The Podcast about Art and the Creative Process

Episode 4: Grand Theft Art-O

“Steal Like An Artist”
-Stone Cold Steve Austin Kleon

Part I: Manet’s Malaise

Artists copy! Artists steal!
Artists sample! Artists conceal!
Artists absorb what’s around them and transform it into something original and exciting.

Go steal something! You’re an artist too!


FUturama & The Simpsons

Everything is a reference all the time. These two shows created by Matt Groening are both highly original yet very referential. By it’s very nature, satire reuses existing material for the sake of humor. Both of these shows have since been copied by a number of artists and creators.

Beastie Boys & Led Zeppelin

The Beastie Boys, famous for their sampling, used Led Zeppelin’s The Ocean for their song “She’s Crafty.” Led Zeppelin did the same thing 20 years earlier with their copies, covers, and remixes of blues legends like Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon.

Kanye & Steely Dan

Kanye’s song “Champion” from his Graduation album samples Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne.” At first Steely Dan refused the let Kanye use the sample until he wrote them a personal, handwritten letter.


Edoaurd Manet: the Modern Art OG


Edouard Manet, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cezzane, and Gustave Courbet
These four men, along with others, began to turn the tide of art in the 19th century.
You can thank these guys for modern art and those paintings that are completely white.


Manet’s Olympia
Painted in 1863, exhibited at the 1865 Salon, number one most popular fridge magnet in 1885

Olympia, oil on canvas, 51” x 75,” 1863, Musee D’Orsay, Pairs

Olympia, oil on canvas, 51” x 75,” 1863, Musee D’Orsay, Pairs

Why is this painting important? What was Manet thinking of when he made it? What was the people’s response when they saw it? Why did it receive it’s own podcast segment?

Glad you asked! This painting, though certainly not the first painting of a nude woman (Manet just copied Titian’s nudes, see below), depicted a nude woman in a way that had not been seen before. Instead of painting a nude woman representing a goddess or biblical or historical figure, Manet painted what appeared to be, simply, a nude woman. Not only was she not a goddess, but she was a prostitute (the bracelet, choker, flowers, and black cat were symbols related to prostitutes). Manet also painted the woman gazed out directly at the viewer, a shocking twist from the usual coy gaze of a female nude.

What do you notice about these three paintings below? Any similarities?

MAnet’s olympia (left) was based off of Titian’s Venus of Urbino (middle), which was based off of Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus

Artist theft has been happening since the first caveman painted a horse in a cave. The way artists learn is by looking at and imitating other artists, so it’s no surprise that some of the most famous paintings in the world were based off of other paintings. However, Manet stealing the pose and setting from Titian (who learned it by finishing Giorgione’s nude after he died) doesn’t mean that Manet was unoriginal or an impostor. His remix of Titan’s painting, and of other classical works, allowed viewers to connect to something they were familiar with yet opens them up to something new. Or, the viewers reject the work and decry it as obscene and pornographic, which is what usually happens with great art (see below).

Courbet’s Le Orgine du Monde (The Origin of the World)
This painting has created many an uproar since it was created and causes John to laugh uncontrollably

While we at SOTSOG are generally opposed to censorship, using JJ’s face to cover up L’Origine du Monde not only keeps our website (mostly) SFW, it’s also hilarious. You can see the original version  here .

While we at SOTSOG are generally opposed to censorship, using JJ’s face to cover up L’Origine du Monde not only keeps our website (mostly) SFW, it’s also hilarious. You can see the original version here.


Manet was a kleptomaniac! Many of the poses and themes in his paintings were taken from other artists!
For example, his controversial “Dejuener sur L’herbe” was based off of another Titian painting, “The Pastoral Concert.” Looks like Manet liked Titian, and Titan liked painting naked women.


Part II: Gentleman Thieves

Lupin III, a quintessential gentleman thief

Lupin III, a quintessential gentleman thief

Stealing is cool and that’s all that needs to be said.

Throughout the history of animation, countless artists have contributed to a wonderful cycle of inspiring, imitating, copying, emulating, and straight up ganking. From left to right: Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks with Snow White (1937); The Wan Brothers with Princess Iron Fan (1941); Tezuka Osamu with Astro Boy (1952); Hiyao Miyazaki with The Castle of Cagliostro (1979); Rebecca Sugar with Steven Universe (2013)


Kimba the White Lion is slightly similar to The Lion King

Tezuka Osamu (1965)

Tezuka Osamu (1965)

Walt Disney (your childhood)

Walt Disney (your childhood)

Kiki’s Delivery Service is slightly different from Bible Black


What do you think about artistic theft? Do you think artists can create something that is completely original and uninspired by other artists? Join the conversation! Let us know!

Name *

Mini Inspirations

JJ’s Inspirations

  • Renaissance Paintings

    • All kinds

John’s Inspirations

  • Negativland’s Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2