Stealing Like An Artist

Wow. Work has really taken over my life. While I love working around books and learning how to order materials for my system, I find that I am struggling with my work-life-art balance.

On Monday, I needed to get away from my desk (I usually take my lunch there, too) so I brought a book with me to the lunchroom, just to escape the insanity for a while. Over a couple of days I finished reading "Steal Like an Artist". I wrote about seeing this book three years ago (omygosh) but only now have really taken time for it.

One of the suggestions in the book was to create a "swipe" file where you store all the ideas you like of other people's so you can try your own hand at that same idea or process. The point here is that 1) no idea is original and 2) the human hand is incapable of making a perfect copy of something. Therefore, anything you make will actually be different than the original. And it's not plagiarism if you don't claim it's your original idea. (I think it is also better if you don't try to sell it either.)

I set up a board on Pinterest which I call my Art to Steal From board. Yes, it am grammatically incorrect. I have a difficult time with that particular thing (dangling participles?). ANYWAY, I buzzed through Pinterest later that afternoon (stealing a minute here and there from insanity-land) and collected a fair number of ideas I wanted to try re-creating in my style.

Yesterday was a particularly hard day. (Constructive criticism still hurts.) I came home and had a ton of work to do here. The stress was really overwhelming me and a thought came to mind - do art.

My house is a wreck right now because of my preoccupation with work. No table space to speak of anywhere. Art supplies are disorganized due to my trying to organize them (familiar problem?). But I knew I had to do something - anything - just so I could feel better.

I took a quick look at my Pinterest board and chose this project*. I found a small vintage book and some embroidery floss. I sat at my computer desk, scooted over the keyboard and, in the five inches left over, cut out hearts of varying sizes from the pages of the book. And I stitched one set. Aaaaaahhhh.... relief.

I took a bag with the book and embroidery supplies to work today. During lunch (in the lunchroom, not at my desk) I pulled out my project and did another heart. Aaaaahhhhh.... blessed peace again.

So, the act of art-ing is soul-saving. And even a little bit is enough.

When the going gets tough, the tough get a needle and thread and do art.

*I don't have permission to share the photo of the original piece so the link will have to suffice.


fiona grayson said…
I love that book! :) I will join you in your life of crime!
Leah said…
I feel the same about art being soul-saving. Being creative keeps me sane. I know it sounds trite but it's the truth.
Jo Murray said…
I've just put that book on my wish list. It's true, all art is derivative. I see lots of modern expressive paintings that make me think of Chinese calligraphy. Will be checking out your Art To Steal From forthwith.
Holly said…
And I am going to steal "dangling principles". Oh, the imagery!

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