collage art later!)

Inspiring Words: January 11, 2012

Philippians 4:6-7
[From Pinterest; original source unknown. If you know where this is from, please advise so I can give credit.]

Sometimes, when you’re having a challenging week, you just need to hear some truth that’s good for your mind, body, and soul.
Happy Wednesday, my dears.

Big Shop News: Greeting Cards are HERE!

Blank Collage Art Greeting Cards on EtsyYup, you read that right…blank greeting cards featuring mini prints of my collages are are now available in my Etsy shop! Two different sets of cards with envelopes are available – one with sweet and encouraging quotes, and one with awesome scripture verses. They’re printed on super yummy ultra premium professional heavyweight matte paper, and the prints are so rich and gorgeous! (I’m thinking of switching to matte paper for all my art prints now, instead of the luster paper I’m currently using.)
Blank Collage Art Greeting Cards on EtsyBlank Collage Art Greeting Cards on EtsyBlank Collage Art Greeting Cards on EtsyAnd as a thank you to YOU, my awesome supporters and friends, I’m offering free shipping on anything in my shop until the end of the year with code HAPPYHOLIDAYS2011. US pals, there’s still time to order for Christmas! Cards make a great gift. Just sayin’.

Happy Wednesday!

etsy shop reopening + giveaway!

Lesley Myrick Original Handmade Collage Mixed Media Art Prints on EtsyAfter a summer hiatus (read: my entire studio was packed up in boxes while we were away for two months and then moved to California) I’m so excited to be re-opening my Etsy shop! Not only are original commissions available (using your favorite quotes or photos) but there are also tons of great affordable art prints at $18. And greeting cards will be available soon…stay tuned!
Lesley Myrick Original Handmade Collage Mixed Media Art Prints on Etsy
As a thank-you to my lovely readers, I’m giving away one print of your choice from my shop! There are two ways to enter (feel free to do both!):
1. Leave a comment below and share your favorite quote – is it a song lyric? Line from a poem? Quote from a movie? Something funny that your best friend said?
2. Tweet about the giveaway using this link (and leave a comment saying that you tweeted it).
The contest will close Friday September 2 at midnight PDT, and the winner will be announced Monday September 5. Ready? GO!

And psst…save 15% off your order between now and September 30 with code SEPT15OFF. Check out the shop here and spread the word about the discount code (click here to tweet it)!

Happy Monday!
Much love,

DIY iPhone Case!

Lesley Myrick DIY Do it Yourself Custom iPhone Case

Remember that time I made a sweet iPhone case, and then told you that I’d share a tutorial so you can make your very own? Well, here it is! (Weekend project, ahoy!)

Lesley Myrick DIY Do it Yourself Custom iPhone Case

Step 1: Buy a clear case for your phone. This little guy was a whopping $1.47 on eBay, and also has some inexpensive options.

Lesley Myrick DIY Do it Yourself Custom iPhone Case

Step 2: Trace the inside back of the case and make a cardstock template. Or if you’re lucky like me, your phone will just come with a faux cardboard phone that’s already the correct size.

Lesley Myrick DIY Do it Yourself Custom iPhone Case

Step 3: Find some cool scrapbook paper, magazine pages, or the like. Trace your template onto the neato paper, and cut it out. (I cut out a few different options – I like variety!)

Lesley Myrick DIY Do it Yourself Custom iPhone Case

Step 4: Slip your cut-to-size paper into the case to make sure it fits. Trace the hole for the camera (every phone case is different) and very carefully cut it out. I used a small craft knife. Or rather, I should’ve used a small craft knife – I actually used an obscenely large utility knife because it was all I had available. Learn from my mistake.

Lesley Myrick DIY Do it Yourself Custom iPhone Case

Step 5: Pop your paper insert into the case, snap the whole thing on your phone, and BAM! DIY style.

Happy weekend!