STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST...

The creative mind is such a beautiful thing to waste. Some creatives know this and have found their way while others are still lost, wondering, seeking some sort of path and direction. 
We read this book and decided to share with you all, hoping that someone will learn something from it and find their path...


LESSON No. 1

“Art is theft.”
—Pablo Picasso



Every artist gets asked the question,
“Where do you get your ideas?”
The honest artist answers,
“I steal them.”
How does an artist look at the world?
First, you figure out what’s worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing.
That’s about all there is to it.
When you look at the world this way, you stop worrying about what’s “good” and what’s “bad”—
there’s only stuff worth stealing, and stuff that’s not worth stealing.
Everything is up for grabs. If you don’t find something worth stealing today, you might find it worth
stealing tomorrow or a month or a year from now.
“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”
—David Bowie


LESSON No 2.



The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something “original,” nine out of ten times
they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.
What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what
came before. Nothing is completely original.
It’s right there in the Bible: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Some people find this idea depressing, but it fills me with hope. As the French writer André Gide put
it, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything
must be said again.”
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.

“What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.”
—William Ralph Inge

LESSON No. 3

The Genealogy of ideas...

Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.
Here’s a trick they teach you in art school. Draw two parallel lines on a piece of paper:
How many lines are there?
There’s the first line, the second line, but then there’s a line of negative space that runs between them.
See it? 1 + 1 = 3.




A good example is genetics. 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.
Just as you have a familial genealogy, you also have a genealogy of ideas. You don’t get to pick your
family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you
listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see.
You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.
The German writer Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

“We were kids without fathers . . . so we found our fathers on wax and on the
streets and in history. We got to pick and choose the ancestors who would inspire
the world we were going to make for ourselves.”
—Jay-Z

    LESSON No. 4




The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: Hoarders collect
indiscriminately, artists collect selectively. They only collect things that they really love.
There’s an economic theory out there that if you take the incomes of your five closest friends and
average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your own income.
I think the same thing is true of our idea incomes. You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you
surround yourself with. My mom used to say to me, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It used to drive me
nuts. But now I know what she meant.
Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to
be influenced by.

“Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.
Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams,
random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of
water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your
soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.”
—Jim Jarmusch

LESSON No. 5

Climb your own family tree.

Marcel Duchamp said, “I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists.” This is actually a pretty good
method for studying—if you try to devour the history of your discipline all at once, you’ll choke.
Instead, chew on one thinker—writer, artist, activist, role model—you really love. Study everything
there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything
about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go. Once you
build your tree, it’s time to start your own branch.





Seeing yourself as part of a creative lineage will help you feel less alone as you start making your
own stuff. I hang pictures of my favorite artists in my studio. They’re like friendly ghosts. I can almost
feel them pushing me forward as I'm hunched over my desk.
The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can
learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.

Enjoyed the first five lessons, be sure to check back for more....