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If a person creates something derivative without knowing it’s derivative is it derivative?

I remember a story years ago about a very young artist that was on the verge of creating a very large body of work. Her father was a painter and he was helping her market what he thought was work of a child prodigy.

It’s true—her art was technically advanced for a seven year old but after seeing her images, I was struck with an overwhelming sense of familiarity. I didn’t quite get it at the time—as the media was jumping all over the story—saying things like the next Picasso. As the story dwindled over the next couple years—I would hear people refer to other children, even animals as prodigious artists.


It was becoming annoying as people would refer to good abstract art as something their child could do.

In the 80’s, the internet didn’t exist, so media was T.V. newspapers and radio. I was in the middle of my B.F.A. as painter and was overwhelmed with research papers and theory classes—when I discovered a book , full of large coloured plates of van Gogh’s paintings and drawings—a revelation, began to unravel that earlier story of the child prodigy. As it turns out—that child had learned very skillfully to copy Van Gogh’s images—her father was feeding her the material and helping her to add her own content, all in Van Gogh’s style.

I am not naive to think that we all beg, borrow and steal on occasion, to gain inspiration. tempered, known, use of imagery though, is about integrity. Artist’s stay current by being in constant flux with the world via the internet, which allows us the privilege of seeing other artist’s work and the natural wonders of the world when ever we want, from where ever we are.

Art has never been so accessible!

Back to the question—If a person creates something derivative without knowing it’s derivative is it derivative?

I don’t bloody know but what I do know—when it comes time to make art, I pay close attention to my intuition and if an alarm goes off, I assess what I am doing and where it came from.

I try to be open about my work and I am aware of the potential derivative nature of any piece I produce—that being said, nobodies perfect and when it comes to my art—I lead with integrity.

I am working on a piece at this very moment called “Popular Culture”— it could be the beginning of a new series of paintings. If pursued as a series, it will be a collection of mainstream and not so mainstream images used in various contexts.

Derivative Painters

Banksy Stunt

There is not much known about Banksy except he’s a street artist and political activist who’s face has never been seen and he lives in London. His work has become iconic and has appeared in different cities around the world. He creates visually diverse images ranging from a mouse riding an exactor blade to a bottle of champagne in a carousel. His work has a social economic relevance that leaves us to ponder our perceptions of the world.

His art is stenciled images which are primarily sprayed on surfaces.

Banksy is an original and has managed to keep his identity secure. His art is sought after and copied and stolen all the time.

One thing seems very clear to me, his art is for all people of the world not just the elite.

making your own weather

My favorite saying has always been "make your own weather" Now! what you choose is up to you. If you are having a good day, you can continue to have a good day or you can let it be screwed up by some unhappy person.

It's like those people that can't understand why they have such negativity in their lives.

1- They think something bad is always going to happen.

2. When something great happens they think it will be followed by something bad.

3. They spend their time around so called friends that are negative because they think it goes with the territory.

These are just some observations that are simply changed by "making your own weather."

On the other hand, there are also examples of people with really great attitudes.

Three or four years ago I trained in the same gym as W.W.E Wrestler Bret Hart. I'm not a star struck sort of guy but I have to admit, I was pretty excited to be able to walk up to him and shake his hand. I had grown up, watching him and his brothers wrestle while making a name for themselves. Bret was still a big guy and was being trained by a body builder friend of mine. He had a stroke years earlier which left him unable to wrestle and limited certain exercises he could do.

Occasionally I would talk to him and I found that besides having some great stories, he had a great attitude about life. He wished he could still wrestle but was thankful for being able to come down to the gym everyday. I think he enjoys his fans but he never lead with his ego. He is just a good, down to earth guy that is happy to be alive.

I definitely have my moments and they always seem to come when I am infused with self importance. The truth is, no body cares what I do, and yet they are susceptible to the weather that follows me around. When you start with a smile in your heart, life opens up and gives you great weather.

Forecasting Rain 30x30, acrylic on canvas

Forecasting Rain; the man holding the umbrella is standing behind a group of musicians that are in the midst of a celebration. He can't see the joy of the moment because his umbrella is blocking his view and he is to worried it will rain.

I created this painting to remind me that while I'm Forecasting Rain there are some amazing things going on in my life, right in front of me.

This painting is one of 3 images in the exhibition, Ode to Music, Pumphouse Theatre,  September 13th – December 15th 2018.

You may also see all 3 paintings by going to my cover page at


Flash in the pan

What's the origin of the phrase 'Flash in the pan'?

There's reason to believe that this phrase derives from the Californian Gold Rush of the mid 19th century. Prospectors who panned for gold supposedly became excited when they saw something glint in the pan, only to have their hopes dashed when it proved not to be gold but a mere 'flash in the pan'.

Dictionary: A thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable.

 Andy Warhol said "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes".

Of course Andy didn't know the internet would become such sensation. 

The internet is an amazing tool, and at the same time is responsible for people seeking their "15 minutes of fame".

This is the first time in history that the masses have had arm-chair access to platforms for global celebrity.

The thing is,  many artists don't know where to draw the line or don't even know there is a line, and they continue to create art that is either, not their own, or has limited substance. I see exemplified renditions of landscapes by the "Group of Seven" over and over again and I think, WOW! that's boring. That stuff has been done and beat to death years ago, and put simply, has little or no creative impact anymore.

Our world seems obsessed with instant gratification and being the first to generate something new.  Most times, expedited intent produces a poor quality product, with limited longevity, which is responsible for one hit wonders and flash in the pan careers.

I have seen a lot of art, and I have my influences like anyone else, and when I spot something in my work that seems familiar, I question its originality and if I should use it.

Creatives that do well, generally don't look for shortcuts to fame but are focused on their own processes and know how to consistently develop them.

Longevity defines my journey as an artist and in spite of influences and temptation to copy, I have remained true to my own, unique, vision and process for creating art.

I can see myself at the end of my life holding 2 or 3 brushes in one hand, and one in my teeth while I paint my next original.

My work is about engagement; If I feel engaged then I know others will.

Having a showcase online like my website and Instagram is a great way to engage my viewers. There is still nothing like being in the same room with one of my paintings.

I have upcoming shows like "Inglewood Friday Night Market" Sept 15/2018, where I will have paintings and drawings exhibited plus, 4 paintings showing in Edmonton Jubilee and Calgary Jubilee from August to Dec 2018, Click here for details.

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I always love to get comments, so feel free.