Pastiche, Pasticcio

A word for borrowing the style of other artists or artist period. It may not be a bad thing per se, and may indeed be totally unavoidable at some level, but the term is often used in a derogative way to label art which brings nothing new or original to the art market.

The word pastiche is a French appropriation of the Italian noun pasticcio, which in turn is a pâté or pie-filling mixed from some mystery ingredients. In a way, you then say that the work of art is composed by several authors.

In contemporary art, that may attract scathing criticism. Whereas In academe, the opposite of having multiple authors is encouraged. I.e. if you are being influenced quite noticeably by one other scholar it is plagiarism, but if you steal or liberate from multiple sources and remember to refer to them, your work is considered a worthy contribution.

Logically, art only becomes better by having multiple influences. At least, no one has made a particularly strong case against it, and most great artists of our times are erudite, open-minded, individuals who keep their eyes and ears open.

Pablo Picasso famously uttered that good artists copy and the best artists steal.

Above you might notice a pastiche of Jackson Pollock’s drip painting style. Indeed, no one actually succeed in creating drip- or pour paintings these days without being regarded a copyist of abstract expressionism.