We are continually absorbing art, as sensory and perceptive organisms our internal mind is regurgitating external influence as our thoughts and ideas. Everything inside us has been affected by the outside world and it’s psychospiritual interpretations of influence into creative ideas.
Recently I overheard a meeting between my fiancé and their peers in a studio course at our local institute. There was an elder student who claimed she avoided consuming the art of others to keep her ideas pure, refusing to research an artist recommended by the professor. She believed that by intentionally limiting her interaction with influence from other artists, she was creating art solely from an internal drive and her own substance. I noted the way she spoke was with superiority, boastful pride. Negligent and ignorant to how we think and conceive notions, I believe this the cause for her later admittance that she struggled to actualize her ideas, “it’s there, but I don’t always know how to get it out”. She has denied herself context. By aiming to separate herself as an artist from external influence, she severs critical components to understanding her own art.
Instead of utilizing her history and experience as an interactive collaboration, she’s based her own subjective worth of her art on an illusion of unadulterated originality. There are no original ideas. Ingenuity doesn’t come from a lack of influence, but an ability to interpret, extrapolate, and build upon inspiration.
Not to claim there’s no value in a dialogue about originality, I strongly believe there’s a stable balance of nature and nurture in the development of a person but even inherent aspects of ourselves come from somewhere or something. This is not particularly a religious comment, but of inherited concepts, hereditary or reincarnate. In this instance, the student has had ample time for her artistic influence to be nurtured, but she stakes claim to nature. Perhaps if she hadn’t previously proven appropriative of disempowered people’s stories and struggles such as by filming homeless members of our community without adequate accreditation or context, or if I hadn’t been in a position where I wasn’t capable of starting a critical discussion, I wouldn’t be near as harsh in my analysis of her statements. While I have spent much time thinking about inspiration and the ways we’re influenced, I thrive when my opinions are challenged and new perspectives can be added to my interpretations. As an individual with C-PTSD beginning in early childhood, my entire being has been so shaped by outside forces that the fight for finding myself has been long and gruelling. I’m made entirely too aware of how I’ve been influenced by my experiences every single day. It was only when I started breathing more in unison with the world around me that I started to grow as a more well rounded person. I believe if we’d been able, this student and I could have both grown our perceptions.
Research and examination has been key to opening my art up to a better understanding of my internal drive. Through the eyes and words of others, I find reflections of myself. In this student I see my own ignorance and self-isolating behaviours, as well as my pride and delusions of grandeur. I have inherited many things from my father including bipolar disorder, and aspects of my experience with psychotic breaks and reaching into the heart of the universe is reflected in spiritual artwork— I understand the feeling of importance, that you were meant to make your art, that it comes from somewhere deep and incredible. This is all undeniably true and not conflicting with an awareness of influence.
Expression and communication is important in the art world, and I have been isolate for a significant time. I desire to interact with my community but I’m held back by my insecurities and disabilities. This translates into frustration.