Inspiration = the Art of Stealing

August 1, 2022
Temecula Valley Creative Video Team Talks About Stealing Inspiration

For creatives like us, there is an innate drive to be unique in what we do. And you can almost guarantee you will be. Particularly because you bring your distinct spin on everything you do and make. However, experienced artists know that our work is mostly stolen. Or, in other words, inspiration = the art of stealing. Here’s why that’s OK.

Trust Us, It’s Ok

We know this doesn’t sound right. But it’s true. We are always creating something that is built upon what’s already been done.

Pablo Picasso said “Art is theft.” In his book “Steal Like an Artist” Austin Kleon says it this way: “First you figure out what’s worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing.”

The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

In music, we all know the sounds and progressions, the rhythms and beats, the melody and harmony lines have probably been used a thousand times before, but we are bringing something to it that is fresh. We are rearranging the old in a new way. That is the beauty of this kind of ‘stealing’.

It’s actually quite liberating. Like Austin says (again in “Steal Like an Artist”): “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.” Well said.

It’s Not Copy and Paste

What is stealing creatively not? It’s not simply copying and pasting. Of course, when looking for inspiration, it must always be done (and executed) with healthy ethics. Instead, it should be finding the good and throwing out the bad. Then taking that as inspiration. Even a starting place from which to build something is fresh and inspiring to others.

So what is it that inspires you? Are you seeing, hearing, feeling, reading, watching, listening to something that is worthwhile to you? Take it. Steal it. Create it.