Creative What? Integrity in Art


Good artists copy, great artists steal.
- Pablo Picasso

This weekend I got out for the SE PDX Artwalk here in Portland.  More specifically I got out to the Ford Building which houses quite a few artists and more specifically one of a close friends favorites.  It was inspiring and amazing to see the spaces that other artists work in.  Afterwards as  my friends and I went to get a beer one of my friends said that my work reminded her  of one of the artists we had visited with. I stepped back agasp and immediately went to look at my Instagram feed stammering all the reasons I felt that our work was different.  For my friends it was a casual comment made with no harm intended.  For me it was a challenge to my creative integrity. 

In this wake of all this I decided that today I would ask the fellow artists and makers in one my facebook groups what creative integrity was for them. I was surprised with the diversity of answers.  As I read each response I thought within myself yes, that is EXACTLY what I am talking about!  How is then that we can all have such different answers to one question and yet they are all the correct answer?

Yes. It is true.

They are all correct because they are all part of the same answer. 

* Be Inspired *

Inspiration is essential for creatives to do what it is that we do.  In a digital age that inspiration often comes through social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other artists websites and blogs.  Naturally someone else's work is going to influence our work. However I think the defining line is when a creative takes ownership over an idea they learned from another artist. 

*Support Others*

This is huge for me.  I think that Integrity goes beyond poaching other creatives ideas but also to the actions of creatives within our communities.  To have creative integrity we should be investing in our fellow artists and supporting each other in our progression as artists.  

*Source Responsibly*

This was an aspect that I hadn't fully realized in my thoughts on creative integrity.  When I asked about creative integrity in one of my online communities and someone brought up the sourcing of materials. I realized immediately that not only should be we sourcing our ideas responsibly but also our materials.

*Make art for yourself first*

Personally, I believe that we are best serving our communities when we are making art for ourselves first  Art is a language and an expression of something raw and real that requires honoring. A second thought on this is also that we have a  responsibility to honor our voice. We are all given creative gifts and not only do we owe it to ourselves to listen to that voice but we owe it to our communities to bring forth that expression.


I think more than anything being aware of how we are being inspired and how we are creating our work is the truest form of integrity.  We will learn from others but emulations only can take you so far. We have powerful creative voices inside all of us that need expressing.