Copy, Paste, and then Personalize

Sometimes the ordinary stuff is just more interesting

People copy for two reasons:

  • To learn
  • To develop their own style

There’s nothing wrong with copying for purposes of practice. You can mimic the writing of Hemingway or paint like Van Gogh if that helps hone your skills. Where copying gets complicated is when you use someone’s original work and try to pass it off as your own. That’s copyright infringement.

A more subtle version of copying is emulation. Kobe Bryant cops Michael Jordan’s style. Lady Gaga takes after Madonna. The fashion industry recycles old trends. You can steal someone’s style but you’re responsible for doing the work and then stamping the world with your own individuality.

The point of copying is to master the fundamentals so you can develop your own unique style. Everyone grows up with different experiences and perspectives. Your job as an artist, athlete, and person, is to show how those things shaped you and where you want to go next.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.