Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
It takes only an hour or so to read.
Unless, like me, you have to stop to really think about the messages that he delivers so simplistically.
The book is full of insight, historical reference, brief vignettes, and starts with this quote from Pablo Picasso:
"All art is theft."
Nothing is original. All creative work builds on what came before.
As artists we are collectors...and we are shaped and fashioned by what we love and what we surround ourselves with.
“Some people find this idea depressing, but it fills me with hope…If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”And by stealing, he's not implying plagiarism where you try to pass someone else's work as your own...no, not that. But instead, borrowing ideas that speak to our souls and transforming them into our own personal creative expression. It's about Transformation not Imitation.
“Copy your heroes. Examine where you fall short. What’s in there that makes you different? That’s what you should amplify and transform into your own work.”And yet we do imitate when we're learning. We take classes, we reproduce and follow patterns created by other designers, we copy their work processes...all to learn. And, as Kleon says:
"It's in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are".Yes. That's it, exactly.
In fact, after reading each of Kleon's 10 things, I felt like jumping up and shouting "Yes!!" to each one. I saw myself in and on every page.
Some more faves:
Side projects and hobbies are important. Mess around. Wander. Get lost. Don't throw any of yourself away. Keep all your passions in your life.
Don't worry about unity. What unifies your work is the fact that you made it.
Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time. Work gets done in the time available.
Write the book you want to read. Draw the art you want to see. Start the business you want to run. Play the music you want to hear Build the products you want to use.
And the list goes on and on. It's better if you just read it yourself. And if you do, I'd love to know what you think of it.
If you're interested, here's a TED talk by the author on Steal Like an Artist here. And he has a blog here. Have a great day!