Copyright Comfort Zone (repost)

(While thinking a lot about copyright over on Symbiartic, I thought I'd repost this piece from a couple of years ago.  Originally appeared May 2010 both here on The Flying Trilobite and at ART Evolved.) 
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In the past few posts of Going Pro, we've looked a lot at copyright. Again, a lot of people have opinions, but it's important to see what the legal definitions -and what steps you can take to protect your creations- really entail.

Today though, I want to propose a question.

Suppose you post a nifty image of a prehistoric critter online. It's awesome, you're proud, people give you kudos. You put it under a Creative Commons Licence, the most restrictive one that says your image a) must be attributed to you, b) cannot be altered, c) others cannot profit from it, and otherwise, it's okay to post and share.

1. Then someone copies it. Another blogger. Does their own riff. Are you okay with that?

2. What if they're more famous than you, getting lots of illustration gigs, but they notice it, do their own version, and give you a nod for your cool idea. Still excited, feeling the attention?

3. What if your painting happens to hit the zeitgeist and goes all viral all over the interwebs. Everyone is sharing it. There's a day on Facebook where all the users switch to you image. But you haven't made a dime.  What do you do?

We're in interesting territory. Personally, I don't believe overly restricting images (insanely huge watermarks, disabling right-clicking) are helpful to make a successful career anymore. But neither is completely open sharing.

Consider this:
[h/t Boing Boing]
It makes a strong case about question number 3, doesn't it? But how do you capitalize on that image going viral? How does it put food on the table?

I suggest it's how you parlay that viral dinosaur image into getting new contracts.

As for questions number 1 and 2, consider the post-modern, remixed, mash-up, variant-cover culture we live in. Think an Indiana Jones video game is fun? What about Indiana Jones Lego! Like Batman? Sharks? Lightsabers? Ta-da! (artist here) Authoring mash-ups and riffing on others' work is an integral part of pop culture.

Painting gets started at about the 4 minute mark in the video above.
[h/t to Boing Boing, again]

In the past, I've sometimes been the dissenting voice here at Art Evolved about all those posts showing past-art about upcoming themed galleries. I dislike them because sometimes attribution to the artwork cannot be easily found - though yes, as Peter and Craig have pointed out to me, sometimes we attribute an "orphan image" after the post goes up when a reader identifies it.

I'm uncomfortable with those posts because in a world of remixes and fun Photoshopped images, attribution and authorship can sometimes be your only coins to bank on. Literally.

Everyone has different comfort zones. Where do you feel comfortable with your images on questions 1-3 above?

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 Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Print Shop 

--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Image-Citation Citation - update

I've created a new, more compact, easier to understand Image-Citation Citation image for recipients to put on their blog, at the request of the commenters (thanks, peeps!)

Please feel free to forward to those who deserve it, and link back to the original post so we can keep a growing list. The url to link to easily is .

On a related note, art director extraordinaire Irene Gallo, who blogs at The Art Department has called out for more artist recognition in her post Who's awesome? Or, credit the artists!

Hit the link to read her thoughts and for more on the topic of artists' credit.
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Image-Citation Citation!

As I write this in early 2010, I must state I freakin' love blogs. As an artist-illustrator who blogs original content, one of the things I love most is when bloggers cite the artist, illustrator, graphic designer, photographer or image-maker who created the pictures that adorn their blog posts.

It doesn't happen enough. Too often, images are pasted on by a blogger to help make a point without recognition to those who work hard at creating image content. It's taken for granted that many images are freely used online (whether they are allowed to be or not). Artists' recognition shouldn't be neglected.

Images educate about new concepts, beg to be shared for their cheekiness and insight, and enhance the blogging world. We know this. Time to credit those who take the time to give image-credit where it is due. I hope this meme will spread through the blogosphere.

May I present, The Image-Citation Citation!

Share and award this blog award to bloggers who take the time to cite, backlink and applaud the people who create original images. Giving this award
doesn't mean you've read every blog post the author has penned since the phrase "web log" was used: it means you acknowledge those who regularly acknowledge our bloggy artistic treasures and jesters.

Download, right-click & save or request a copy of this image from me in another form or with a blog colour specific background, and I'll see what I can do. Email your award to the intended blogger with an explanation and backlink to here. I'd love it if you'd comment who you've awarded it to and why on this post, and backlink it if you are a recipient announcing your accolade.

To begin, I award the Image-Citation Citation to:

1) Lines and Colors by Charley Parker, for making the citing of image-makers a joy every post.

Not Exactly Rocket Science, by Ed Yong, for above average journalistic attention to citations and sources.

3) Infectious Greed by Paul Kedrosky, for taking the time to consistently show his infographic and illustration sources through labels and links.

Who do you award the Image-Citation Citation to?

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Edit, 21 Feb 2010: I've created a new, more compact, easier to understand Image-Citation Citation image for recipients to put on their blog, at the request of the commenters (thanks, peeps!)

Please feel free to forward to those who deserve it, and link back here so we can keep a growing list! The url to link to easily is .

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Science Online 2010: Art & Science intro

At the upcoming ScienceOnline2010 in January, I will be on hand again to lead a session discussing art & science, this time working alongside Felice Frankel. I thought I would do as last year, and put up some of the things I'm thinking about for this year's session in advance, so whether or not you will be attending, you can take part in this discussion. I don't presume to speak for Felice here, although after a wonderful phone call a few weeks ago, I think it's safe to say we'll be leading the discussion and not heatedly debating.

To follow this series of posts, click the "scio10art" label below.
(I will also be doing a workshop about digital painting with a tablet - for more on that, look for posts labelled with "scio10tablet".)

Let's get started.

From the wiki, "
How has our vocabulary of metaphors changed in the wake of scientific inquiry and visualization? This year, let’s take a trip through metaphors in science-based art and discuss how visual representations can enhance understanding, inspire wonder in science and the tension along the Accuracy-Artistic Divide."

Last year we discussed art, science, the two cultures, and I identified what I feel are various types of science-art. I also fretted about art being parasitic on scientific discovery, and could only identify a few instances where art propelled research.

This year, I'd like to focus on artistic metaphors in science imagery.

From The Free Dictionary, metaphors are: "
A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison...One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol...."

Visual metaphors are just that, symbols of one thing representing another, making a comparison, usually of their similarities. They have a rich history in art. The following example isn't necessarily related to science-images, but I feel it will be instructive about typical metaphor in fine art painting. This is one of my favourite paintings, alternatively known as Art or The Sphinx or The Caresses, by Fernand Khnopff, a Belgian Symbolist who painted this in 1896. To use this as one representative example, we see here a variety of metaphors. The artist is cheek to cheek with his muse, a rather androgynous, perhaps feminine version of himself (Khnopff favoured strong jawlines on the women he painted). They are alone in a landscape, alone with their thoughts, and seem to be communing. The artist gazes outward at the world, and the muse has closed eyes and a Mona Lisa-inspired smile, a typical Symbolist expression denoting "looking inward at the soul". The exotic cheetah stripes on the Sphinx also shows the wildness of the artist's thoughts.

Most of the metaphors I have just described were likely intended by Khnopff. In our contemporary view, one criticism we may employ is that many of the Symbolists portrayed the men as hero-poets in thrall to not-quite-human women, portraying their anxiety at turn of the century European culture.

It's one example, but The Sphinx begins to show us how many visual metaphors can be packed into a simple painting with two figures.

Next post: an overview of science art & imagery, categorizing them by type of metaphor.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Bring Bing Back!

We gotta bring Bing home.

Bing left home and has sent amazing photos back from across the Pacific. Some with little robots. I know that piqued your interest. Little robots! The photography is all that and a bag of squid-ink chips. (Except for that one where he has a giant Buddha stuck to his head. That's just weird.)

The Son of a Blue Guy is in Japan, and needs to get back to Minnesota. His new friends in Japan want to keep him there. In fact, they have threatened to hold him for ransom unless his North American friends and family do two things:

1. Answer questions about Japan/Nippon culture and cuisine.
2. Donate money to help his mother pay the plane fare for his trip.

It's tempting for a young man to stay in Japan, because so far he has found the food to be awesome and the shopping (even in vending machines) to be, let's say, "unique." In fact, the Japanese students think that if he stays long enough he could use his ninja powers to be Emperor someday. I don't think that this would be a good thing for world peace, as Bing has not worked out his "Megalomania" issues and bad things could happen.
So I've heard. The robots are in the photo for a reason after all.

The question The Flying Trilobite has been assigned to help Bing is:
The name “Japan” is an exonym. Exonyms are place-names not used in the native language nor by the native people. The endonyms for Japan are “Nippon” (formal) or “Nihon” (informal.) The origin of the word “Japan” is traced back to Portuguese sailors who adapted it from the language of:

a. Vietnam
b. Korea
c. Malaysia
d. Hawai'i

Click! Donate some cha-ching to bring Bing back! (A part of me wants him to bring giant conquering Gundams with nunchuk skills.)

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Art Monday: tangling some blue

Last week I was tagged by Mike of Tangled Up In Blue Guy with a blogging meme. So can I out-blue the Blue Guy?

Here are the rules:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random arbitrary things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Keeping a blue theme in mind, I'm going to change the rules a bit. I'll talk about my associations with colour, and things I often teach about pigments. Here we go.

Phthalocyanine Blue: Throughout university, this blue appealed to me. It has a green undertone which made it feel dirtier and more like a blue you'd encounter in a mysterious forest. Painting pale flesh tones was daunting early on, so I'd paint them in blue tones. Gradually I warmed up to greens with naples yellow, and then red with naples yellow. But blue was a safe place to start, so far removed from human pigment.

French Ultramarine: I'm going to say this out loud on the internet, and it's a scandal. I'm more nervous about admitting this to Mike than announcing to the world I'm an atheist. I hope we will still be friends. Mike's blog is named Tangled Up in Blue Guy after a song by Bob Dylan. I can't stand Bob Dylan. Oh, I'm not ashamed of this. Bob Dylan drives me nuts. No redeeming value to his music to my ears. This shouldn't be a surprise with what I've mentioned about music in the past. Mike, do I still have a free pass to comment on your blog? Or has it been revoked?

Mauve (blue shade): The Symbolist era of painting in the "Mauve 1890's" is the era I feel the strongest affinity to, though it is almost the antithesis of what I paint. Much of the fin-de-siecle angst was about harkening back to an earlier period of art, literature and myth. Fear of modernisation and industrialisation drive much of the subjects of art at this time. The Impressionist movement was largely ignored by artists I see as heroes, such as Redon, Deville, Moreau, and (my favourite) Khnopff. Instead they painted Salome with the head of John the Baptist, sphinxes and chimaeras, tombs and beautiful Mannerist-style bodies. I love the Symbolist aesthetic, but I am an artist in awe of science when it comes to my subject matter.

Indanthrene Blue: When walking my dog in a wooded park, sometimes we'd stop and I'd lie on my black and stare up at a deep blue autumn sky. And just try to absorb all - that - blue. Beautiful scattered light blue.

Cobalt Rose: Cobalt is an expensive, mildly toxic, strong tinting, long-lasting (we're talking centuries) blue pigment. And it reminds me of Dungeons & Dragons. In D&D, there are a type of goblin called kobolds. And the pigment is named after them, for the difficulty of mining it and for its poisonous nature.

Cerulean Blue: Go to an art gallery, and take a look at the religious paintings. (Go ahead, you can be an atheist and think they're beautiful, it's fine. Think of the talented humans who created them and be in awe.) You may notice that the virgin Mary is often wearing bright blue. No doubt some twisty theological logic may explain this. There's also a simpler economic reason.

Blues described as 'caeruleum' were quite expensive in medieval and Renaissance times. A patron would send the artist to the apothecary to purchase a certain amount of expensive pigments to pridefully show-off their piety. Who to paint in expensive colours? The most important person in the painting would be Jesus Christ. But he was mainly depicted as an infant or semi-nude in crucifixtio
n scenes.

So the expensive paint would adorn Jesus's mother, Mary. So you know. Praise blue.

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Time to meme-tag. I tag Bond's Blog, Of Two Minds, Laelaps, The Darkened Face of Heaven, Eastern Blot, and The Evilutionary Biologist.

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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.
Please visit my blog, gallery and reproduction store.

When blog-memes attack!

Jumpin' junebugs!

I've been blog-meme swarmed. Time to pay what's due and give some back. Beware, Flying Trilobite Blogrollers!
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The Me Meme
A surprise meme, inflicted upon me by Zach of When Pigs Fly Returns. Ha! I scoff at this one. Here are the rules:

1. Take a picture of yourself right now.
2. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
3. Post that picture with NO editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.

My camera was broken when Zach sneak-memed me. So my wife has snapped this surprise photo of me to make up for it.

Time to inflict more poorly coiffed surprise snaps on the populace. I tag Traumador, Emile, & Chris Zenga.
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The 5 Things Meme
Peter Bond of Bond's Blog is gettin' personal.
5 things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. Dating the girl who eventually married me
2. Sitting on a transparent blue inflatable couch
3. Living with a blue-fronted Amazon parrot roommate who loved cartoons
4. Lots of gothy clubbing
5. Sporting black-light sensitive dyed hair

5 things on my to do list today:
1. Work on commissioned artwork
2. Conduct interviews at my job
3. Spike my hair up
4. Admire my wife
5. Read SEED article with Craig Venter

5 snacks I love:
1. Listerine pocket packs
2. Espresso, properly run long into an Americano
3. Multigrain Tostitos & salsa
4. Apples, except for those vile 'red delicious' ones. Ew.
5. Raisin bran muffins

5 things I would do if I was a millionaire:
1. Donate buckets of cash to The Beagle Project
2. Start a campaign to outlaw 'red delicious' apples
3. Go back to school, take something in biology
4. Find time to paint more often
5. Never hear the words "student loan" again

5 places I've lived:
1. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (until I was 6)
2. Beach area, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3. St Mike's Hospital for a few days, Toronto
4. In an apartment with a dance major and a theatre major, Toronto
5. In the Little Italy/Portugal/Brazil area, Toronto.

5 jobs I've had:
1. Clown handing out flyers
2. American Sign Language Interpreter
3. Coffee shop barista
4. Art supply store manager
5. Freelance illustrator

5 people I'll tag: Stephanie, Mike, Kris, Mo, & Sean.
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6 Random Things Meme
A new contact has tossed this meme at me: I've been clobbered by The Darwin Report.
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. My heritage includes Irish, Jamaican, Panamanian, English & Dutch.
2. In high school I wrote an illustrated book about vampires and it won an award.
3. I'm learning to love spiders. Small ones.
4. At one point, I considered seriously changing my first name to "Hyper".
5. If the bulkhead doors on an underwater oil rig are slamming shut due to flooding, I'll be saved by the metal of my wedding ring. (anyone guess what it's made of?)
6. I plan on ignoring rules 5 & 6 on this meme.
For the 6 Random Things meme, I tag Chris Zenga, Geoff, Craig, Thrawn, Humblewoodcutter, & Heather.
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Whew! Glad that's over. I guess now I'll need to start selling that photo in my online shop.

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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.
Please visit my blog, gallery and reproduction store.

Ooo, a sparkly statue! Blog Award!

Arte y Pico Award!

This art-blogging meme award was bestowed upon The Flying Trilobite by the inimitable Leslie d'Allesandro Hawes! In her words, "The Flying Trilobite Glendon Mellow at The Flying Trilobite, Art in Awe of Science, deserves this award. And I think it’s his birthday."

In actuality, it's my very merry unbirthday. Have a cup of tea, Leslie!
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So, this is one of those blogging-award memes. Here's how it works:

1) Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and contributions to the blogger community, regardless of language.
2) Create a post showing your choices of award winners. Include the name of the winning blog and a link to that blog, to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winning blog, has to show the award and put the name and link back to the blog that has given her or him the award.
4) Each Award winning blog and the one who has given the prize should show this link:
“Arte y Pico“ showing the origin of this award. (The original blog originates from Uruguay. Here is a translation of the Arte y Pico blog.)
5) Show these rules.

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I have a ton of artistic types on my blogroll. So for now, these are my picks, each excellent in their artistic skill, their frequency of posting and their openness to discussion on their respective blogs.

1. Druantia Art - by Heather Ward. Heather is a master of drawing animals, and frequently shares her talent in the form of tips and techniques. A favourite of mine: Moonrise Message. This one speaks to me on so many levels.

2. State of the Art - by Jeff Hayes. An oil painter who paints every day. In centuries to come, people will look back on Jeff's miniature series and try to glean what our culture was like. A favourite of mine: Chocolate and Foil. It's all about the foil.

3. Eric Orchard Illustration. Illustrator of children's books and steampunk, there's dark whimsy in Eric's work. Terrific discussions in the comments, too. A favourite of mine: Experimental Mermaid, displayed on Eric's blogiversary.

4. Hammered Out Bits - by Darrell Markewitz. Darrell was once a teacher of mine when I was a lad. A fascinating artisan-blacksmith, Darrell is keeping alive traditions that will help us all when the robot uprising takes over computers. Favourites: Just look through the decorative work, and thank me when you've finished re-modelling.

5. Tiny Aviary - by Diana Sudyka. I lived with a blue-fronted Amazon parrot for over ten years, some years ago. What I love is how Diana captures the expressions birds have on their faces. Two favourites of mine: Red-Winged Blackbird for the lush black wings, and Diana's Darwin with Finches in support of The Beagle Project.

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Take a bow in your studios! (Or your forge. If you have a forge.)

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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details. Please visit my

blog, gallery and reproduction store.

more than scribbles in the margin?

The Flying Trilobite's 1st Blog Award!

The headmistress of The Free Range Academy has bestowed upon The Flying Trilobite's humble cephalon the E for Excellent Blog Award!

This is a pay-it-forward meme of sorts, as well as an award. In accepting it, it needs to also be granted to ten blogs chosen by the recipient. This is tough: I'm adding to my blogroll all the time.

I'd love to grant it back to The Free Range Academy if I could. If you love reading about parenting, science and the myriad experiences growing up in Ontario offers to kids, you gotta check this site out. Leslie's Blog is another vibrant community drawn to Leslie Hawes, artist & personality. However, since Leslie granted the award to The Free Range Academy, I will leave them off my list of ten. Presenting in no particular order...

I solemnly swear to grant the E for Excellent Blog Award to:

1. Fresh Brainz - For a blog about neuroscience and rationality to be so eclectic and wild and just plain bonkers, I need to grant this award to where my brain goes for a freakout.

2. Life Before Death - Reflective, sensible, insightful, witty and recently, frequent photos of the bees the author keeps.

3. Traumador the Tyrannosaur - written from the point of view of a Canadian ex-patriot living in New Zealand. Oh and he's an extra-small tyrannosaur. There needs to be a movie with videogame tie-in. And action figures.

4. Retrospectacle - I know Shelley Batts' blog is ending/spawning soon. What is it about neuroscience students that makes them so well-informed about weird things that really matter? Needs another award.

5. Sentient Developments - serious, thoughtful, and about nothing less than humanity's future, this blog is strange and vital.

6. Jesse Graham's Art - J. Graham's art is playful and tiptoes up behind you with the kind of drawings you wish you'd thought of. A talent unfettered by narrative.

7. Metamagician & the Hellfire Club - smart, concise, and the type of writing that needs no pictures. For freethinkers, science-types and Russell Blackford's groupies.

8. Olduvai George - The art of Carl Buell, no longer being updated regularly. I don't care; this blog is the gateway I rush through there to see what new stuff materializing in Carl's Flickr account. Real extinct artiodactyls make the concept of a unicorn look just lazy.

9. Zooillogix - captions so funny it actually makes me snort espresso out my nose. And it's about zoology.

10. Page 3.14 - I never know what I'm going to find here. And I really look forward to finding it. SEED magazine's editors know how to interview and uncover the things you didn't know you wanted to know.

Please enjoy the awards! Mine will sit on my mantle, next to my trilobite fossils and favourite paint brush I had dipped in gold. (It doesn't spread the paint as well as it once did, but -man alive!- it can keep it's tip pointy...)