Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pablo Picasso is not an asshole: Introducing the musical toolbox

“Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal”

For this blog entry, I will be focusing on this frequently misunderstood quote. It is widely believed that Pablo Picasso created this assholish statement, but upon further research I found that this quote is actually based off a review T.S. Eliot wrote on Philip Massinger’s work. Eliot didn't actually say this quote in the review, rather he insinuated it's meaning.


So with no evidence Picasso said it, and a paragraph by the notorious T.S. Eliot that potentially sparked this quote – I would imagine a long game of telephone actually molded this set of words into it’s current form. It doesn’t matter where it originated; it exists because a lot of people believe it does – oddly enough that’s how god(s) came to be.


For aesthetic purposes, I am going to attribute this quote to Picasso - not to purposefully shit on the scholarly value of this writing but, because his name works well with asshole. (pic(ass)(o) – (ass)h(o)le).

On the first interpretation of this quote, it may seem like your betraying your artistic nature. “Why would I borrow or steal when I want to create something new?” Well schizophrenic other me… let’s dissect what creation actually is!

Creation is you subconsciously rearranging everything you have experienced in your life. That’s right, if you are a creator of things, everything you have created has been stolen from people, places, movies, music, or whatever you have experienced in your short life. Much like the vastness of our universe, an infinite amount of ideas have been thought before. So to be truly original is almost impossible.

If you haven’t done this before, you should drive to the ocean at night. The infinite blackness of the Atlantic brings out all the stars hidden by light pollution. It’s kind of like a black light revealing seamen stains after a successful 10,000 to 1 bukkake… Think about all those glowing dots (or seamen stains) like individual ideas. As artists, it is our job to connect all these dots. Connecting the dots is essentially creativity. The better you can do it, the more creative you will be.


Now where do we get ideas? This is where our musical toolbox comes in! I stole this idea from Stephen King's brilliant book called “On writing”, which if you haven’t read, I highly recommend it. To fill up our toolbox, you want to use Picassoisim ("…great artists steal"). If you hear a section of music that really moves you, mentally throw that into your toolbox. Even it’s very small... like a three second guitar bend that fascinates you, go ahead... throw it in your toolbox.

Child's wooden tool box small by Big Jigs

Essentially building your musical toolbox is like honing in on what you consider to be good music. Of course the definition of “good music” is different for everyone, but if you are taking a conscious effort to find and absorb parts of others peoples compositions that you feel strongly about, then you will know better where to go and what you want from a piece you compose.

If you think about it that’s how all ideas, sciences, arts, philosophies… or just about anything has evolved. A conscious understanding of the past and an intentional rebuilding to improve it just makes a whole lot of sense in every creative feild. To be fortunate enough to have 1000’s of years of musical development to steal from is a true blessing. Now I’m not saying you should totally rip of other artists – but I am saying is you should build off others ideas to take them to new places.


So build up your musical toolbox! It will help you hone in on the path your music is naturally going to. Like a plant that faces the sun wherever the sun may be… if you are gifted at connecting the dots, developing a toolbox will help your music face the sunshine… letting the sunshine in will help you grow and in the end, that is what existing is all about!

Now lets rock out!



Anonymous said...

i think you should watch r.i.p.

it's a great document about war.

Andrew Mello said...

I looked it up and couldn't find it! Give me some more information and i would love to check it out. I'm always down for learning new things!

Anonymous said...

available for free download via the website!

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