Steal like an artist

This book was written by Austin Kleon and I just started it this morning but I’m hooked. In this book he expresses how everything has been done and nothing in this world is new and original. When someone claims original, chances are they just didn’t know where the original art came from. steallikeanartist1

This book (even though I’m only 10% in) is cleverly and intelligently written with quotes from other artists along the way that he builds on and elaborates on.

The book opens with a timeless T.S. Eliot endorsement of remix culture:

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”

As I’m sitting here with my coffee and pondering the few pages I’ve read, I think about how much I see myself in the things he talks about. Nothing I’ve ever done is 100% “original” all things came and derived from ideas and things I spotted along the way, in turn turning them into my own beautiful creations. And so I agree, artists take from the things they see, that inspire them, and build on them. Creating master pieces, that sometimes never see the world but bring incredible joy to the one that worked on them.

He suggests we always be on the search. Research that is. Keeping a notebook on you at all times to jot down ideas and thoughts, is something I’ve personally done for several years already.

Googling everything. That thought made me giggle. Most of us Google most things by now. Our Ideas, our questions and our dreams. Most have been googled.

Doodling when on the phone. Honestly that’s how my favorite drawings have come to be, they started as doodles and turned into beautiful reflections of me.

On doing what you love, Kleon urges:

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done.

I believe that this book is a great investment for your time and energy, so from one artist to another, I do urge  you to read it and indulge in his beautiful but radically thought out ideas.