Here is what I'm thinking about today, based on the first 40 pages or so of Steal Like An Artist:
- Nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.
- You have a genealogy of ideas - you are a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. Artists collect the things they love - you're only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with. Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.
- It's in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.
- We learn by copying. Copying is about reverse-engineering - taking things apart to see how they work.
- If you copy from one author it's plagiarism, but if you copy from many it's research.
- Don't just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don't want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes - to internalize their way of looking at the world.
- At some point you have to move from imitating your heroes to emulating them. Emulation breaks through into your own thing. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter your heroes.
More posts about this coming soon.
Photo of a Grade 2 student's painting, influenced by Aboriginal art.