Picasso said “Bad artists copy, great artists steal.”
In other words, if you do it badly enough to get found out, you’re a mug.
Everyone says copying is wrong.
And everyone copies.
But we don’t see it in ourselves.
Because cheating is only wrong if someone else does it.
Nobody thinks we should give back the 66 World Cup, for the ball that never crossed the line.
But everybody thinks Maradonna was a terrible cheat for ‘the hand of God’.
Everyone says speeding is wrong.
And everyone breaks the speed limit.
Marijuana is illegal, and police forces are told not to enforce it.
We make rules knowing we don’t want to rigidly enforce absolutely every rule absolutely.
We are all hypocrites in that sense.
But we are meat, not metal.
We can’t, and shouldn’t, be programmed.
The rules are actually more guidelines to good behaviour.
Designed to make us follow the spirit of the law.
Not the letter of the law.
Obviously everything we do builds on what went before.
We see something, and we’re touched by it.
Inspired by it, we wish we’d done it.
We see how we could use it, how we could make it better.
At this point everyone is alone with their conscience.
Is what you’re about to do an homage (as they say in Hollywood) or a rip off?
Are you moving it on creatively?
Or just lifting it?
I was once on an awards jury in Hong Kong.
Some of the press ads we were being asked to judge actually had things peeling off at the corner.
Where they’d been stuck on.
That’s not a scam, that’s stupidity.
Those people should get fired for being stupid and lazy.
Whatever you’re going to do you should do it creatively.
If you’re going to steal, you should do it creatively.
If you can’t do that without making it obvious then you’re not creative.
If you get found out, you’re not creative per se.
An interviewer once asked Alfred Hitchcock if there was any such thing as the perfect murder.
He said, “Of course there is. It happens all the time, and no one ever finds out. That’s what makes it perfect.”
What we do for a living is try to turn things to our advantage.
In order to take unfair advantage of our competition.
Because all advantage is unfair advantage.
So taking unfair advantage is another way of saying creative.
Getting found out is not creative.
We don’t need the hypocrisy of outraged morality.
It’s stupid, and that’s bad enough for so-called creative’s.