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Inspiration part deux: Originality is overrated

image from www.iainclaridge.co.uk/blog

Image from iainclaridge.net

I’m not afraid to admit it: I rarely have an original idea.

And this blog post is a perfect example. As I was reading Emily’s latest musings on inspiration, it got me thinking about how my own creative process works. More often than not, the ideas I come up with are born only after I have seen/read/heard something from someone else. Most people work like this, right? Don’t get me wrong, I never want to outright steal an idea, I just like to start with a well-established ball of clay and mold/spin/tweak it until it’s my own. That’s right folks, I’m a tweaker.

I’m also the collage queen. The very first picture I ever ripped out of a magazine was of Gwen Stefani (back when she was covered in henna tattoos and wore a bindi) on the cover of Seventeen. Ever since then, when I see a person, place, or thing that strikes my fancy, I rip it out and paste together with others in a way that expresses what I am all about.

Gwen Stefani, style icon

And while there will always be a place in my heart for print, my latest obsession is something called ImgSpark, a web tool that lets you create an inspiration board of sorts (up to 1GB), for any reason you please.  I’ve started harvesting digital photos (its pretty easy, you just right-click on a desired image wherever you happen to be on the web to add it to your library.) Every image is inspiring to me in some way: be it by color, design, or general message…

Part of my collection

Part of my collection

I can use it to get my creative juices flowing whether I’m looking for a new tattoo design or trying to decide what color to paint my bathroom. Check out my collection so far. Others might aspire to be completely original, but I’m OK with being inspired.

Filed under: Art, Design, Musings, Technology

15 Responses to “Inspiration part deux: Originality is overrated”

  • avatar
    Rebecca Says:

    mmmm, collage. I love those. I loosely define ‘originality’ as the ability to take someone’s idea and make it your own.

  • avatar
    Amber Says:

    I’ve been doing the same thing forEVER – ripping pages out and making collages. Something tells me we have quite a bit in common. Thanks for the tip on ImgSpark…I’ll def check it out!

  • avatar

    Great post. I believe it was Ben Franklin who said, “When something is said and said well, have no scruple: take it and copy it.” Nothing is created in a vacuum.

  • avatar
    Kate Says:

    I like that quote Ray, glad to know you and Franklin are in my corner!

  • avatar
    Emily Says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Kate. I think inspiration is so ingrained in how we work we don’t even think about it- it’s weird to trace how it happens.
    Good post and bravo on the photo pastiche!

  • avatar
    Kyle Says:

    “Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes” Thomas Wentworth Higginson

    Well done Kate!

  • avatar
    Danly Dubrick Says:

    I love this quote, “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration of 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

  • avatar
    from The Davis LAB Says:

    Kate – you rock!

  • avatar
    Emily Says:

    Dan, I love that quote!

  • avatar

    I would prefer it if you hosted your own image of the ‘can of inspiration’ rather then link to the version that sits on my blog.

    Stealing bandwidth is theft..! ;)

    Many thanks.

  • avatar
    Kate Says:

    Sorry about that, Iain. I was actually trying to give your blog credit for the image. I’ll fix it.

  • avatar
    Matt Says:

    “Good artists copy, great artists steal”
    -Pablo Picasso

  • avatar

    Thanks Kate.

    It’s not actually one of my images so I can’t take credit for it’s creation. I was simply a bit concerned about my bandwidth.

    Iain

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