Influence

No matter what medium you create in, or how isolated you may feel, there's always going to be a certain level of influence upon your work. Picasso's greatest influence was supposedly El Greco, Beethoven was influenced by Mozart, The Beatles admitted that they were influenced by people like Smokey Robinson and Chuck Berry, though you can't hear it in their work. Who are your greatest influences? Do you feel guilty when you sense their style coming out, or do you think it's only natural and nothing to be concerned about?

I think it's perfectly fine for someone to be influenced, and I say, don't fight it. First of all, we see a little bit of ourselves in them, and then we emulate, and then we compare. They did the same thing, and so did everyone else before them. It's like parenting, we need structure and guidance in the creative world so that we can feel free, later on, to break the rules and to create on our own. We need to know that our ideas aren't ridiculous, that someone else found a way to make them work.

I would never suggest copying another writer or artist. But I would suggest emulating their style if it fits yours. We all need mentors. Pick the best and allow yourself to learn from their greatness.

Comments

  1. A college English professor gave us almost that assignment. We had to write pieces in the style of different authors. One topic by ten different authors. That was nearly fifty years ago, but I'll bet it remains a teaching aid.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a lot of fun, actually!

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  2. My greatest influences were definitely my father and mother -- each in his or her own way and both of them together. They taught me to love learning, to love family and to love each other...

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  3. I love authors that I can identify with Amy and I suppose they have influenced the way I write quite a lot.

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  4. I respect artists who can admit to being influenced or inspired by other artists or people. I find it hard to swallow when someone maintains they are truly not influenced by anything or anyone.

    Great post!

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  5. There's a world of difference between plagiarism and influence. Everyone is influenced by their surroundings; in the way they speak, dress, and behave. The same is true of 'artists'; that's why we study.

    Plagiarism, however, is totally different; it's simply an excuse for lack of talent.

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