June 22, 2022: Influences

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I find myself wondering, who are my influences in terms of my art, and I’m having a hard time coming up with an answer. I can’t really point to an artist that has altered my perception to the point of embedding themselves in my artist-psyche and changed it for good.

I could say that Neil Gaiman has been a huge favorite of mine, and that his work in modern fantasy has certainly been inspirational, but I wouldn’t say he’s been influential to my work. I could say that David Lynch has been an amazing source of inspiration in terms of themes, structure, and mood, but has he been influential to my art? Lately, I’ve been greatly inspired by Van Neistat and his video essays, but has he been an influence?

Merriam-Webster defines influence as “the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways,” while inspiration is “the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.” My perception is that, in casual conversation, most people use the terms interchangeably, although, related as they may be, they’re quite distinct. I can think of tons of inspirations, but struggle to name a few influences.

I might be navel-gazing, to be sure. I see artists I admire talk readily about their influences, how that work by X shaped this creation they made, or how Y art movement gave rise to this piece, and it’s fascinating because when they point it out, I can see the DNA from one in the other, but I can’t trace that in my own art.

Of course, that then begs the question, what exactly is my art?

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