Artist Resources

Daily Inspiration: Jim Jarmusch on Stealing and Originality

"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it."

Jim Jarmusch is a director, producer, and screenwriter. He’s been at the forefront of independent and alternative cinema since the early 1980s, and his university film “Permanent Vacation” (1980), made for just $12,000 launched him onto many talents-to-watch lists. He went on to create “Stranger Than Paradise” and “Down By Law” which both carved out his signature style of long continuous shots which ran for several minutes. Jarmusch has always had a way of seeing the world though his films like an outsider, his shots often have long silences and follow characters while walking, as if Jarmusch is an alien, or voyeur from another time and place. In a 2005 interview with The New York Times, “Down by Law” star Tom Waits said of Jarmusch, “The key, I think, to Jim, is that he went gray when he was 15 … As a result, he always felt like an immigrant in the teenage world. He’s been an immigrant – a benign, fascinated foreigner – ever since. And all his films are about that.”

The above quote by Jarmusch , from his 5 “Golden Rules” is an insight into how he we can find originality by submerging ourselves (and eventually stealing from) multiple works of art. He essentially says, steal all you want, as long as the theft sparks something in your imagination.

"Still Coffee & Cigarettes" by Ronald Wigman