You’re Not a Real Artist Until You Have an Artwork Stolen/ Either Stealing You’re Ideas or Your Actual Artwork

Essay by Luke Foster

“Gathering your own reference materials, sketches and using your own imagination is going to help you grow as an artist far more than stealing someone else’s work.” 
― Bonnie Hamlin

My artist friend Sean Cordeiro said that you’re not a real artist until you have an artwork stolen. Sean had a large Astro Boy plaster sculpture that he made as an undergrad at art school in the early nineties that became quite famous. He exhibited it in the first few Sculpture by Sea exhibitions that is a outdoor exhibition run from Bondi to Bronte in Sydney. He featured on the cover of the Sydney Morning Herald with the sculpture. That artwork got stolen from his parents’ house front yard in Homebush in the inner West of Sydney many years later after it was made and first exhibited.

I also had an artwork stolen from an exhibition in Queensland on opening night of a group exhibition. It was a bound book of original A4 drawings titled Joseph Beuys Meets Kurt Cobain. Joseph Beuys was an iconic German artist who healed Germany after the second world war and Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of the punk band Nirvana.

“Arguably the biggest art theft in history, dubbed the Gardner heist or the 1990 theft, in which 13 works of art were stolen, remains a mystery even 30 years later. Among the famous stolen paintings still missing are works by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and many other masterminds who probably never imagined their artworks would ever be worth millions and sought after by federal agencies all over the world.” From an article on stolen artworks

I have never stolen another artist artwork literally, but I have stolen other artist ideas in my art. Particularly the artwork of Joseph Beuys and Indian born English artist Annish Kapoor mainly as an art school student when I was trying to find my voice.