How many of you agree with Steve Jobs


I am sure you guys have heard or read about steve jobs saying “great artists steal”.

since almost everybody here is or considers themselves as artists, do you agree with this quote?


In a sense, yes.

It’s Scott Adams (the Dilbert creator) that half jokingly makes the point in one of his books that originality is simply incompetent plagiarism. So you try copying something, but because you’re not good enough it looks different, and possibly original.

We’re all influenced by stuff around us. I’m phenomenally aware that if I’m playing about with a music program I’ll make stuff that sounds like what I’ve been listening to that day. Breaking free of those influences can be very hard indeed.


I’m pretty sure he meant that all artists take ideas from everything. We borrow/steal from our surrounding environment. So whatever we surround ourselves with, is what we will use as a reference in our art. So his statement is accurate, to a certain degree. However, I don’t agree with actually taking someone’s art, and copying it stroke for stroke. I don’t think that is what Steve meant.


haha I love that “incompetent plagerism” what a great way of putting it. I think ill get one of his books. I love dilbert and all.


i believe he took that quote from picasso, “good artists copy, great artists steal”


thats right, if you never stole an idea then you would be working in a vacuum, and thats the worst thing of all, steve jobs may be a bit crazy sometimes, but he knows about design, and “get well soon to him!”


Well i dont think many intentionally steal ideas.

But similaritys are always pointed out, which some people see as stealing, The simple fact is theres only so many ideas that you could do, and as ideas are done your bound to get similar things cropping up.

So its more the case of great artists think alike. But if your first of course you usually get more recognition. :slight_smile:


I don’t think he is saying something new. I remember also a quote from someone i don’t remember his name now, that all artists steal, but the great ones, cover their traces much better.
The truth as i see it is that there is no originality. Even our fantasies are made up from bits and pieces we have experienced in our lives. All the textures the shapes and colors we’ve ever seen. Just like we can’t create matter out of nothing, in the same way we can’t create something totally unique.
Oh yeah, we steal big time! :slight_smile:


Really? Mmmm. Anyway . . .

Personally I think you can be truly original, it’s just very hard. The aforementioned Picasso quote could well be referring to his relationship with Georges Braques, the other principal cubist, arguably better at it than Picasso. By working so closely those two together managed to bounce off each other in their own environment to create something that was totally new, although I think they got the basic idea off Cezanne by developing their ideas in isolation from outside they took it to whole new levels.

This is why you can easily get fascinated by art from other cultures, because it’s so different and hasn’t been influenced by the same things as you. They evolve separately over time. You can do this yourself, but you have to work at it. Miyazaki said he struggled to break free of Tezuka’s influence on him, for example.

I find the best way is to try and consume as much contradictory stuff as possible. For example, sometimes I look at comic styles where the legs get really thin towards the base, and think “that looks cool” but I’m also a sucker for flared legs. When I come to making a character it then becomes a concious choice: do I want narrowing or flared legs for this?


do you have his link of that quote?

by the way, I kinda agree.


Not really, but I do agree that alot of artists make reference only to their influence. To steal an idea is to say…COPY THE IDEA EXACTLY. Thats stealing.


I’ve also heard “Talent borrows, Genius steals”

A competent artist may copy another’s subject matter, and even style. That has been a part of fine art since the dawn of time. Hence ART MOVEMENTS, such as cubism. But what happens when an artist takes copies someone’s style and subject matter, and does such a damn good job, that people remember him for the style not the original creator. This is genius.

I think that is what Picasso meant.

Picasso used to say to Mattise all the time while visiting his studio “I come as a thief, beware”


Really? Mmmm. Anyway . . .

Personally I think you can be truly original, it’s just very hard

Why the really? If that’s sarcasm then it’s in the wrong place because it’s a fact that you cannot create matter from nothing. About the truly original thing, I think that’s false. There is nothing that is truly original. You are either melding ideas together or taking an idea from one thing and putting it into another. Name one thing that is completely unique, that wasn’t influenced by anything else, natural or otherwise.


I think he actually stole that quote :wink:


good artists copy, great artists steal. ie you take an idea for yourself and use it in your own way thus the idea developes and then becomes something great. An artist who copies is just replicating something but not adapting it or progressing it.

Its a cool quote and makes me feel good!

Sometimes you can adapt a borrowed idea so far that it becomes unrelated to its original basis thus making it original. Originality is a heavy concept if you think about it, i mean what is original?

Anybody remember that Saab (i think or Audi) ad that had things topelling into one another and causing something else to happen, im sure everybody knows that there was a big hoo-hah about it being ripped from some artists who did a similar thing. But when the ad was televised it got people talking and saying how wonderful and original it was.

anyway my cup of tea is stewing…


How ironic he stole that quote… or was that his point?


Picasso used to say to Mattise all the time while visiting his studio “I come as a thief, beware”

hehe - i like that anecdote :slight_smile:


In the spirit of this thread, I’d like to humbly submit another relevant quote:

“The secret to creativity is hiding your sources.” – Albert Einstein.

I just love that. :thumbsup:


It was Pablo Picasso who said “Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.”

In other words, when you’re inspired by something, don’t just try to duplicate it - take it, run with it, build on it, develop it, make it into something of your own. Then you’ll have made something unique that people associate with you.

For an example of the difference, when somebody tries to film a Matrix-style fight scene now, those are mostly bad artists copying. Now, The Matrix clearly had its own influences (from comic books, anime, hong kong action films, etc.) but the directors picked them up and made them into their own thing, adopted them to the point that now I hear people talking about how “John Woo is using Matrix-style shots” (instead of the other way around!) They clearly made that their own. Whether you use the word “stealing” or not, their influences have been appropriated, adopted, developed into what’s clearly identified as their own style.



I remember watching the first Matrix and thinking about how orginal those bullet time sequences were, how creative right? Then I realized that they do that in Anime all the fricken time. In anime you go into bullet time when the phone rings and you turn to answer it. But it was still cool in the Matrix and it was totally stolen, now it is badly copied by a bunch of other people. I think it’s stuff like this Picasso was talking about.

Edit: oops, my point was already made. I just copied it from the previous post…