Common Creativity

In a previous entry, I talked about my decisions to make my Flickr portfolio, for the most part, creative commons licensed.

Well, curiosity got the better of me, so I went out looking on the Googles for pictures of mine.

First I had to get through the weeds. There are a few websites that offer up Flickr galleries for backgrounds and such, as well as one that just offers up Flickr again (I think for looks, mainly).

I did actually find some people using my pictures for things out there. I just thought I’d highlight a few.

screenshot for timetokickbuts.comFirst is one of my desert road shots. This was taken with my iPhone, then highly modified with Snapseed. The site,, takes quotes, mostly inspirational, and adds them to images to increase the affect. I like this because it is not only someone using my work, but they have done something with it. Transformation works are allowed under the BY license I chose.  That picture is a combination of two people who have never met. Pretty cool, I’d say. And, well, the quote is pretty good too. (though I think we should do some for ‘writing’, Doris!)

The second is “all work and no play”. This picture was created using Type-writer, a little app that is too much fun to play with some days. It pretends to be a typewriter, with sounds and the joys of no delete. Oh, backspace works, but the letter stays. The post is good too, talking about the iPad and the writing environment. Sometimes less is more. the constraints of the typewriters provided, perhaps, a more focused approach to writing. Surely we see some return to this with the rise of distraction free writing programs, such as ByWord (my weapon of choice for iPhone/iPad/computer writing these days)

The last is coffee shark sleeps. This image is made with sketchbook mobile on my HTC Incredible using a stylus. It was a part of the 365 project, and specifically my all-fish-February. Coffee shark made a few appearances that month. The article is about technology, and apparently a shark dreaming about coffee. Which, I know, is a common thing. Actually it is about how technology is a force that contributes to changes in culture.

I found a few others, this blog uses a Trinidad picture for its background. This blog uses the same pictures just outright. This dictionary of stuff uses one of my Swedish panoramas in its entry for Stockholm. All very cool.

Oh, and what would the internet be without a blog of cats.

But… but… you weren’t PAID for any of that! No. No I wasn’t. And that is ok. Nothing above is a paying gig that I have somehow lost by licensing my stuff by CC. All of them have, as they were supposed to, credited me with the picture.

My only wish with all of this is that somehow I’d known about these things. I know that isn’t a part of the requirements… which I am certainly ok with. From an artist standpoint, I’d like to see what the kids are doing out there in the wild.

I’ve updated my Flickr profile with more information in hopes to get feedback when someone grabs a shot for something they are working on. Still, in the end, it is a good feeling to see that something I did wasn’t just appreciated by strangers, but used by them for something.

On why I use Creative Commons with my Flickr pictures

I remember the day. I was in Venice Beach, California with some friends. We were walking along the canal, and I swiped my friend’s new Nikon DSLR and snapped a shot of a boat on the water. When we got home I looked at it over and thought how this picture was something that could be sold, something that I wanted to protect.

Santa Monica Canals 1

So it sat on my hard drive for years. I’d show it off every once in a while, but it stayed hidden. Later I took more pictures, some from Death Valley, others just from vacation. All the while hiding them away.

Then the Art 365 project started and I began posting pictures on my Flickr more often. At this point I had been making (or attempting to make) art for a while. I had been unsuccessfully submitting stories and poems to get published, taking pictures, making drawings and hiding and hoarding my works away to prevent someone “stealing” it.

As I posted more pictures and drawings on Flickr I began to think more and more about content and copyright. Specifically I thought about me as the Internet / content user rather than the creator. I had thought a bit at this point on copyright itself, and how I thought things should be with other creators: art, music and movies.

So I asked myself, self, what are you getting out of this all rights reserved thing anyway? The answer for my Flickr was “not a whole lot”. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that worse case was someone wanted to use something they saw but did not because of that impending c in the corner.

Not that I believed that had happened yet… But still. I decided I should align my art with the way I thought that others should have theirs.

At first I picked the CC BY-NC license. Use my stuff, but not to make money. Then I thought more and changed it to just CC BY. Use my stuff, anyway you want, just credit me for it.

I am not giving up my copyright on my work. Far from it. Creative commons uses the copyright laws to allow for this license. These drawings, pictures, are still mine. But now I have given them an open license. Now if someone is making an album cover for their band, or wants to make a website with desert pictures, or just wants to use a picture of a cherry tree on a flyer they made, they can, without worrying about a lawyer.

And what would I get out of that situation? Recognition, viewership, however you want to phrase it. What I get is my pictures, my drawings, out there in the world, seen.

More importantly, my perspective on my art had changed. No longer was I content with hiding this stuff on my hard drive just on this promise, this hope, that someone would pay me for it. I made it to be seen, read, and heard. There is no promise that someone will pay for any of it. But there is a promise that hidden on my hard drive, no one will know it exists.

And my writing? I’ll talk about that in another post, but my thoughts are coming along the same way.