Jessica Rashbaum

Art 85

Assignment 4

Due December 2nd 2014

The age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Many can argue one or the other, but there is no correct answer. This concept is similar as well for artists and designers. Do artists copy designers? Do designers copy artists? In this paper, we are going to look at artists and designers’ work that are greatly similar and discuss who influences who. We will also discuss the concept of high and low art. This is debating which type of artistic style is viewed as more creative and valuable.

Before we compare artists and designers, I am going to discuss high and low art. The concept of high and low art could be traced back to the eighteenth century where people compared fine arts with craft. One definition of high and low art is that “high art is appreciated by those with the most cultivated taste. Low art is for the masses, accessible and easily comprehended.” I would consider very realistic paintings like those of Raphael to be very high art. The techniques used to portray realistic scenes takes a lot of skill and time to create such beautiful works of art. In my opinion, high and low art is not an exact science, it is all based on individuals’ preferences and thoughts. Some people might like a piece while others do not. It is all personal opinions. “People who feel strongly that high art is good and low art is bad will think of low art as something to be avoided. Others take a more tolerant position. They hold high art to have higher value, but see low art as “having a place”.”

The two works of art above could be considered very similar. The work on the left is by designer Muriel Cooper and the work on the right is by artist Sonia Delaunay. Both pieces work with simple shapes and lines. Delaunay uses circles and lines to create a spiral shape. Cooper uses different shapes to form a spiral and circular feeling to her work.  Delaunay considers her work of art a “mere exercises in color.” She uses “liberating color, movement and form from two dimensions.” Muriel Cooper uses a pop of color in her piece. The purple and slight touch of contrasting yellow forms the illusion of the spiral being three-dimensional.

As we can see by the dates, Sonia Delaunay created her piece much earlier than Muriel Cooper. Some people may say Cooper was inspired by Delaunay and copied some of her ideas. I believe it is possible that Cooper did copy, but I also think it is very much plausible for the works to have nothing to do with each other. In some cases, the art and deign might be exactly alike to where one work was copied by another. However, for this design by Cooper, it might just be a coincidence that they look similar. I believe there is no one creator of this type of spiral effect. Everyone has similar ideas. This is why when we study history; we see similar ideas and inventions by civilizations that never had any contact with one another.  We cannot be sure that this is inspired by Delaunay unless the designer confirms so. As I mentioned before, the concept of low and high art is all very opinionated. Being a designer myself, I know what work it took for Cooper to create her piece of work. I would consider this work to be high art. However, many people would think otherwise.


I believe it is very obvious that these two works above are very similar. Designer Jennifer Moria designed the work to the left and the work to the right is by artist Roy Lichtenstein. “Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings based on comic strips are synonymous with Pop Art.” The style of Pop Art includes making tiny dots that when viewed from far away, create the sense of a solid color. Moria was highly influenced by the Pop Art style. She may not have taken inspiration from Roy Lichtenstein himself, but from Pop Artists as a whole. Her use of dots and primary colors are exact replications of Pop Artists’ work. Pop Artists draw their own people, however it looks like Jennifer Moria took a photograph of a person and created the Pop Art dots on top of the photograph. Moria also added her own personal touch with typography and experimented with different tints and shades of primary colors. She also exaggerates her dots as opposed to the tiny dots of Lichtenstein.

It is difficult to determine if these works are high or low art. The purpose of Pop Art was to get rid of the concept itself. “By creating paintings or sculptures of mass culture objects and media stars, the Pop art movement aimed to blur the boundaries between “high” art and “low” culture. The concept that there is no hierarchy of culture and that art may borrow from any source has been one of the most influential characteristics of Pop art.” “The subject matter became far from traditional “high art” themes of morality, mythology, and classic history; rather, Pop artists celebrated commonplace objects and people of everyday life, in this way seeking to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art.” Today, many people would consider Pop Art as fine art, therefore making it high art as well. I believe both pieces are high art. I love the style of Pop Art. I love the vibrancy of primary colors. I think my love for Pop Art is what drew me into Jennifer Moria’s design.

Who influenced whom? Is it stealing? Is it copying? We honestly don’t know the answers. Yes we can calculate which came first based on dates, but we cannot be entirely sure if a person copied another person’s work. We also cannot create a definite answer for high or low art because everyone has different opinions and preferences based upon art and design. However, we can conclude that it does seem that people constantly look at other people’s works to inspire their own.