Both Pablo Picasso and Steve Jobs have been quoted as saying, “good artists copy; great artists steal”. Considering the sources, this is certainly something interesting to say. Both Picasso and Jobs are generally viewed as creators of work that have become iconic, widely recognized, or called things like, “visionary” or “genius”. Are they saying that stealing is the path to greatness, or is there a deeper meaning?

In all fairness, Picasso was the one to speak the words originally. Jobs only repeated them, but somehow the quote has been attributed to him, as well. It’s difficult to really know what was at the core of what Picasso meant by saying those words. Was he describing his creative process? Was it an observation on his part? The real question is, how much of what we consider great art by great artists is copied? Or for that matter, are there any that are flat-out stolen? When it comes to ideas and creativity, it’s difficult to know for sure, especially when works of art that are hundreds of years old come into question.

It’s no secret that artists are often inspired by other works, or work closely with other artists themselves. Artists often befriend one another and creative pieces can exhibit similarities as a result. However, where does the boundary lay between inspiration and copying? And between copying and stealing?

All we know, is that creativity springs from countless sources, and that inspiration for artists can be a fickle mistress. On a more personal, and especially professional level, it’s your Orange County graphic design teams belief that stealing and copying have no place in the creative industry. For Urban Geko, integrity ranks at the top of our list of values. What do you think?

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