Lately I’ve had several issues on my mind that seem to revolve around the same similar topics: copying, tracing, originality, etc. I feel these are in the same vein, if you will, of something that we as artists need to understand what is acceptable and what is not. I also feel we as art teachers need to teach our students the same things.
Several months ago I “started reading for free” this book by Austin Kleon called Steal Like an Artist. In other words, Kindle let me read a small amount of the book for free to see if I wanted to buy the book. I never bought the book for my Kindle. However, last week I needed something to fill my cart on Amazon so I could get free shipping. I put this book in because it was 40% off. I AM SO GLAD I FINALLY PURCHASED THIS BOOK!!!
I thought it would just be just a cute book. It’s a quick read, but one full of lots of food for thought about these topics that have been on my mind lately. I am sure that not everyone will feel about this book like I do, but it really resonated with me and the ideals I want to teach my kids about making art, or just being creative in general. I highly recommend it.
Some of my favorite parts include:
“What to copy is a little bit trickier. 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. ~page 36.
“Imitation is about copying. Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking through into your own thing.” ~page38.
“Remember ‘Garbage in, garbage out’? You’re only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.” ~page 102
I want my students to read this book. Not all of my students, but my art 2 and higher students. I think it will help them to think deeper about what they are creating and HOW they create it. Or, at the very least, it will give pause when they begin to create that next artwork for class or themselves.