The Art is Always Free

Welcome to the blog!

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”― Oscar Wilde

Hello friends it’s Friday.  The “yes-it’s-the-weekend, I’m going to be productive, and have the biggest glass of wine possible type of feeling.  Yes, it’s here, and …It’s a good day to have a good day.

This week, I got out to take a walk and saw a great museum exhibit called ONE WITH ETERNITY: Yayoi Kusama at the Hirshhorn (Smithsonian, DC). All the Smithsonian museums are only 15 minutes from my job. I also had my yearly Mammogram …whop-whop for self-care and go me!

I’m an advocate for all kinds of art and I have switched from using photography to mostly art as my headers on the blog.  I also have a few in my home, but as you know art …whether physical or digital can be expensive.  But did you know there’s a way to get art for free via the public domain?

What is the Public Domain?

If a book, song, movie, or artwork is in the public domain, then it is not protected by intellectual property laws (copyright, trademark, or patent laws)—which means it’s free for you to use without permission. As a general rule, most works enter the public domain because of old age. (Stamford University)

What this means for you, is that you can download the art for free, then take it to your big box store and have it printed in any size you want and use it how you would like.

What I’ve Noticed in Certain Shops

It’s no secret that I love to get art on Etsy, but a lot of the time this art is already free via the public domain.  What the seller has done is enhanced the photo (i.e., made it sharper or brought out the colors by enhancing and improving the image quality), and then sells it to the consumer (digitally) for under $10 dollars.

Don’t get me wrong it takes time to digitally enhance photos and art.  Serious hours are required to bring out just the right enhancement.  What bothers me is that some of the sellers don’t list the actual name of the artist or the art piece.  Let’s give some credit to those who created this art.

Case in point, I purchased a piece that was entitled Woman, Moody Original artwork c. 1800s, and the image is beyond beautiful. But it just so happened (about a month later) I was searching the public domain (for African American Artists) and found the same artwork, with the artist’s name and title.

Portrait of the Artist’s Mother
Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1897
Source: Wikimedia Commons

I was blown …that one I spent money but two, there was no credit to the original artist. Here is the link to the “free” image on Wikimedia Commons. I want to give credit where credit is due and say that the Etsy shop did a fantastic job of enhancing the portrait bringing out the moodiness of the print, the folds in her dress, and the actual color, so that’s what I paid for, but I also know in future to always check the public domain for art.

Small Collection of Favorites on the Public Domain

Here is a small collection of my favorites via the public domain.  If you like any of these photos or want to search for more, click on the links listed below.  I would highly recommend going to the actual website that I provide to download the art to make sure you get the best image quality possible.

I will also add most of these sources to my “free downloads” section on the blog.

Birmingham Museum Trust, Moseley Old Hall, Wolverhampton
Walter Craine, Italian Farmhouse (1871-1873)
J. Howard Iams Chair-Round-A-Bout (1937) Original from The National Gallery of Art
Henry Scott Tuke, Beach Study (1928)
Henry Oswana Tanner, Booker T. Washington (1917)
Francisco de Zurbarán, Still Life
John La Farge, October Hillside, Noonday (1860)
McGill Library, Canada Lynx
McGill Library, Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)

Public Domain Art Sources

Check out a few of these sites for free art.  It does require a bit of searching but if you’re in the mood to browse there are thousands of free art images.

Paul Getty Trust
Wikimedia Commons
Art Institute of Chicago
Yale University Art Gallery
Raw Pixel

Thank you for spending a little time with me here today.  Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any new episodes.  Have a great weekend. — Peace

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