I've had just enough time to... steal from others :)
|It was this Laos monkey that taught me how to steal...|
A close friend gave me a couple of books for Christmas, one of which teaches me how to steal. I was flattered that she considered me an artist (the good thing about friends is that they exaggerate) but obviously she also thinks I should go and steal some more or she won’t be giving one with the title “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. So on a quiet Christmas, I finished the book in a few hours (it was an easy read) and steal as many ideas from it as I could. I find I do not have to steal everything as I had the same conclusion as the author in a number of instances. As he encourages me to steal, I am sure he won’t mind me sharing some of my theft with you so that you can steal from him too.
|When caught, it said Picasso said it is alright to steal...|
The work starts with a quote from Picasso “Art is theft”. That coming from such an accomplished artist, we cannot help but take note. This is followed by one of my favorite poet, T.S.Eliot “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from which it was torn.” These two quotes about sum up what the book is all about and I like it for that happens to be how I felt too.
|The Wood Monkey said the real culprit is Austin Kleon...|
“Nothing is original” the book declared for “all creative work builds on what came before”. It quoted the French writer Andre Gide, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Put the two together and originality is just a different way of saying the same thing that had been said before. All knowledge is based on past knowledge. I like to say something in a similar vein to my mentees “For each of you, there is a teacher who has a way uniquely suited to you. Either you suit yourself to the teacher or you find the teacher suited to you, if I am not him.” I smile recalling all the silly things I said.
I liked the quote by German write Goethe too “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love”. I like to tell my friends that if we were to walk through an interesting flea market, each of us will immediately focus on different objects and that will reveal a lot about us. I must thank the author for assuaging one of my guilt when he boldly states that “Nothing is more important than an unread library”. So, there is at least one guy out there who do not think my collection of hundreds of unread books is a waste. Thank you.
|The Laos Monkey said that is how Kings get to sit on the throne...|
Chapter 2 tells you –“Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started”. And if it is necessary to – “Fake it till you make it”. I like to use as an example of a Jackie Chan interview when I emphasized this point. He told how in the days of his early success, he hated the obligatory visits to the orphanage and children hospital which his agent thought is necessary for his image. He did not feel the love he was faking. Then, something strange happened. Gradually along the way, the act became real and he began to feel true compassion. So he too advocate fake it till you make it, even for charity.
Well, if you think I’m going to retell the whole book; sorry. You will have to read it for yourself. But I will leave you with one more secret. Secret #6 that resonates with me – “Do good work and share it with people”. Don’t expect any return. Just do it for love. And love will find you. Oomph!
|The Teddy Bear says if you want to steal, steal like an artist...|