The Commons on Flickr


A ridiculous amount of Inspiration has been heading my way over the last few weeks.

The more I delve into the world of Photoshop, the more I realise I don’t have a sufficient amount of photographs to work with.  My skills with the camera are limited and I don’t have lots of time to take endless amounts of stock images.  You can search the internet and find copyright free images to use but sometimes the licenses are a bit vague and I’m always wary of just taking what I want!

Then I found two Photoshop/digital artists that I love and found they’ve led me back to Flickr.  Both Jim Kazanjian and Jane Long work digitally with images off the net.  They both create fantastic worlds digitally, using lots of layers.  Jane Long in particular can use up to 160 layers in one image.

Jane Long works with her own photos but also images from The Commons on Flickr, most notably in her Dancing with Costica series.

Jim Kazanjian combines up to 100 images from the internet to create surreal buildings and structures.

To be honest I’ve not done a huge amount with the Flickr account that I set up ages ago.  I created a few personal photo albums and put a few images on my public photostream.   I follow four accounts (so far!)

Jane used photos from the Costică Acsinte account on Flickr.  He was a Romanian war photographer who set up a studio after his discharge.  His portraits of the Romanian people are beautiful and tell rich stories in themselves.  Jane Long has taken some of those portraits and added another, magical spin to them.  While she approached the institute that runs the Flickr account for permission the photos were uploaded to The Commons section of Flickr.  The institutions that participate upload photographs from their collections that have “no known copyright restrictions”.  According to Flickr this is down to numerous reasons including expiration of copyright, a legal right to let others use them, or even that they have the copyright but no intention to “exercise control”.

When you search The Commons you can even search under certain parameters – I have started searching for images that can be used commercially and allow modifications.  As ever though, if in doubt, do your own research to be on the safe side! 

I’d love to say that I have found a lot of images that I am planning work around and that I have started some projects.  However, the Commons is one of the best internet rabbit holes I’ve ever found.

I’ve spent hours and hours browsing the photographs, I think I’ve learnt a few random things from history and I’ve definitely witnessed some amazing lives through these photos.  At some point I will start some art projects…

Lainey x


Giving Yourself Permission

I’ve bought quite a few arty books and magazines over the years.  Books filled with lots of inspiration and techniques.  A couple of them had a very cheesy “giving yourself permission” type of page.

You may have seen them.  “I give myself permission to create/make a mess/be my authentic self….”  etc.  I always thought they were a bit daft.

“Do what you love” is something you see everywhere.  But I’m going to admit that recently I have felt that what I love is really rubbish…lol.  Whatever I try I’m always drawn back to collage. I feel it’s rubbish.  Not when other people do but when I do it.  It feels like I’m pretending to be artistic.

I love collages that other artists do.  I think their imaginations and inspirations are amazing and I can look at peoples work for hours.

When I do it, it feels like I’m cheating.  It’s easy and I’m having so much fun!  My Etsy shop and blog has been through many incarnations and the only time I made sales was with my collages.  Shouldn’t I be happy about that?  I wasn’t because I felt like I was cheating.  I wanted to tell people that all I’d done was cut out pictures and stick them together.  My customers weren’t stupid, they knew that.  But I still felt like a fraud.  A fraud who looked at other artists’ collages and saw art, but couldn’t see it in mine.

Recently I’ve tried to do other things but I can’t get away from collage and I’m still learning Photoshop and having so much fun and I have so many ideas.  I keep remembering a conversation with an artist on holiday in Wales  a few back who told me to find my thing and “do it with Conviction!”  she was so passionate she almost shouted it at me.

I think it’s all about intention and conviction.  I’m intending to create art with conviction.  I’m doing the cheesy thing and giving myself permission!

I’ve read enough blogs and spoken to enough artists to know that we’ll always feel insecure or even fraudulent.  It won’t go away.  But I’ll be doing what I love.

Lainey x

From wallflower to sunflower…