95 comments on “Steal Like An Artist: Austin Kleon at TEDxKC

  1. The book is great too and this is a wonderful TED TALK. I love the book and refer to it every week, especially when I have creative blocks in my hobbies. Great insights, presentation, and book too!!

  2. to be clear, ak didn't steal anything, except newsprint. i mean, he used redaction creatively, without knowledge of similar 'art' that might already exist. originality is relative to the creator. newspaper blackout was an original idea to AK, but only a variant on the larger scale. it doesn't invalidate the art or the artist to invent something that isn't entirely new. and it isn't all simply outright stealing. the expectation that whatever one thinks up is fresh and new and never seen before is the illusion, not the originality or creativity of one's thoughts. the expression is what matters to the creator, and that is always valid. he's right tho. creation is often inspired and propelled and channeled by what has gone before, and thievery is a legitimate part of the trade, in proper contexts. As Bono said, 'every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief. All kill their inspiration and sing about the grief.' See also the South Park episode, "The SImpsons already did it." Maybe the best guideline is if you the creator know that your ideas were inspired by others, you should label them as such. If it was your idea without prior knowledge, tell critics to stfu. also, it's invalid to say that you're following in the footsteps of someone you never heard of, whose work never even brushed your life, tho it isn't wrong per se to place yourself in the company of similar creators. (lineage is a different issue.) Credit where credit is due, but don't lie or lie down. And face it: no matter what you the creator do or say, the haters gonna hatehatehatehatehate.

  3. Someone from an ad agency saw a great idea when they were online and decided to adapt and change it to fit a campaign, but didn't credit the original artist that made it. An organization awarded agency for the creative execution of the idea. Somehow, it got out that the work wasn't an original work, but derived, and many people scorned the agency which let this slip past their notice. They also complained to the organization that they shouldn't be awarded for plagiarism. When I looked at that case, I had thought it was another case of tired artist spots something in that idea which could be used in a different light, but gets punished for using the material in a way which isn't different enough to be judged as a different idea. Not many would've noticed it was the same work if the ad itself didn't win the award. And even if they did, they wouldn't bother to report it.

    Perhaps in a world without internet, works like theirs would've passed by various scrutiny and win awards.

    If you plan to use something that isn't yours, give credit where it's due – and not use materials by others similarly, even if it is in a different perspective. Unless if you're paying the original creator off, or had their permission to use it.
    Thanks for the interesting talk. It's confirmation of what I've always thought was true. If you're still new at something, you'll have to learn from your betters till you grow out of their shadows.

  4. I definitely looveeee this man´s work and speech!! he is a total stealer genius! Thanks Austin, big hug from Guadalajara, Mexico!

  5. Unfortunately, in trying to justify himself Mr Kleon has nothing original to say and demonstrates a complete lack of creativity. There is still plenty of room for new thinking and originality and this is exactly what the world needs right now. Not an ode to copying/stealing and regurgitation as a means to success (whatever that means). Do I have anything original to say? Perhaps not. But neither am I pretending (and unbelievably, convincing others) that I am.

  6. William Borroughs used the cut up technique. David Bowie copied Burroughs and used the technique to write many lyrics.

  7. People in the sciences think nothing of building on other's discoveries and ideas…knowing that with each discovery there is more clarity in solving or better understanding ideas, cures,and solutions. So too with musicians, mathematicians, chefs, dentistry, education, etc.

  8. I did the whole "floating words" thing in my art journals last year for the first time and had no clue this was a "thing". So I'm original too 😀 … or maybe not.

    And Mr Kleon, it's geneAlogy NOT geneOlogy! So many intellectuals get this wrong. Grrrr….

  9. I think I may have missed the point. Based on this logic, we should be forgiving everyone who plagiarizes lines of jokes or plots of stories or lines of dialogue, then shares or profits from them on the internet or onstage or on film or TV and call it "EXPERIMENTATION"? If I found my work being used by someone else and I was not being compensated or credited for the work I had done, I would be furious. This is why copyright law exists. This idea feels hugely flawed.


  11. I was about to buy his book and saw one of the reviews said it’s basically the same thing as this video. Can anyone that has read the book confirm this to be true? Is it worth purchasing the book for more detail?

  12. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got – Al Einstein
    Time is the only true avenger

  13. Nailed it! Been an artist since I was a kid and even I can admit this lol. I express my art through music, sketching, comics, and photography. All of my ideas I get for my art are from other things/people. For example, when I used to make beats, I would get inspiration from other beats. I'd essentially combine multiple beats together to make an entirely "new" beat. OR, I'd hear a song and then I'd edit the song based on specific melodies in the song to make an entirely "new" song. OR, i'd hear a melody from some random song I came across and use that to make a beat. The same case applies to my other art forms lol.

  14. Brandon Sanderson wrote in his book, The Way of Kings, spoilers "What is it that men value in others? . . . If an artist creates a work of powerful beauty – using new and innovative techniques – she will be lauded as a master, and will launch a new movement in aesthetics. Yet what if another, working independently with that exact level of skill, were to make the same accomplishments the very next month? Would she find similar acclaim? No. She'd be called derivative. . . . in the end, what must we determine? Is it the intellect of a genius that we revere?
    If it were their artistry, the beauty of their mind, would we not laud it regardless of whether we'd seen their product before? But we don't. Given two works of artistic majesty, otherwise weighted equally, we will give greater acclaim to the one who did it first. It doesn't matter what you create. It matters what you create before anyone else. So it's not the beauty itself we admire. It's not the force of intellect. It's not invention, aesthetics, or capacity itself. The greatest talent that we think a man can have? . . . Seems to me that it must be nothing more than novelty."

    Go read that book. It's fantastic and Sanderson is great.

  15. "Nothing is completely original" the same meaning of my saying "ideas don't exist in only one mind'" I have said that because of the teachers saying "plagiarism".

  16. That's how we learn and grow…. From everyone and everything around us! Hahahaha! I absolutely love this!!! So basic to human existence!
    Sooo INSPIRING!!!

  17. What is original though is what truly resonates with each one of us. That is what makes us unique. That is our unstealable fingerprint. Who you are can be mimicked and you can mimic others but that does no one justice.

  18. Yes it's just the stealing of ideas. Of course ripping off someone else's art or style is not cool and doesn't feel good. Mashing ideas that resonate with you that you like and then turning that into a new thing is how to do it. When referencing from other art asking permission (see Andy Warhol) is generally a good idea too.

  19. The hardest thing to do as an artist is deferentially seeing with a new fresh eyes the same work you have just finished.
    Abdullah Nasher
    3d artist

  20. As an artist of poetry… this is NOT how i create. This is just re-inventing. He doesn't know what a real artist is. Be careful who tries to TEACH you something. You can create by emptying ones mind and letting the artistry FALL into your head.

  21. thanks for inspiring me! i'm gonna start keeping a newspaper or magazine with me at my kitchen table so i can do a blackout poem instead of use a phone while i eat

  22. Newspaper blackout is not original either😂 no kidding… i LOVE Joe the Quilter, he cut up a wonderful mix of Oil Paintings, and Sewed them back together, and it looked Amazing ! He did this because he found an Artist that cut up a Quilt and used it in a Composition. Pay backs😀😁😂🤣

  23. I read his other book, Show Your Work in my friend's villa in Bali. It's a good handy book that I think we've used it to promote agriculture product from our garden. Like it. I hope to read this Steal Book too.

  24. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I'm wondering if this talk should be called "Steal Like a Male Artist". Whoever watches this could get the notion that anyone of any import or influence in the creative world is male. They may also get the notion that "all" artists create by borrowing. We wouldn't know that unless you drew from the work of (the many) prominent women creative geniuses to show that this is an across-gender phenomenon. The only female presence in this talk is the use of the pronoun "she" and a post-it. I look forward to you possibly widening this idea.

  25. newspaper blackout is basically stolen from burroughs/gysin’s cut-up technique

    as i type this he starts talking about burroughs and gysin… hahaha

  26. i don't even believe in art that isn't worth stealing….

    you can steal that stuff, too. you just reinvent it, repurpose it, make it something that seems more along your tastes..

  27. Taking someone idea is good . Imagine doctors using what is already discovered and build up into a completely new accomplishment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *