Two evenings ago, at dinner, my son asked an amazing question for his ten years.
Samuel asked, “If someone broke into your studio and only stole a single painting, would you be angry or flattered?”
I didn’t know how to respond. It has taken two days of reflection, just to piece together a plausible answer. What I believe differentiates me as an artist as opposed to a hobbyist is my ability to perfectly recreate my own vision, on demand. With that in-mind, one could say that art must command a uniqueness that can only be effortlessly recreated by the original artist. In other words, for art to be true it cannot live as a single one-off of material possession. While it may never actually enter the process of duplication or regeneration by the artist, the capacity must exist during the life of the artist for it to have value. Not monetary value, because that is nothing more than a reflection of fashionable hive-type thought. Van Gogh’s work does not have inherent value if his contemporary markets are to be set-up as a reputable marker for success.
With that in mind, the only plausible answer is that one cannot take art from an artist, if someone could take my art, than that would nullify the fact that I am an artist. A thief can only steal the physicality of the item from the business entity purposed for selling the idea.
I would have no ethical reason to feel cheated, because my art would still exist. My only reasonable response is to be flattered.