I can already see this going badly. I don’t mean appropriate
as in steal, and I definitely don’t intend for you to use this rant as
justification to take credit for someone else’s work.

I want you to think of appropriation as a means to learn and
understand your own style and tastes.

We all naturally gravitate toward certain artists and
aesthetics, but we rarely ever try to understand what it is about them or their
work that we like so much, and how we can utilize their influence on us as a
means to discover our personal artistic voice.

As a lettering artist, I am immediately turned off by fake
sentiment and stereotypical, regurgitated motivational bru ha ha. (Side note,
who else  would totally start a band
called ‘Regurgitated Motivational Bru Ha Ha?’ Just me then? Right, back to that
blog nonsense)

I am however immediately drawn to honesty and genuineness in
hand lettered quotes, especially when they are from the artist lettering them.
I’ve also found that I like style when applied purposefully, does the style
chosen match the voice of the piece? It’s not uncommon that you will come
across work that has 14 beautifully rendered styles and is composed with such
forethought that its immediately striking, but then you realize that it doesn’t
enrich the quote in any way, or worse, it actually gets in the way of or is
counter to the meaning or emotion of the words themselves. That immediately
falls flat for me.

It actually reminds me of this quote by Milton Glaser:

“The next time you see a sixteen-color,
blind-embossed, gold-stamped, die-cut, elaborately folded and bound job,
printed on handmade paper, see if it isn’t a mediocre idea trying to pass for
something else.” 

For this step, I challenge you to find a few pieces that
really speak to you and replicate them. But don’t just copy them and sit back
and pat yourself on the back. I mean, study them, why do you like them, is it
the color palette, line quality and execution? Or is it the emotion, attitude,
or voice of the piece. Once you feel like you’ve got a handle on what it is you
like about them, try to combine those things that speak to you in new and
interesting ways. The key here is to put your own spin on it.

Think of it this way, back in the day, if you wanted to paint
like the master painters, you painted their work and tried to understand every
nuance about why it was great. I think we as artists should continue this
practice as a means to study and train ourselves to be better artists, and also
better understand and express our own artistic voice.

But whatever you do, for the love of all that is holy, DO
NOT just rip somebody else off and try to pass their work off as your own. That
shit is just wrong.

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