My Drawings have Become Derivative/ My Main Art Project Over the Past Decade is to Give Drawings Away/ I have Given Away More than 3000 Drawings (Not Sure Exactly as I Didn’t Count)

Essay by Luke Foster

Derivative definition


imitative of the work of another artist, writer, etc., and usually disapproved of for that reason.

I feel my drawing is terribly derivative not of other artists but repeating myself and not a new idea every drawing.

Ever since Yoshitomo Nara gave me a drawing in 2000 in a drawing swap when I worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney for the contemporary Japanese group show exhibition titled Neo-Tokyo, I have made it a pillar of art practise to give and do swaps with other artists. I have artworks mainly drawings from quite a few Australian artists as a result.

I have also given drawings to artists, actors, world leaders, friends, baristas, cleaners, bus drivers, hospital staff, doctors and even on buses to random strangers.

I sold that Nara drawing at auction in Sotheby’s in London last year and it helped me pay for my one-bedroom apartment.

That’s why I give my, art as even if my art isn’t financially valuable like a Nara, I remember how happy I was when he gave me a drawing I admired.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

 Lao Tzu

The Drawing Yoshitomo Nara gave me on the back of an envelope.

If I really like someone, I make a book of drawings about them and send it to them. I did that quite a bit last year.

Drawing inspired by Yoshitomo Nara in an artist book

Sometimes I also give hand drawn t-shirts usually made with black sharpie pens on cheap white t-shirts.

Me at Mothers Love exhibition at Kirra Hill with a hand drawn t-shirt 2022