Today I stole some images

Posted on 03.05.2011

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This post is about many things, and I’m going to write about all of them before I get my pack on. This post is full of images that I love, that are not mine, that I have ‘stolen’ in the most literal sense from the internet with the intent to be inspired later and possibly exercise mimicking them to find something more in myself.

This is the first image I stole the other day, and I stole it for multiple reasons.

First, I stole it because it is awesome.

Second, I stole it to write a blog about it.

Third, I stole it to remember it, to try something similar later in my own work.

So this piece (minus the arrow on the left, which was from a rollover image that I had to screen shot in order to do said stealing) is by an awesome artist by the name of Austin Kleon, whose website you can find HERE. Austin does this really interesting series that I was turned onto by an article he wrote that was forwarded to me by the amazing and beautiful K2.

I love a lot of things about this work and the artist, but what I love about this piece or series the most is that it’s his ‘play’ work. It’s the work he kind of picked up and started doing all for himself, while busy with ‘paying’ jobs and commissions.

The article he wrote is HERE, and it is a great read that I highly suggest for anyone that is an artist or creative in general. The title of the article is ‘How to Steal Like an Artist, and Nine Other Things that Nobody Told Me’. It’s wonderful.

And it’s true, we do steal. We have active imaginations that are hyper-critical (even if not in the ‘usual’ sense of the word) and constantly trying to improve on things. I ‘steal’ a lot of work and ideas. I use them to make something that is my own. Half of my ideas didn’t just originate from the ether, they came from something I saw, heard or read and wanted to expand upon.

A few examples of this, for anyone in doubt: my ‘What are you Paying For?’ series was inspired by the book No Logo by Naomi Klein and my general hatred of Abercrombie and Fitch, and all that their clothing and wearing it stands for.

My ‘Without Industry’ series was actually inspired by a line by Rousseau, that I first heard in the movie ‘Marie Antoinette’ (I love how that movie was done, ftr).

‘The Hundred Animals’ was inspired by the book by Eleanor Estes, ‘The Hundred Dresses‘ that I read in like 3rd or 4th grade. I still love it. Wanda Petronski drew dresses.

The ‘Scars’ series came from the suggestion of a friend that I find a way to make peace with my own scars, by making them less scary.

I could go on all day. The point is that about half of my series were inspired by someone or something else. And I’m not trying to take any LESS credit for what I’ve made, because the images I’ve made, the compositions and colors are all mine, but I am saying that we’ve all had help. And that most often, inspiration comes from life, rather than nowhere.

Today, I stole some amazing images of Lykke Li from her Facebook site. You can literally press ‘download’ and get them delivered right to your computer. Thanks, facebook, that’s amazingly sketchy of you.

I don’t intend in any way, shape or form to take these images, slap my name on them and say that I made them. I would never do that, and that’s also highly illegal.

I do intend to try similar compositions, and colors, and lighting techniques. I fully intend to experiment, to find the ‘HOW’ from them, and to make something of my own that is equally as awesome as these are. Because in learning the ‘how’, I’ll learn more about my own process and most likely end up making something that I like even better.

Also, I just really like the images. And even if I never get around to making my own versions, they are awesome to save and look at for when I do need some inspiration.

As Austin wrote in his article, we (artists) are selective collectors. We surround ourselves with beautiful, thoughtful things in order to better our own ideas or process. I’m personally quite inspired by Chiyogami paper and interesting textures, which are not things one would expect to be instrumental in the making of a photo series… but they are.

So, know this: any artist that denies stealing/using/recycling or generally being inspired by other things or people is lying. We’re inspired by everything. And there is not one thing, not even one, that hasn’t been done already. It may have been done before, but we will do it better.

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Posted in: art, life, my work