What is Original and Authentic?

Welcome to Week 3! In Module 2, "What is Art?; Shape and Line" we learned about "Topic Posts" and "Critique Posts" in the forum space, and the different expectations for each type of post. You answered your question of choice and responded to a peer. The questions offered were: "Do you believe art has an essential connection to beauty?" and "What makes art art and an artist an artist? Who has the power to determine these answers?" These questions generated a lot of interesting discussions. Take a moment to note how your perspective may have changed on these questions based on the course materials and your classmate's arguments. If your perspectives have widened and become more nuanced, you are thinking critically! 

University is designed to do many things, not the least of which is to open your mind to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Keeping a flexible, open and critical mind is the greatest gift you can give yourself during your university career and beyond. Anyone who spends significant time studying visual art at an advanced level quickly learns that the two simple-sounding question prompts from Module 2 are, in fact, anything but straightforward. How you answer these two questions may change several times before you graduate and perhaps throughout the following years as well.


E2 was an exploration of line through clean line, variation in line, contour and shape. How did your work turn out? Were you being thoughtful of symmetry, balance, dominance, harmony, or negative space? Are you actively thinking about the formal concerns of your work when you plan your compositions? Did your expectations meet your outcome? If not, what went wrong? Take a moment to note the strengths and weaknesses of your work. Note where you want to grow. 

Module 3 is called "What is Original and Authentic." Often, those new to art are emotionally invested in the stories history paints for us of the mystical "artist-god" who harnesses an unbelievable gift of a creative spark that is out of this world. Sometimes, a fixation on this "magic" can distract from the really interesting work of art as a process -- that is to say, the magic that happens in the collision between the artist, the art object, the viewer and the world. What opportunities might open up for us as artists and viewers if we let go of the idea of originality and authenticity? Is there something lost? These are questions we will now explore. 

Module 3 Tasks

  1. Read: "Everything You Know About Art is Wrong" by Matt Brown

  2. Watch: "Tim's Vermeer" (2013) Film clip

  3. Read: "Vermeer was an authentic artistic genius – even if he did cheat" by Simon Jenkins

  4. Watch: Guy Trefler “Not Mine” Caption: “This is my graduate project in Graphic Design at the HIT college in Israel. My thesis is that nothing is original, therefore, none of the materials presented in the project were made by me. All of the 469 photos used in this video were taken out of Google's image bank.”

  5. Do: Module 3 Forum Post (LINK)

  6. Watch: Demo (link)

  7. Do: Exercise #3 (E3)(link)

  8. Do: Work on MA1



Office C1402B

Candace Couse

Assistant Professor

School of Creative Arts

University of the Fraser Valley

Optional Additional Resources

Read: "The Myth of Originality in Contemporary Art" by David Hare, Art Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Winter, 1964-1965), pp. 139-142.

Watch: The Art of Photography "The Camera Obscura"

© 2008 by Candace Couse

Ontario, Canada