Imitation, Learning & Collaboration

I have been reading ‘Show You Work‘ by Austin Kleon, an easy and enjoyable ready and a must for anyone who doing anything creative!

Despite my Luddite tenancies I have believe whole-heatedly in the power that the internet brings to people. Any one person can start a revolution or business for free on the internet. It is a miracle of society. I love how it levels the playing field. At the end of the day character and talent win through, leaving aside background and education, qualification.

I just read this a scenario in the book:

Two musicians where compared on social media – in a who is better? Post. As a result they ended up making contact and creating a fabulous collaboration. I loved the positive response, that s a guy who has his ego under control.

Ego is one of my favourite subjects. I am faced with it every time I sit down to write, design or promote myself. I think of it as my ‘on board’ enemy and I watch myself all the time for acting out of fear….. when I notice I try to choose love. Love for what I do. Love & support toward myself for my desires. Imaging the work received with love. Not always easy!

Recently an artist friend had an issue where the question of copying arose. After discussion it transpired it was just paranoia the part of the other artist; it was well handled but it got me thinking as this subject arises all the time.

Our studio is a teaching environment half the time and as students have become more competent this subject has arisen and I d like the opportunity to talk it through with you!

On the matter of direct copying I struggle to find a positive, ultimately this path won’t make you feel good! It s lazy, it s cheating. But mimicking as a learning tool I can see value in, we all studied an artist’s work at school or collage? There is great value in finding something as a student that inspires you to learn and by practising the techniques used you will progress.

For me the line is drawn when a person moves from student to entrepreneur ie. starts selling/promoting. To an artist who has worked tirelessly to develop a range of work being copied feels like a very personal crime. However, the melting pot of your mind has absorbed everything around it and mixes if up in to your own specific personal cocktail. I do believe it is very possible to copy by accident. I have a theory about this which is best illustrated by diagram.

This is how I see it, every maker has an ‘art journey’ to get to art heaven’ this is not a Roman road this is a wiggly spaghetti tight rope …. not an easy journey (now there s another blog post!).

If you are allowing yourself to be exposed to many things, shows, museums, Pinterest, you will have seen everything and that combined with your own artist soul will always give an authentic outcome.

A question…. when you have made your new batch of work and step back satisfied and someone comes along and says ‘that s like ‘Fanny-Adams’ work …… do you:

A. Die inside & hate the person who sad that and the artist.


B. Be delighted at any response to your work. Look up the other artist, see what you influences and journey is like and maybe even get together to discuss the spaghetti journey?

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