April 5, 2011

Thoughts On Originality (But Not Original Thoughts).

I've been knocking myself out copying other people's merchandise on and off this blog for months now (see Leather Tassel Earrings tutorial, for example). And I was right in the middle of copying this Lucky Brand necklace (Leather? Fringe? You're shocked that I like this, right?) when I came across this:

Source: Life as an Artistpreneur
I'm a chronic worry wart, and this instantly made me feel bad. Is what I'm doing wrong? As a writer (and human being), I'm sensitive to plagiarism. Just like I wouldn't Xerox a painting, is it wrong of me to try to recreate a necklace or a blouse?

After much deliberation, dudes, it's just not. It's more about inspiration and encouragement. And saving dough. I cannot paint or draw to save my life, but if I can make a necklace or a blouse and if I have the time and resources and desire, I should. Not to mention it's a thrill to recreate something that I may have once though completely unattainable or unaffordable. Anthropologie Smanthropologie. It's all just stuff. Stuff that someone somewhere made. I can make stuff too. Maybe one day, if I make enough of other people's stuff, I'll start to come up with my own stuff. For now, recreating other people's stuff is enough. It's all OK.

I wholeheartedly agree with this quote from Jim Jarmusch, which in the interest of full disclosure I poached from Jessie Baylin's tumblr (which is divine):

"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don't bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said, 'It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to.'"

In other words, I'm COPYing Jarmusch's sentiment and I'm opening a NEW window and I'm starting from there.

(That said, you best believe that Lucky-inspired necklace will be showing up on this blog soon.)

5 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite quotations, definitely in my top five. I'm so glad you choose to keep creating.

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  2. love that image and LOVE that quote! so so true :)

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  3. i was going to say nothing is original but that quote says it better.
    i truly believe that everyone copies/gets inspired by everyone else.
    i think you are doing a great job at what you do. carry on please.
    more leather!!!!

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  4. I love that Jarmusch quote and this one too: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Besides, I copy you all the time! I wrote a paper once on the postmodern art of imitation (it was actually about Las Vegas architecture). Authenticity is for uninspired people.

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  5. sometimes I think the same thing with cooking...like, is it really that creative if you got it out of a recipe book? but I think what counts is the effort and love you put into it. love you!

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