What does that mean? So in that long time of playing, who are we playing like, if not like ourselves? The answer is, we are playing like other people.
“Wait, what? I am no faker and I don’t copy anyone! I’m an innovator, I do original sh*t! “(excuse the language). That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I first heard this quote. And the same sentiments also arose when reading Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. In it he says,
“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.”
That's when I learned that great artists copy, that's how they get better and make it their own.
Recently, I needed to apply this lesson, when it came to my museum practice. For the last two years I have been rebuilding my museum education career after taking a seven-year break to care for my kids and start my creative business. It's been a slow process and I have to admit that it took me a while to find my groove again. I wasn’t confident in my teaching at the beginning. The museum education field had changed so much in the seven years that I was away, and I realized that the way I used to give tours was not the way they were facilitated now.
I knew the remedy right away, though. I needed to watch and learn. So I observed a lot of other museum educators give their tours, and, yes, I sometimes copied their techniques because they worked! Little by little I started developing my own style, my own teaching personality and I began to facilitate like myself. It doesn't mean that I stop learning or that I stop observing other people, it just means that I'm more secure in who I am as a museum educator and as a teaching artist because I followed and copied for a long time.
Where are you in your art journey? Are you teaching/playing/working like yourself yet? How did you get there? Would love to hear your thoughts!