Cut and Paste Your Life

Changing landscapes, a collage of a girl in the ocean with walruses

Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path.

-Austin Kleon

This is a quote from one of our favorite books called, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon.

The book is about how creative people come up with new ideas by essentially stealing and reorganizing from existing ideas.

We love using collage in our workshops because it’s a perfect metaphor for how this principle of creativity works. Creative people metaphorically steal, cut, remix, and paste together raw material and ideas from all of life. This involves much playing and experimenting. Many artists, including us, use collage as a way to unblock and generate new ideas for projects.

The plethora of used magazines is an incredible resource for art making and idea generating, for magazines house images from our entire culture, virtually every subject matter under the sun. (Check out your public library for a great variety of used ones).

Imagery is a powerful universal language that strikes a different cord in people than does written or spoken words. Images go deeper, and touch your subconscious, emotional, and intuitive sensibilities. We find that using images adds a richness and uniqueness to generating ideas because it accesses a different part of the brain than does written or spoken language, and when collaging, we’re always surprised with what we come up with.

Try cutting and pasting random elements and ideas together, with images. Create a new product, a new creature, a fantastical world, a new story. Try to solve any current problem using only images. Choose images that resonate with you, then just play with them, mess around, experiment, throw incongruous elements together.  In art, there are no rules. Steal, cut, and paste your way to something new.

We bet you’ll come up with answers you never thought of.