Second-Hand Thoughts

5580291906_ac3b5f5fd4_oRemember that song you wrote? Remember that poster you designed for your friend’s art show? Remember when you edited that video for your brother’s wedding? None of those things were creative. In fact, most of the work that you called your own, has already been done by someone else, earlier in time. Your thoughts are simply handed down to you from previous generations. Your thoughts, are second-hand thoughts.

Knowing now that everything you make has been made before, what can be learned? But is having nothing original in your life necessarily a bad thing? Being around others who create and who try to be creative with everything they do, can inspire you to create yourself. And this doesn’t happen in today’s society only. This has been happening since the human race was even created. Building off of other ideas is and always will be, something that people. But for now, instead of shaming yourself from changing works from others in order to help you create, you should EMBRACE IT.

During a Ted Talk by Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson, he states that “Some of our most celebrated creators borrow, steal and transform.” You are no different from those people, prior to your lifetime, that stole and borrowed works from others. This includes myself. Running my own photography and videography company with my friend Sam Allen, we are always looking for ways to push our  product further than where it currently is. And most of the ideas we come up with, are not formed from thin air. Instead, these ideas and styles are all formed from current, highly held, and successful designers and photographers that have been in the business longer then we have. Does this mean that what we do shouldn’t be given any credit? By borrowing ideas and styles from other people, do we lose our credibility as a business?

[blockquote author=”Jim Jarmusch – MovieMaker Magazine #53 – Winter, January 22, 2004 “]“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.”[/blockquote]

We as artists help each other thrive. And when we share our works and ideas with the people around us, these ideas gain momentum and eventually get spread around. THIS is what we should be thinking about when we remix another artists style. Instead of trying to figure out who copied who, and who should be sued, we should follow the wise words of Jean-Luc Godard. We should take the works that we borrow and steal, and spread them. We should take these great ideas and show the world. If we insist on using ideas from other people, and then just keeping them to ourselves, we acheieve nothing. But if we use them to create something genuine and meaningful, then why not show everyone? Why not take these ideas and works of art and pass them onto the next person that is trying to find their calling.

If it weren’t for the stealing, borrowing, and transforming of other people’s works, creativity and genuine creations would both cease to exist.


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