Today I read an article about a scandal in the art world related to the concept of authenticity (read it yourself here). My initial reaction was to think that it had all the makings of a fantastic novel – Thomas Crown Affair meets Sherlock Holmes. I entertained visions of shifty exchanges in dark alleys, lavish lifestyles supported by false pretenses, private jets transporting forged masterpieces and an unfortunate collector swirling his brandy in front of his most recent acquisition. It was all very Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan to me, until I considered a deeper layer of meaning.
As a writer (well, and also as a human), I should think more often than I do about individuality. So much of life is spent following trends or imitating so as to profit personally in some sort of way, be it financially, politically or socially. More than that — I have always believed in the interconnectedness of life, that every new thing is influenced by what is around it or what came before it. For those reasons, I assume that ingenuity is rare, but at the same time I sense that it is all around me if I only make an effort to see it. It shows itself when an individual stays true to his or her interpretation of the world.
Getting back to the story at hand — I struggle to pass judgment on what is worse: imitating the masters and passing your work off as theirs, or stealing the design and passing it off as your own. At times I’d say most of us are at risk of one or the other, when we lose sight of our own self-worth. I value all of the people in my life whose actions or qualities assure me that originality is alive and kicking.