C. A. Pack

Musings & Brainstorms & Rants

Past and Future Artists Meet the Present


Decades ago, as a design major in college, I was once unceremoniously escorted out of the Emilio Pucci Lounge at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, for sketching some of the designs. I was working on a course assignment from a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, so the idea of “plagiarism” had never entered my consciousness. However, it was a word SFA employees bandied about, as a security guard showed me the door. In retrospect, it was the beginning of the end of my design career.

I can’t help but wonder if I would have felt less embarrassed if they had labeled me a
corporate spy. To a teenager, that might have seemed more sophisticated and less ugly than plagiarizer.


Fast forward to St. Petersburg, Russia in the 21
st century. On a recent tour of The State Hermitage Museum, I learned that art students in Russia are encouraged to copy the works of great masters.
And some of those students were quite good. There were the realists who matched brush stroke for brush stroke…


...and the more adventurist students, who gave old paintings a new twist.


The Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world and has a history that spans a quarter of a millennium. With a collection that includes nearly three million works of art, the museum holds a vast array of canvases to capture students’ attention.

Hermitage Bright

After having personally been denied the opportunity to do something similar years ago, I now feel exonerated. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.