Data + Design Project

Is it Copying, Remixing, or Just Chance? Website asks of similar artworks: Who Wore It Better?

Sunday 08.11.2013 , Posted by
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Call it a copy, call it a tribute… we might think we’re in the age of the remix, but we’re not: this has been going on for a long, long time. Just check out the mind blowing Everything is a Remix series by Kirby Ferguson or these creative comparisons from a fantastic site that asks: Who Wore It Better? Whether it’s Roy Lichtenstein directly appropriating comic book art from Joe Simon & Jack Kirby (and making a small fortune on the subsequent paintings), or van Gogh reworking Jean-François Millet’s painting in his own impressionistic style, there have been centuries of inspired ideas passed from one creative individual to the next… and even our most exalted heroes of creativity aren’t exempt from the practice. After all, as Picasso reportedly said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”

See Also Monster Makeovers on Vintage Paintings

The range of work displayed on Who Wore It Better is interesting for a number of reasons, one being that not all the examples were inspired by (or copied from) the other example. Often similar ideas appear at about the same time in history (perhaps the product of the right combination of ideas merging at one time). How many people with brilliant ideas have shown up at the patent office only to find that it’s already (just) been done? A lot of frustrated people!

Another reason these are interesting is how often ideas have been directly copied or remixed with great results. Just look at the work of street artists like Banksy or the previously mentioned paintings by Lichtenstein. In these works, copying and remixing is the name of the game. Check out some of our favorite examples below, then hit up Who Wore It Better where you can submit your own doppelganger artworks.

Above: David Hammons’ Bliz-aard Ball Sale, and Jan Huijben’s Sand Ball Sale
Below: Joe Simon & Jack Kirby’s Panel From Girls’ Romances #78, and Roy Lichtenstein’s In the Car
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Pierre Clement’s Le Relief, and Jim Sanborn’s Green River, Utah
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Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s Target Practice, and Lucien Smith’s Pie Painting
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Eelus’ Not Everything is so Black & White, and Banksy’s Nola
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Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog, and Paul McCarthy’s Balloon Dog
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Jean-François Millet’s Two Men Turning Over the Soil, and Vincent van Gogh’s Two Peasants Digging
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via laughingsquid

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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