As Picasso once famously said:
“Good artists copy; great artists steal.”
From an educational perspective, I think that it doesn't get stressed enough that a creative process gets enhanced by good input from others. Too often -- also during brainstorming sessions -- we are expected to come up with something out of the blue. We need to get rid of the stigma that stealing from others is not original.
The past semester I deepened out my interest in UX/UI design. 6 months ago I thought that speed of execution was always the highest priority for anyone working on a startup. What I forgot is that design-thinking requires some steps before getting to the execution. Namely researching the users' needs, but also gathering information and creating your creative world, your mash-up.
Because, in the end, aren't we all creative kleptomaniacs?
The best thieves in this world are called artists, because they excel at curating ideas, inspiration and information selectively. You are a mash-up of what you let into your life.
One of the best artists has left us last week and called himself "a tasteful thief". This is what David Bowie replied in a 1976 Playboy -- I know, not exactly the magazine you'd expect this extract to come from -- when the interviewer asked him whether he considers himself an original thinker:
Bowie: "Not by any means. More like a tasteful thief. The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from. I do think that my plagiarism is effective. Why does an artist create, anyway? The way I see it, if you’re an inventor, you invent something that you hope people can use. I want art to be just as practical. Art can be a political reference, a sexual force, any force that you want, but it should be usable. What the hell do artists want? Museum pieces? The more I get ripped off, the more flattered I get. But I’ve caused a lot of discontent, because I’ve expressed my admiration for other artists by saying, ‘Yes, I’ll use that,’ or, ‘Yes, I took this from him and this from her.’ Mick Jagger, for example, is scared to walk into the same room as me even thinking any new idea. He knows I’ll snatch it."
And oh, yes...
This is another great thief to steal from: