|Artist Banksy using the all to famous quote from Picasso.|
I have overheard the following statement a number of times in response to my question "so what are you thinking about doing for this assignment.
"I found this thing online, its really cool, I think I am going to do that."
I know a number of students that consider fumbling through stumbleupon as "research" and although a practice that can get creative juices flowing I do not believe it is a healthy practice for idea searching. Ideas can be found anywhere but the catch is that they need to be authentic in a larger hope of being something original. What I am talking about is totally different than the current exhibition in the Anne Wright Wilson Gallery by Black & Jones. It is not using things that are previously generated as new raw material for an original idea. It is students that see no problem with finding "their ideas" in someone else's and representing that "idea" through the use of their or someone else's work.
I know how easy it is to see something or hear something and think "That is exactly what I was thinking/believe/what to communicate". That is ok to think that but students need to then use some moral discrepancy not only in the area of copyrights and plagiarism but in their artistic integrity. You should want to make something new, not just something someone has not seen before. I often have a laugh at Evelyn Fuson (a current senior in our art department). She will often find things and share them with me and I have seen them before so it became a fun game where she would try to find things I had never seen. It also made me look a lot since I didn't want to "lose". I give the example of a class I taught a number of years ago entitled paperworks. The first exercise was to make a paper airplane they had never made before. I did a simple google search and made the first 10 I found. Then did the same for the searches "best paper airplane", "Crazy paper airplane", and "unique paper airplane". I came into class and had the students share their airplanes then I displayed some of the top hits I had found. It was obvious that students were all doing the same "research". I had them do it again and once again they displayed theirs and I shared from the second batch of searches and only one had something different then I had found in a simple search. Many forms of research exist, make sure to make the best use of your time and efforts in how yours is conducted.