Friday, July 21, 2023

Artistic Courage

Innovation vs. Imitation

What do the following legendary artists have in common?

Impressionist painter Claude Monet
Actor Cary Grant
Film director Alfred Hitchcock
And singer Tony Bennett, who passed away today at the age of 96

Granted, they are all well-known. Most people have heard recordings of Tony Bennett, seen films starring Cary Grant or directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and almost everyone has seen Monet’s paintings.

a photo or two steam pipes on madison avenue new york
Dual Steam Pipes - New York (2023)

But these artists share another quality, a quality that I would argue is the secret to their success.

They did not imitate others.

Monet didn’t try to paint like Rembrandt.
Tony Bennett didn’t try to sing like Enrico Caruso.
Hitchcock didn’t try to make films like Cecil B. DeMille.
And Cary Grant, well, he was in a class by himself.

We can learn from emulating others, but in order to reach our potential, we need to develop our own style. Have the courage to pursue your own vision. The world needs innovation, not imitation.

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