Challenge Journal 2: Amateurs imitate; artists steal.

We’ve been talking about & reshaping the quotation “Bad artists imitate, good artists steal,” in class today, so I figured I would write about it for my second blog post, especially in regards to how it applies to my capstone project!

What does it mean to be a “good” artist? Isn’t art subjective? These are questions I’ve been thinking about as I’ve navigated this topic. When I wrote my own version of the quotation above, I decided to use the words “amateur” and “artist” because I felt that these more accurately encapsulated what I took away from this idea: that inauthentic art is work that lacks confidence and that borrows without any originality, but that authentic art is work that is secure in itself and that CREATES, building upon and advancing what came before it.

As I’ve browsed other capstones, I’ve noted what constitutes a more successful project and what makes a less successful one. Projects that conform pretty clearly to a genre, at least at their foundation, tend to be easier to follow than those that live in a muddy, gray area. I also found project sites with unifying themes and ideas to be more engaging than those that felt haphazardly put together.

As I’ve begun to work on my own project (creating a resource site/blog for young performers of color in musical theatre), I’ve been thinking about how I, too, can “steal,” building upon the ideas of capstone projects that came before me and on the additional resources I am using for inspiration, without half-heartedly imitating them. I want to do more than copy — I want to create and make my project my OWN! In my performance classes, we talk about how when you bring an audition song into a room, it should be so uniquely yours that the audition panel wouldn’t be able to imagine anyone else singing that song. I think the same applies for this project! I want my site to feel grounded in my personal passion for and love of what I do.

I don’t know if I’ve come up with any solutions in the course of this post, but I’m going to continue working towards creating something that is so “mine,” it could never be mistaken for anything that came before it! I’ll keep you posted (:


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One thought to “Challenge Journal 2: Amateurs imitate; artists steal.”

  1. Hello Jess,

    I am definitely super excited to see your project. I really love what your performance teacher said about making something your own so that people would never see it as anything but. I think that’s an important focal point on these projects because obviously a lot of them come from places that are not wholly and completely independent and never before seen, but its how they are morphed into something different and thus ~yours~ that counts. I feel like I will have a slightly easier time on this front with my project because I’m doing something sort of weird and relatively focused on me which inherently makes it sort of my own (at least I think it does, aha).

    I think that leads me to suggest that perhaps a good way for you to make this project your own is to incorporate your personal knowledge and experience into your project. I don’t mean you have to make parts about you, but I think that gives you some authority in what you’re saying and can also allow for you to express personally what things mean to you and why this project is important. Does that seem like something you’d want to include, or would you prefer to keep yourself out of the project? I realize in creating a resource page you may not want your own narrative in there, but perhaps it could play an interesting and effective role.

    Excited to see where your project goes!

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