One word. Pinterest. A whole website dedicated to inspiring and advising other people on a variety of topics. The coolest part is it’s all catered to your tastes and desires. As a designer, when my mind is just as blank as my piece of paper, I go to this marvelous little nest of stimulating work already created. Is it stealing? No. Imitation of concepts is the sincerest form of flattery. Don’t copy the whole thing. That’s just being lazy.
From what I can tell, a lot of people believe that all work has already been made, and there is just always stuff building on top of each other. In the article Nina Paley: All Creative Work Is Derivative, the author Marla Popova elaborates further on this topic. She includes a video that displays art work from a primitive time. Interestingly enough, when put side by side they closely resemble each other. Even though these tribes were not in the same region.
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After watching that video I to some extent agree with this statement. Yes inventiveness is often just built upon someone else’s idea.
Mark Twain is quoted in his biography by saying the following:
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
Isn’t it intriguing that someone was creative enough to see a project or idea, and elaborate on it enough to improve upon it? THAT is unique. THAT just shows how amazing God is to allow us a mind that can improve upon our world we see with our own ideas.
Speaking of unique, if we’re going to assume that everything builds on each other then the only person who is deemed creative is Adam. Eve was just copying him and his rib. To stay in this time frame however, I want to have you look at this verse below.
19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
This is the first creative act that was ever recorded. The only “original” work that man has made. If that is the case, then I should just switch my major to accounting. I do believe that there is a lack of creativity in today’s world. Technology sometimes forces people to get out of their creative elements and just simply focus on the tv screen, or computer. Instead of getting outside (reference picture on the right), reading a book or playing games with friends. Isn’t that the original Pinterest?
All this to say, if we’re so hung up on the fact that everything has already been done, then there is no purpose to continue in any field that produces creative work. Instead, I choose to believe that because God intended us to be observant and think, we have the obligation to see what’s around us and make it better. Why don’t you start by looking around you. Improve your world.