No one creates in a vacuum. The Romans got inspired by the Greeks, the Greeks were in part influenced by the Egyptians, who in turn were influenced by older cultures and so on. And of course, there’s the Renaissance artists, who were influenced by the Greeks and Romans.
In other words, inspiration is what fuels artists, even those who are trying to be radical and break the mold.
Recently, as part of a class project, we were asked to design a poster for an upcoming event. As a visual learner, I wanted to see the works of previous years, just to get inspiration and let my ideas flow. In part, I also wanted to see the previous posters to learn what not to do.
My professor didn’t have the posters at the moment, so I emailed another person who was involved in the project. His response?
“Israel, I don’t have any posters on hand…be creative!”
When I read the “be creative” part, I scoffed out loud. I couldn’t help myself. This person was saying that wanting to see previous posters for inspiration was going against creativity!
He was in effect saying that being creative meant inventing things out of thin air. Well, no one does that. We are all influenced by the things we see and hear. Even the first people creating art, the cavemen, were influenced and inspired by nature.
All artists have people that they admire and get inspiration from. That’s just part of the process of creativity.
In the end, my professor found the older posters and it did help me to get a better idea about the project. My poster ended up being completely different from everyone else involved, both past and present. And guess what?
My poster won the contest.