Critique of Denying Artistic Influence

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. She said it felt special and unique. Spending so much energy on creating boundaries around her inspiration and revelling in them, she didn’t consider all she’s doing worshipping denial. Avoiding art is impossible.

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. 

Being an older artist, she’s already been exposed. Now she’s decided to ‘forget’ the sources of her preferences, her interests, her style.

There’s value in a dialogue about originality, and in general I do believe there’s a stable balance of nature and nurture in the development of a person and their work. The key is balance.

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.

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