Thoughts on Originality

by | Feb 26, 2013 | 4 comments

Thoughts on Originality blog illustration of Sumi-e painting of penguins


“What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new idea, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough” Eugene Delacroix

What is originality or original art? I think there is nothing new. There are only new interpretations of already existing concepts and those interpretations define the authenticity or uniqueness of the expression.


So again the words fail us. There should be a word that describes the act of going slightly beyond already existing understanding, the act of coming up with an authentic concept, which is based on already existing knowledge. 


When it comes to creativity, originality is particularly important more to the Western (individualistic) mind, as it separates him/her from another. In this pursuit of being different, sometimes the artist loses the sense of harmony, and the resulted work is chaotic.

“Originality”, better “authenticity”, comes from constant practice, firmly establishing the ground, based on already existing knowledge, and bringing in your own. 

“The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity”. Thomas Carlyle 


  1. MT McClanahan

    Very nice. That "word" may be the proverbial one of "process".

  2. Lilith Ohan

    Thank you Ruth….the essential IS in the invisible…


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