In 2010, I came across a post by artist/blogger Nancy King from See Change Happen (website no longer available) entitled Nothing is Original.
It’s a quote from American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, a self-described pop-culture sponge. On one hand, I love the idea that engaging your creativity means immersing yourself in everything around you, especially the aspects of life that we tend to ignore. The quote with a quote – by Godard – is a challenge to all artists, of any type, to stretch imagination and possibility.
On the other, I don’t agree with the idea of stealing without representation or acknowledgement, even if it does make it more authentic. Stealing, in any form, is still stealing.
Here’s the quote in its entirety.
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.” Jim Jarmusch
What’s your take on this quote? What else do you do to inspire and engage your creativity and imagination? Please add your comments below.