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  • So there is a story about the composer Igor Stravinsky.

  • Stravinsky was about to start a new ballet.

  • But instead of starting completely from scratch,

  • he pulled out some of his favorite classic manuscripts,

  • and he got out his red pen,

  • and he started correcting the scores

  • as if it was his own music.

  • And he borrowed baselines and melodies from the famous works,

  • but he composed his own harmonies and rhythms underneath that work.

  • And when the ballet came out, critics were outraged.

  • They said, "How dare you do this to the classics?

  • Leave the classics alone."

  • Anybody knows Stravinsky's reply?

  • He said, "You 'respect', but I love."

  • Well, I love newspapers. I grew up with newspapers.

  • My parents subscribed to two different newspapers.

  • My father in law and my uncles are both reporters,

  • and I've been reading newspapers my whole life.

  • The trouble with newspapers is that they're ephemeral.

  • They don't last.

  • When we're done reading them, they stack up in the recycle bin.

  • Despite all that, I don't know anyone who hasn't clipped

  • something out of the newspaper.

  • Our impulse is to save the things that mean something to us from oblivion.

  • I think the human beings are collectors and artists especially.

  • Not hoarders, mind you, there's a difference.

  • Hoarders collect indiscriminately, and artists collect selectively.

  • They only collect the things that they really love.

  • An artist's job is to collect ideas

  • and the best way I know to collect ideas is to read.

  • And what better thing to read than a daily dispatch of human experience

  • that is the daily newspaper.

  • So, in 2005, I was right out of college, right out of undergrad,

  • and I had a horrible case of writer's block.

  • I would sit, I would stare at the Microsoft Word screen,

  • and that little cursor would blink at me as if it were taunting me.

  • And writing, which is once given me great joy, it was now --

  • it wasn't any fun for me anymore.

  • So one day, I was staring at that screen

  • and I looked over at the recycle bin

  • with that stack full of papers, and I thought, "Here am I. Here I am,

  • without any words.

  • And right next to me or thousands of them, and they've delivered

  • to my doorstep everyday."

  • So I thought I might steal a few, and this is what I did:

  • I picked up my marker that I use for drawing,

  • and I started making boxes around words that popped out at me.

  • And I start connecting those words into little phrases and funny sayings.

  • And when I was done, I blacked out all the words I didn't need.

  • And this is what it looks like. It looks like as if the CIA did haiku.

  • (Laughter)

  • And I really wasn't sure what I was doing.

  • All I knew was that it felt really good to watch some of those words

  • disappear under that marker line.

  • So what I did, was I started posting them to my blog

  • and I called them newspaper blackout poems.

  • And slowly over time, they spread around the Internet

  • and I collected them in my first book Newspaper Blackout.

  • Now, I thought I was ripping off the Government.

  • That's John Lennon's FBI file on the left and the blackout poem on the right.

  • But over time I started getting all kinds of emails and tweets

  • and other comments that my work was completely unoriginal.

  • And the artist that people pointed to the most was this brilliant

  • British artist named Tom Phillips.

  • Back in the sixties Tom Phillips walked into a bookstore,

  • and he picked up the first Victorian novel he found.

  • And he went home, and he started drawing

  • and painting of the pages.

  • And if you can see, he left words, much like I do,

  • he left words floating in his art pieces. And he's done this for forty years.

  • His projects called "A Humument". And you could look it up --

  • It's been a lifelong project for him.

  • What I discovered about Tom Phillips is that he actually got the idea

  • for his forty-year project by reading a Paris Review interview

  • with the writer William Burroughs,

  • when Burroughs was talking about his cut-up method of writing,

  • which is when you take a piece of writing, cut it up

  • and reconfigure the pieces to make a new piece of writing.

  • Funny enough, when I started researching Burroughs,

  • I found out that Burroughs got the idea

  • for the cut-out technique from his friend Brion Gysin.

  • Brion Gysin was a painter at the time. And he's preparing a canvas

  • and when he was cutting the canvas, he cut through a stack of newspapers

  • and the way the newspaper strips floated and the words worked together,

  • gave him an idea of how to make poetry.

  • But then, you do a little bit more research

  • and you find out that thirty years before that

  • that thirty years before that, there was a poet named Tristan Tzara

  • who in Paris, went onstage, got a hat, got a newspaper,

  • cut up the newspaper,

  • put the pieces in the hat, pulled them out one by one

  • and read them as a poem.

  • I traced things all the way back to the 1760s

  • where neighbor of Benjamin Franklin named Caleb Whitford --

  • in those old days, the newspaper was fairly new

  • and the columns were very skinny,

  • so what Caleb did is he read across the columns

  • instead of reading them top to bottom. And he would get all these

  • funny combinations and he'd crack up his friends in the pub.

  • And eventually he published a broadsheet of them.

  • So not only was my idea completely unoriginal,

  • it turns out there was a 250 year old history of finding poetry in the newspaper.

  • So what am I supposed to do?

  • Instead of getting discouraged I kept on, because I know something

  • that a lot of artists know but few will admit to.

  • And that is nothing is completely original.

  • All creative work builds on what came before.

  • Every new idea is just a remix or mash-up

  • of one or two previous ideas.

  • And this is a bit of what I'm talking about. They teach you this in art school.

  • Draw a line. Draw another line next to it.

  • How many lines are there?

  • Well there is the first line you drew.

  • And there's the second line you drew.

  • But then, there's line of black space running in between them.

  • One plus one equals three.

  • And speaking of lines here's an example of what I'm talking about:

  • Genetics.

  • You have a mother and you have a father, but the sum of you is greater

  • than their parts.

  • You are a remix or a mash-up of your mother and your father

  • and all of your ancestors.

  • And just as you have a familial genealogy,

  • you also have a genealogy of ideas.

  • You don't get to pick your family,

  • but you can pick your friends, and you can pick the books you read,

  • and you can pick the movies you see, the music you listen to,

  • the cities you live in etc.

  • You are a mash-up of what you let into your life.

  • So, what I decided to do, was I decided to take all these artists

  • that came before me, and build a kind of family tree,

  • a creative lineage that I could draw from.

  • And then I would add those to the artists that I already admired

  • and appreciated.

  • And steal everything from them that I possibly could.

  • That's right. Steal. I am a creative kleptomaniac.

  • But unlike your regular kleptomaniac, I'm interested in stealing the things

  • that really mean something to me,

  • the things that I can actually use in my work.

  • And Mr. Steve Jobs actually has a better way of explaining it

  • than I think I could.

  • Steve Jobs: It comes down to try to expose yourself

  • to the best things that humans have done.

  • And then try to bring those things in to what you're doing.

  • I mean, Picasso had a saying, he said,

  • "Good artists copy, great artists steal."

  • And, I've always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

  • Picasso, he said it. Art is theft.

  • One time a writer asked the musician David Bowie

  • if he thought he was original. He said, "No, no,

  • I'm more like a tasteful thief."

  • And he said, "The only art I'll actually study

  • is the stuff that I can steal from.

  • How does an artist look at the world?

  • Well, first, she asked herself what's worth stealing,

  • and second, she moves on to the next thing.

  • That's about all there is to it. When you look at the world this way

  • there is no longer good art and bad art.

  • There's just art worth stealing and art that isn't.

  • And everything in the world is up for grabs.

  • If you don't find something worth stealing today,

  • you might find it worth stealing tomorrow, or the month after that

  • or years later.

  • T.S. Eliot said that immature poets imitate,

  • great artists, great poets steal.

  • But he said, "Bad poets take what they steal

  • and they deface it.

  • And the good poets turn it into something better

  • or at least something different."

  • And that's really the key to creative theft.

  • Imitation is not flattery.

  • So, instead of writing poetry like William Burroughs,

  • or doing colorful art pieces like Tom Phillips,

  • I decide to try to push the poems in the my own thing

  • and keep going with them. Because I know

  • that it's actually transformation that is flattery:

  • taking the things you've stolen and turning it into your own thing.

  • So today, you listen to all these wonderful speakers

  • for the past hour or so. And what I want you to do is

  • what my friend Wendy Macnaughton the artist does,

  • I want you to rip off everyone you've met.

  • All the speakers you've heard take a nugget of something

  • that resonates with you.

  • The people you bump into today, later,

  • take something from them, but bring it back to your desk.

  • Bring it back to where you do your work,

  • combine it with your own ideas and your thoughts.

  • Transform it into something completely new.

  • And then put it out into the world, so we can steal from you.

  • And that's how you steal like an artist.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

So there is a story about the composer Igor Stravinsky.

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TEDx】Steal Like An Artist.オースティン・クラオン@TEDxKC (【TEDx】Steal Like An Artist: Austin Kleon at TEDxKC)

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    Ke Jhu-Ze に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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