This was opriginally published on my Blogger blog on 6/15/12
"The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." David Bowie
Recently I came upon a neat little book called, Steal Like An Artist by Auston Kelon. Auston maintains that nothing is original and what a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere.
He's got a lot of great quotes in the book too, like this one:
"Immature poets imitate;
Mature poets steal; bad
poets deface what they take,
and good poets make it into
something better, or at least
something different. The
good poet welds his theft into
a whole of feeling which is
unique, utterly different from
that from which it was torn." T.S. Eliot
You could substitute 'miniature artisan' for poet there and that would explain a lot.
"Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing." Salvador Dali
So as a miniature maker the game is pretty much to imitate real life in miniature. We all do that and probably for that very reason - to create a world we'd love to see or be in or own. I ripped this out of a magazine years ago with the intention of one day doing it in miniature. I can't remember the magazine now but hope the shout out to "Patina' makes up for slapping it here without permission. I finally found a Bespaq cabinet that seemed to suit the design. I had to replace the glass with wood panels but in the end my copied design suits the miniature piece. It's not exact but I did steal the original style of the real size piece.
I followed through with a chair to match this is now an original piece but I still used the swiped design.
Lots of people really enjoy this next style - which is obvious, but I won't mention their name. They are very touchy and think they invented black and white checkerboard.
Bashed Bespaq cabinet and hand painted plates
This style has been copied in miniature over and over again - expertly and poorly. I put my pilfered design on another Bespaq piece that has been seriously bashed and you probably wouldn't recognize it. Oh, and yes, the plates are in the same style. I did not think to take a photo of the original but maybe I can steal one. But that would really be stealing. Taking photos and plopping them in your stuff without permission is not nice. Kinda like what I did with the magazine clipping. What could I do? I'm proving a point.
"What is originality? Undetected Plagiarism." William Randolf Inge
Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil
There are of course those among us who really do steal. I have seen my own things copied other places. Things like my dressed skeletons. I did not think up dressed skeletons. You can find them in real life in some awful places. Dead and still in their clothes. But I had them in 'original' poses. Like this one.
I later saw it ripped off on eBay. And of course, neither one of us originated the monkeys from which this came. And hey, those you see everywhere.
Some people hang out on other people's websites and copy everything they see. Exactly.
Sometimes you see something unique and then you see it again and again.
"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." Goethe
I have in fact copied full sized original pieces line for line in miniature. But they were antiques and that would, I think, make them in the public domain. I am for sure not the only one. Some of the most sought after pieces are things in miniature based on real stuff that people just need - to evoke a feeling - and in miniature that would be totally unique and 'utterly different'. I think.
What do you think? Tell me. I can take it.
Oh, and all the quotes I used in this blog came out of Austin's book.....