“Bad Artist Copy, Great Artist Steal”-Picasso
“The Bad Artist Imitate, The Great Artist Steal”-Banksy
This quote was originally stated by Picasso, although Banksy switched the original phrase of this quote which, Picasso said “Bad Artist Copy, Great Artist Steal” Banksy is known for his controversial art work and in this piece of art he has written the same quote on a stone, scratched out Picasso’s name (which is visible) and wrote his name beneath it. This art work gives authorship a new meaning. Banksy exploits this message and at the same time redefines what it means to be original by stealing his quote and adding his twist to it.
In my opinion the quote means that in order to consider yourself a great artist you shouldn’t copy the work of others, you must steal it. The difference between the two is, there’s no such thing as originality and by copying someone else work you are not adding the unique elements to differentiate that persons’ work from yours. When you steal someone’s work it becomes yours and therefore, you receive all the credit. Everyone is inspired by someone or something and often times, because we like that persons’ work we tend to subconsciously copy it.
As described by Prof Schmidt “a detournement is always in the spirit of a prank, in opposition to or parodying the original.” Obviously, Banksy thinks of himself as a great artist which is why he scratched out Picasso’s name and added his own. The self appraisal in this work created by Banksy, could possibly lead people to question whether or not this quote may be the source of Banksy’s career. All ideas come from somewhere, doesn’t it? Since Picasso said it himself that great artist steal, then that could have been the drive that set forth Banksy’s form of art. As he is known for appropriating the work of others in the form of detournement, in this case Banksy did not re-write the message in the style of grafitti, he kept it the same but used a different source of medium; a stone. The context of this message is exactly what Banksy is brilliantly practicing. Just like Picasso said, good artist copy and great artist steal.