This image is from Rob Ryan's blog
I recently did a post on Feeling Stitchy about an artist whose work was being altered just enough to look "similar, but different". The discussion took about 5,000 different turns as people analyzed every facet of the situation, but what I really wished we'd stuck to was this: "How close is TOO close?"
We've all seen "similar, but different" in advertising, art, fashion, and product design. Sadly, I see this is happening now to Rob Ryan (an amazing papercut artist) from a post on his blog. The artist acknowledges their work is inspired by Rob Ryan. But does an acknowledgment make selling such similar works right? (Note: If you scroll through the comments, there is some debate as to whether or not the artist sells the cuts - some say yes, some say no).
I know that when you put an idea out into the world, in whatever form, it will be copied, incorporated, altered, and riffed on. I see just about every lovely thing in our culture as a "riff" of something else or inspired by something else. I just wish that artists, whenever possible, used their skills to create something new.
Read (and see more images) on Rob Ryan's blog.