What am I on about? I am talking about the act of acquiring something from a source. This is a topic of constant scrutiny in my industry and everyone ironically feels that everything they have ever created comes from their own head and is original. To be blunt, this is bullshit. Everything – and this cannot be more prevalent than today – is derived from something.
Everyone influences each other, everything comes from something.
When I was at uni, and even going (as far back!) as high school art, we were taught to discuss our influences and inspirations – people and things that moved us and influenced our art, design and writings. Somehow when you get into the workforce and start creating your work you are taught (through bad examples) to pretend you have not looked at anyone else’s current work (how many times have I heard, ‘Oh? No, I have never heard of them’ meaning ‘darling, I am so busy with my own work, do you think I have time to look at someone else’s?’ which might as well be followed with, ‘Do you have any idea who I am?!’) that you have no idea what is going on around you, and that no one but your own self-centred inner self turns your light on. And in my experience this is based on fear - God forbid, it might show that your work is not purely original and has been influenced by your peers and surroundings.
I don’t abide by this bad habit. Because of course I have been influenced by my peers and contemporaries – so was Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec and friends. And of course my work has derived from something else. We are all part of a collective consciousness and we move with it, collectively. It is good practice to recognise your influences and discuss them as equals. Share, give, and be grateful. 2008 has no room for individuals who shout ‘this is mine!’. Be careful what you claim to be your own, because if you do your homework you will see that there is a direct trail left behind you of where you actually got your idea, and that often leads back to the very place you are trying to claim it from.
This idea of derivation will be more accepted in this coming decade as we move toward reworking old designs, renovating and being more resourceful with what we have. We will recognise that all things come from something – that is how we will evolve with what we have. It will be your service, dedication and passion that will distinguish you.
(now on with hunting and gathering!...)