Sunday, 30 December 2012

Austin Kleon - Steal Like an Artist

I have previously blogged a post with the title steal like an artist, and this title was artistically stolen from Austin Kleon, the guy in the talk below.
Kleon is an interesting dude, with ideas I very much concur with. In the clip he describes one of his own "original" ideas: What he calls Newspaper Blackout... Someone then tells him that his idea actually was someone elses. Austin Kleon then traces the history of his "Original" idea back almost 300 years.
The ideas he talks about are also similar to what I wrote about in my post about Originality. I find it refreshing to hear someone talk about inspiration/stealing like this. It will cure any one suffering from writers block or show-material-constipation.
Where do you get your ideas? The honest artist answer is I steal them. How does an artist look at the world. Well, first you figure out what's worth stealing and then you move on to the next thing.
There's an economic theory out there that says: if you average the wages of your five closest friends you will be close to your own. The same is true for ideas. You are only as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.
If you try to devour the history of what you do in one sitting you're going to choke. So I think the best thing to do is to start chewing on one thinker you really love. Completely saturate yourself with their work, find out everything there is to know about their work. Then you find three thinkers that influenced your favorite thinker and find out everything you can about them. And repeat that as many times as you can. Build your own family tree and climb it as far up as you can. And once you have a family tree it is time to start your own branch. Seeing yourself as part of a lineage makes you feel less alone.
Austin Kleon.
So go on, read books, watch films of all the best artists and get those creative juices flowing. Go forth and surround yourself with all the best stuff and steal, transform and make your own fusion of all the art you love.

If you like his ideas, his art and his approach to creativity there is a longer and slightly more detailed talk here.

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