If you copy ideas from one person it’s a forgery. If you copy from six you’re Van Gough. That’s how you begin building a personal monopoly.
Most people know of Vincent Van Gogh as a great painter.
Here's what you don't know about him... 👇🏾
Van Gogh had no plans of becoming an artist, and arguably only became a great one after he died.
While he was alive, nobody looked at him as a prodigy. He wasn't special as a child. And he showed no streaks of unusual talent as a teen.
He was pretty bad at everything he tried.
Van Gogh actually trained to become a pastor.
But he was bad at it. He got sacked.
He tried to teach. And he was bad at it.
He took up drawing. And he was bad at it.
But no one can sack you from playing with pencils, so he continued anyway.
So if you're bad at drawing, how do you get good? By copying.
Van Gogh took inspiration from everywhere and emulated the techniques he saw. Dutch genre painting. Realist works of Millet and his contemporaries. Japanese woodblock prints. Hiroshige, Kesai Eisen and more.
Van Gogh developed his unique style by keeping the best parts of everything he tried to copy.
And I can’t emphasise enough that part of the reason Van Gough experimented with so many styles is that he was originally quite bad at many of them.
So what changed? Volume.
People laughed at Van Gogh at first. But his competence grew as he multiplied techniques across art styles.
And he just kept going. His output was insane.
He didn't get good just by being original. He got good by creating a ridiculous amount of work.
Most people don’t realise Van Gogh was only making art for around 10 years. He died aged 37.
And in those 10 short years, he produced 900 paintings and countless drawings and sketches.
On average he churned out a new piece every 36 hours.
It’s worth noting that Van Gogh doesn’t have 900 famous paintings. Only a handful.
But when you make almost 1000 of anything it’s probably no surprise that some of them become extraordinary.
Most people give up when they don't see a breakthrough:
Van Gough isn’t alone in becoming prolific through repetition.
What if I told you that out of the combined work of the 250 greatest composers, half of all these great works were produced by only 16 people?
Check out this thread: