Steal like an artist? Really? Duh! My work is 100% original.
If you’ve this perception, then it’s going to take a transformation. Because Austin Kleon’s book “Steal like an artist” is conveying the truth differently and that’s what we are serving in your plate today.
Austin published a book under the name of “Newspaper Blackout” (2010) which is a compilation of all the newspaper clippings showing those words that were of importance to him while rest got blacked out. This idea was adopted from Tom Philips who once walked into a bookstore and picked up the first Victorian novel he found. He drew, painted, and collaged over the pages, while leaving some of the original text to show through. The final product was a new story with a new protagonist, called “A Humument” (1970).
On digging deeper, Philips’s work was again influenced by the cutup method of writing (1920s) from Burroughs, who got the idea from his friend Brion Gyson. Tristan was again found to have contributed to the same idea in earlier years. Eventually, it could be traced back to 1760s when Caleb Whitford read across the columns of the newspaper to read out poetry and humor along with his friends thus, confirming a 250 years old history of finding poetry in the newspaper.
So, Is Austin a thief? Yes. For as Picasso said, Good artists copy. Great artists steal. And Austin did the same. He stole like an artist by digging deeper and deeper- collected the ideas from his influencers, made his family tree and created a masterpiece of his own. Difference lies in the fact that we respect the influencer’s work and a great artist loves them.
Everything that we’re seeing around us is a remix or a mashup of something originally done. And what that stands out is unoriginal. Be it about the songs, artworks, poems, speaking skills or even our genetics, nothing is original.
All humans are artists for we collect ideas. And those who collect them selectively win the race. So, let’s see a few ways on how to steal like an artist.
1. Select effectively
Nothing is Original. Out of 100 ideas available, you should choose 1 suitable idea and move onto the next. Because every new idea is a mashup of other ideas thus validating, 1+1=3. Your idea is a genealogy of ideas.
You have a mother and you have a father. You possess features from both of them, but the sum of you is bigger than their parts. You’re a remix of your mom and dad and all of your ancestors.
2. Get rid of the imposter syndrome
It is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. It means that you feel like a shame, like you’re just winging it, that you really don’t have any idea what you’re doing. Guess what? None of us do.
Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things. Just take a shot because life is all about creating yourself and not finding yourself.
3. Write the book you want to read
Scratch your own itch. Open up stuff from your wish list. Draw the art you want to see, make the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read. And the best way to find the work you should be doing is to think about the work you want to see done that isn’t being done, and then simply hit it.
4. Let your hands do the magic.
Lynda Barry says: “In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits! Your hands are the original digital devices.” Let your hands write down those ideas. This will help you remember them easily and would even enhance your creativity.
5. Have hobbies and side businesses going on.
You never know how can one thing lead to other. Take time to mess around. Have a hobby. It’s good for you, and you never know where it may lead you.
6. Keep your project alive.
The secret is to do good work and put it where people can see it. This involves a process to reach the goal. It’s a step by step execution. There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. Fail. Get better. Once you’re ready with it flash it on the internet.
7. Steal and don’t plagiarize
Artists say stealing is an act of theft done from many people while plagiarism is done from one person. You just have to carefully select the best of ideas and renovate them. There’re no bad or good artists just those who have art worth stealing and those who don’t.
8. Be boring
Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” That’s how you get your work done. Save your energy for what is important to you and not the rest. You should stay out of debt, take care of yourself and keep track through a logbook or calendar.
9. Dig Deeper
Know about the origin of your project. Where that idea was born? How it has flourished until now? Dig deep into the roots so it’ll keep up your interests.
Lastly, Creativity lies in subtraction. Steve Jobs has always been adamant about just one button on the phone and that’s what has led Apple to taste the top now. His notion of minimalism. Your project should be simplified. Art isn’t just the things we chose to put in, it’s also the things we chose to leave out.
Hope you’ll bring up your work into the world soon, so that others can steal from you!
To read ARTicle "Fact of Fiction?" click here.