What is originality? What ‘creates’ originality? What can we define as ‘original’? How can we be original?

Originality is something which is impossible to find in Art & Design. We can look back over the years and find artists which have be dubbed as original, using styles, trends, techniques and structures others have done years before them. This works for most subject areas – you can never be truly honest in saying you’re totally original as someone may have done the same designs centuries, decades, year, weeks or days before you.

Then if we do find out someone hasn’t been original and ‘copied’ someone, what do we call them? Is the art a form of concept? Is it a fake; a ‘try-hard’? Or is it just a different way that the original art has been portrayed? Whenever we see a piece of design, we always create assumptions – what we think of the design, what it means, what we do different – especially as creatively-driven people.

One artist who is very current who has evidence of this in his (or even her, but I will refer to as he) work is Banksy. Nicknames the Art Terrorist, he has taken photographs, images and painting and applied his own style to them. The world famous graffiti artist has done many versions of the Famous ‘Mona Lisa’ – using her smiling face holding various weapons and ‘revealing’ parts of her body. All of these pieces hold a message to the outside world, but could also be looked upon to be more to do with Mona than we think at first – showing her imperfections. Banksy has not ‘recreated’ the Mona Lisa, so he is still being original, unlike other artists I could have mention, and I sure many of my fellow students will, but I wanted to show another side, whether it be right or wrong, of an artist using artists ‘idea’ as his own.

I’m by no means saying Banksy isn’t original – he may have been the first to bring this style to the underground scene, or he may not, but no-one can deny he was, and still is, one of the most influential artist on the graffiti-art scene, and has shown a lot of the world another side to street art.

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