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187 – The Art of Creative Borrowing Inspiration

by Jill

In the realm of creativity, the line between inspiration and imitation is often blurred. Austin Kleon’s seminal work, “Steal Like an Artist,” challenges us to rethink this boundary, arguing that all creative work builds on what came before. This concept isn’t just liberating; it’s a call to action for anyone seeking to inject originality into their work, be it writing, art, or any form of expression.

Kleon suggests that nothing under the sun is truly original, echoing the ancient wisdom of Ecclesiastes. This idea might seem disheartening at first glance, yet it’s incredibly empowering. Recognizing that all creative endeavors are interconnected allows us to freely draw on the vast expanse of existing work for inspiration. The key, however, lies in how we use these influences.

“Steal Like an Artist” offers a roadmap for transforming borrowed ideas into something uniquely ours. Kleon advocates for a creative process where borrowing is not merely copying but a deep engagement with the works that move us. By dissecting what we love and why we love it, we begin to understand the underlying principles that can be adapted to our own creative pursuits.

The book also emphasizes the importance of surrounding ourselves with a diverse array of influences. This eclectic collection becomes a personal toolkit from which we can draw when forging our path. It’s not about mimicking one hero but rather absorbing a spectrum of ideas and styles to fuel our creative fire.

Moreover, Kleon encourages us to embrace our influences, seeing ourselves as part of a broader creative lineage. This perspective not only helps us find our voice but also connects us to a community of thinkers and makers, past and present. It’s in this communal exchange of ideas that creativity truly flourishes.

“Steal Like an Artist” isn’t just a guide for the creatively perplexed; it’s a manifesto for a more open and interconnected approach to art and innovation. By acknowledging that all creations stand on the shoulders of giants, we can boldly venture forward, adding our voice to the chorus of human creativity.



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