Thursday, April 14, 2011

We're All Idea Thieves...

I came across this interesting article yesterday called How To Steal Like An Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me). The title is provocative and makes you go "What???", which makes you go read the article ('s actually a blog post).

(image credit: Austin Kleon)

The main idea of it is that Nothing Is Original and that all artists "steal" ideas from somewhere. He even quotes the Bible from Ecclesiastes..."That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun." Yup...there is nothing new under the sun.

My own foray into plush-making is an example of this. I essentially "stole" the idea of making stuffed toys from recycled clothes from John Murphy of Stupid Sock Creatures fame. But after "stealing" the initial idea, I've made it my own with my own style, my own designs, and my own ideas. But he also essentially "stole" the idea of making creatures out of socks from the old classic sock monkey. See?...We're all idea thieves! But it's how we make it our own and add our own twists to those ideas that makes our work unique...and sometimes can go on to inspire the next aspiring artist.

Even the name "Nubbins" I'll admit I "stole" from an episode of the SyFy Channel series "Sanctuary" (episode 6 of Season 1 if you want to know). In the episode, Nubbins are little fuzzy animals ) that reproduce like crazy and eat through anything (kind of like Tribbles, but with eyes, ears, and teeth.) They have some scientific name "Nubina Atelerix" but one character nicknames them "Nubbins". I saw the episode before I even started making the simple little armless monsters I've come to call Nubbins...back when I only made sock monsters. But I heard the name and said to my husband "I'm SO going to make a line of monsters called Nubbins someday!"

So anyway, I'd encourage you to go check out the guy's blog post. I know that I was very encouraged by it. It made me feel a bit better about the insecurities I tend to have as an artist.

"There’s this very real thing that runs rampant in educated people. It’s called impostor syndrome. The clinical definition is a “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” It means that you feel like a phony, like you’re just winging it, that you really don’t have any idea what you’re doing.
Guess what?
None of us do."

Oh good. I thought it was just me! And now my internal hypochondriac suspects that I have impostor syndrome! Because I definitely feel like that a lot! ;)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is Impostor syndrome hereditary or contagious, because I think I have it too.

love ya, mom.