August 19, 2017

What Picasso Can Teach Us About Being Filmmakers

Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest painters in human history, but as filmmakers, what can we learn from his philosophy on art?

As filmmakers, we tend to look within our own cinematic universe for inspiration and leadership, but when it comes to art, Spanish painter Pablo Picasso is one of the most important and influential creators of the 20th century. His radical exploration of style and knack for artistic innovation not only made him the most well-known artist of his time but left a legacy of adventurous creativity for future artists as well. In the video below, Sven Pape of This Guy Edits takes a look at Picasso's famous philosophy on art and creativity to see what kinds of lessons filmmakers can learn from the father of modern art.

Picasso was a very outspoken individual, whether it was regarding art or politics. He 

"Action is the foundational key to all success."

Picasso was an incredibly prolific artist, reportedly producing over 50,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and drawings. In response to a question from Hungarian photographer Brassaï about how ideas come to him, Picasso said, "To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing," and that's exactly right. If you're bone dry of ideas or inspiration, getting to work is a great way to get them flowing.

"All children are artists."

If you have kids or are around kids you know how eager they are to create. They'll paint, draw, and make bracelets out of pipe cleaners and not even think about whether it's any good or if their peers are going to be impressed. But as we grow into adults, all of that self-doubt begins to seep in and some of us become crippled by its weight. Picasso encourages us to find ways to keep that creative fervor we had as children when we enter into adulthood.

"Bad artists copy. Good artists steal."

This is the big debate in art and creativity: is it acceptable for artists to "steal" other artists' ideas? Some say it's not. Some say it is. Some say it's impossible not to. Picasso's stance on it is simple: "Good artists steal." As filmmakers, we watch countless films, read countless screenplays, and consume tons and tons of creative content, and to think that those things don't inspire us or shape our own creative style is kind of a stretch. Should you go out and literally steal other people's ideas? Probably not, but should you allow yourself to take from your favorite creators and transform what you've gleaned into your own artistic sensibilities? In my opinion, yes.

Has Picasso or any other artist inspired you as a filmmaker? How so? Let us know down in the comments!     

Your Comment


Good artists copy; great artists steal.

August 20, 2017 at 7:29AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

I made this musicvideo for a live concert of Holst's Planets.
I "stole" a huge amount from paintings (Botticelli, J.-L. David, ...) and even statues (G. Bologne), Film (minority report), etc.
However, the story that combines all, was my own idea (the "transform" part), inspired by the mystical music of "Neptune".
Inspiration, theft, transformation and a lot of work That's my definition of being an artist.

August 21, 2017 at 4:08AM

Jens Koenig

Interesting clips, well acted and captured/edited. Reminds me of Stanley Kubrick in many ways. These seem like clips to be incorporated into a story, with dialogue. Standing alone they are a collection of interesting fragments.

August 25, 2017 at 11:57AM, Edited August 25, 11:57AM

Retired unix sys admin

Great post for a Monday morning inspiration.

August 21, 2017 at 6:59AM

John D. Kim
Director & Editor

Didn't make sense to me at all. And the author's clip after "Picasso-ing it up" was hand held and shaky. Not something I could watch.

August 25, 2017 at 11:52AM

Retired unix sys admin

Not the best of ThisGuyEdits!

September 1, 2017 at 6:21AM, Edited September 1, 6:20AM