(Girl with a Pearl Earring, after Vermeer (VIII) 74cm x 69cm - artwork by Jane Perkins)
I've been thinking a lot about ways to repurpose the painfully learned lessons of musicians in the constantly self-disrupting music industry to the kind of art I'm trying to make.
Musicians who bootstrap on platforms like YouTube seem to gain their biggest bursts of new attention through doing covers.
There is a relatively simple and accessible legal and licensing framework in the music industry to allow this, but I'm not sure if such a thing exists in the art world, or how the concept of covers would actually translate.
There is a difference between performing someone else's composition and simply copying someone else's imagery.
To do covers in art, maybe you'd need to make sure you stick to public domain classics, and don't just do an academic copy, but translate the medium somehow, like Jane Perkins in the image above.
Or else riff on the image by altering it in some interesting way, like this take on Gainsborough's Blue Boy:
(I've been digging around for the provenance of this image. The best I can come to is that it might be a manipulation by Kiel Bryant. If you know me to be wrong about that, I'd love the correction.)
Musicians who do covers are able to experiment with their medium within a set of clear boundaries, focus on their musicianship and performance, and reach a wider audience who are pleased to listen to a familiar piece in a new way.
These would be benefits to a visual artist as well, I think.