If you aren’t careful, creativity can get really narcissistic real fast. In some ways, a bit of narcissism isn’t such a bad thing. You need that drop of ego to fuel your creative drive. But left unchecked, our creative lives can easily become rampant with self-aggrandizement and self-promotion as we become more brand than aperson. Most of us are aware of this slippery slope. That’s why we cringe a little bit every time we post a link to a new project or ask people to watch our latest film. Of all the hard things about a creative life, one of the hardest is knowing how to talk about yourself and not sound like a total jerk.
We’ve been rereading one of our favorite books, Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, and getting as much — or more — out of it the second time than we did the first.
It’s a dangerous time to be an artist. A couple times a year, the whole world appears to pick one artist to turn on. Maybe they mixed up some facts. Maybe they misrepresented a subject. But, most often, it seems like artists are lambasted for stealing from each other. There are few things trolls love more than showing why something that seems original…isn’t. But with so much content flooding our world and minds right now, the line between inspiration and derivation has gotten blurrier than ever. How can we be influenced by great work without ripping it off?