It's Not New and I Can't Draw

Here are two statements that I'm tired of hearing:

1.  When people are talking to me about drawing and they say, "I can't even draw a straight line."

2.  And the statement, "It's all been done before."

Okay, 1. is easy.  Straight lines are BORING! If you can't draw a straight line then that is really, really good!!  Look in nature, do you see any straight lines out there?  No.  Maybe there are some, but I don't see them.   Draw some crooked lines, they are much more interesting and fun and full of energy.  The next time someone says this to me I'm going to tell them that. *

Here are some wonderful lines by Cy Twombly

Okay, 2. seems to be something I hear from artists over and over.  Is it really true that it's ALL been done before??  I'm just asking?  It seems to me that it all HASN'T been done before, I mean Twitter was a new thing right?  And this candle holder by Josh Redman is like no other I've ever seen.


There are loads of things that haven't been done.  We don't know what they are because they don't exist yet.

When I first read the statement "Nothing is Original" on Austin Kleon's blog yesterday it made me angry.  I thought he shouldn't be saying this, but he goes on to say that most new things are a mashup of other older/existing things.

I guess that's probably true.  As an artist I'd say all of what I make has elements of existing work in it.  But once it's out there, in whole, it's a new thing right? and it probably hasn't been done exactly like I did it.  So it's New.  No one has my hands, or kicks the wheel just like I do, or whatever, so it has to be original in that way.  Maybe? ?

The word original comes from the root origin. So to be original should there be only one origin?  I don't know, it seems like small potatoes to me.  New and Original aren't the same thing are they?

I think there are certainly original things out there.  Just as an example, if I pick up a ball of clay and go out and throw it at a tree and it sticks to the tree then the resulting piece of clay that eventually comes off will be something unique and original won't it?  I mean I won't be the first person to throw clay at a tree but the finished bit will be original.

I don't know, I'm just rambling on, I'm no logician or philosopher.  Here's my real point:

The following are some things that I think are the meanings behind statements 1. and 2.
(pick as many as you like)

I am afraid to draw.
I think my drawings are crap.
Someone once told me my drawings were crap and I believe them.
I'm too afraid to do any work.
I'm going to put my work down because then it makes me feel better.
I am comparing my work to someone else's and I feel like a total loser.
If I try something then someone will judge me and I'll die.
Saying it's been done before gets me off the hook.
Saying it's been done gives me permission to not try harder.

There are others. I know some of these by heart b/c I've said them in one form or another.

So I just wanted to get that down here.  I'm sure I could have polished this up a bit but I never do that.  So maybe we'll discuss this a little (or not).  I can always just put up some images of my cups.


*And please don't tell me you can only draw stick figures. Stick figures are really quite neat. (esp. when animated and fighting w. swords)