Did Andy Warhol Steal This Portrait? – Art Club

Happy Friday artists, art lovers, and parents of creative kids and teens! Welcome to Art Club: Sparketh’s weekly round-up of the latest in art news, creative resources, trending art challenges (and more.) If you love the arts and creativity, you’re in the right place! 

Today, we’re talking about a Supreme Court case battle for the rights to a famous Prince portrait (and the HUGE implications about creativity attached to the verdict). You’ll also find some new viral and trending art ideas to inspire you this week, and more!

Art News: Did Andy Warhol Steal this Portrait… or Borrow Inspiration?

Where do we draw the line between inspiration and theft? And what impact will the verdict have on contemporary art and artists? These are questions being posed to the Supreme Court…a group not typically asked to solve existential debates of the art world.

The case at hand concerns a famous portrait the iconic musical artist, Prince, by the iconic visual artist, Andy Warhol.

Most of us know Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) as the American artist who led the Pop Art Movement with his brightly colored, silkscreen prints of celebrities and well-known public figures. He also frequently used his art as social commentary. Prince or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince  (1958 -2016) is known for his unique musical style which produced fifteen, No. 1 top hits worldwide.

Warhol frequently used photography as the basis for his drawings, which he commonly traced with a blotted line technique (warhol.org). He also used this technique in his famous portrait of Prince. However, celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith recently claimed that the work belonged more to her than it did to Andy Warhol, or to the Warhol Foundation.

Why now?

The portrait is from the 1980s, so why is it current news? In 1984, Vanity Fair paid celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith $400 for her portrait of Prince to be used as a one-time “artist reference” for Andy Warhol. Warhol’s work was then featured on the cover of the magazine, and the artist ultimately created 16 silkscreen portraits from the original photograph.

The copyright debate, and subsequent litigation, came up much more recently. Per The New York Times: “When Prince passed away in 2016, Vanity Fair’s parent company, Condé Nast, published a special issue celebrating his life. It paid the foundation $10,250 to use a different image from the series for the cover. Ms. Goldsmith received no money or credit.” But more than 10 grand is at stake. According to ArtNews, those illustrations have also been  “copyrighted by Warhol and have since been sold and reproduced for hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Hundreds. Of. Millions.

As of this month, the case has risen all the way up to the Supreme Court, with opinions chiming in from both sides of the debate: who owns the rights to this (now even more famous) portrait?

Defining Fair Use…and Artistic Transformation.

The has sparked a lot of conversation about where we should draw the line that entitles a creative work to be permitted under “Fair Use.”

“Fair Use” is a term often used in copywriting. Often in the art world (and in this case) something may be called Fair Use if it has been “transformed” to a degree where it then becomes a new work of art. According to copyright laws which have been previously established by the Supreme Court, art has been transformed if it “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning or message.”

So now the Court must decide not only where the money belongs, but essentially if Andy Warhol’s work is transformative or not. It’s a big question that ultimately asks about creativity and the fine-line of inspiration. Good luck, Supreme Court members.

I know what I think, readers, but what do you think?  You can check out both Prince renderings below and reach your own conclusions! 

On the left: original photograph of Prince by Lynn Goldsmith.

On the right: silkscreen rendering of Prince by Andy Warhol.

Read more about the current court case here. 

Viral Art: Re-imagining Childhood Art!

You know when there are no debates when it comes to Fair Use? When you are getting inspired by your own work! This week on YouTube, artist Moriah Elizabeth posted a viral video where she explores her own childhood art to get inspired as an adult. Check it out below and try it at home!

This is such an awesome idea for any and all artists looking for inspiration. Not only is a great reminder of the creativity that comes so naturally to young kids, but it also provides an opportunity to see how you’ve grown as an artist and to examine how you may see the same things differently, now. No matter your age or skill-level, give this art idea a try at home this week!

Art News: Museum Gives Color-Blind Visitors a Special Experience

We know that art museums aim to help their visitors see the world a little bit differently, but The Dallas Museum of Art is taking that concept to the next level. This art institution is giving visitors with color vision deficiency (CVD) the chance to view art in vivid color through the use of special glasses!

According to  ArtNet.com,  the “Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is teaming up with EnChroma, a company that specializes in the production of glasses with lenses that adjust to change color perception, to give color blind visitors a chance to experience the full spectrum of some of the museum’s most vibrant paintings.”

The glasses are specifically for those with red-green color vision deficiency. Visitors can go to the museum’s Website ahead of time to reserve a pair during their visit. This is amazing news and truly in the spirit of what we hope to do when visiting art museums. I’m hoping to see this type of service offered by increasingly more art museums, worldwide!

Read more about it here! 

Trending Art: Spooky October Art

It’s Halloween season, which means scary movies, apple cider, fun costumes and spooky art are all trending! Here are some currently trending Halloween-inspired art pieces from TikTok. Maybe one of these trends will inspire you to create your own!

The below video on TikTok by @petalpunkpaints pulled inspiration from the Tim Burton classic, Beetlejuice, this week!


Replying to @just_a_dumb___bitx Mixed Media BeetleJuice Painting 💚 #arttok #artober #paintingart #horrormovieart #halloweenart

♬ Speak Up – is0kenny

@ktcanvases took inspiration from a simple prompt: “ghost in a library” and created this fun, detailed, story-driven piece!


Replying to @pdubberly1223 ghosts are in the library!! 👻 print on ktscanvases.com #ktscanvases #spookyszn #spookyseason #halloweendecor #halloween #booktok #bookshelf #spookyart #ghosts #cuteghost

♬ original sound – katie | ktscanvases

This colorful, mixed media piece by @gretlusky combines some classic Halloween imagery in a fun, new way!


🎃✨🐁 #sketchbook #artprocess #drawing #traditionalart #fyp #foryou #halloween #spooky #pumpkinseason

♬ Witch Familiar (Classical) [Classic](143628) – dice

See you back here next Friday for a new edition of Sparketh Art Club!