Written by Kristyn Ewing. Media by Sara Dawson.
There sparks an idea in the head, the body produces the work, and a piece of art is created. The anticipation grows to see how people react to the “new best thing.” The buzz around the piece starts up and in the snap of a finger, one can be an overnight sensation. That is an example of what every artist dreams would happen to them; not to play devil’s advocate, but sometimes our art is a total flop in which disappointment sets in and dreams don’t come true. In times like these, artists need to stop, take a deep breath and rethink their artistry process from the very beginning.
I’d like to say everything I create is original, but the reality is, it’s not. As a Digital Media major, I make revisions and remixes quite a bit, especially with publication communication. I believe there are countless ways to do one simple task because everyone brings to the table their own experiences and talents. Also, I know that any type of art I create can be traced from an artist in the past.
To take a deeper look: I can create a piece of art, but I most likely had gotten the ideas from people like Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson, Paula Scher, and Debbie Millman. Doing some research I found that Stefan Sagmeister was inspired by Tibor Kalman and David Carson was inspired by Hans-Rudolf Lutz. Paula Scher was inspired by Herbert Matter. Debbie Millman was inspired by Massimo Vignelli. The list goes on.
Nothing anymore is completely original. The first day of my first class at Greenville University, Professor Lisa Sharpe gave me a great piece of advice. She recommended we spend each and every day looking at art. Since that day, I have done so and have benefitted greatly from it—whether from five minutes or an hour. I use tools like Pinterest to save images and ideas I can look back on. I also reference a large collection of magazines that I own. In the magazines, I find new layouts, color schemes, and new placements for photographs which then lead to new poses I can use with models.
With resources all around us, it can be a lot to take in. Sometimes we can get in a funk and not create anything because the examples of art we do see seem impossible to remix and make our own in a way that does them justice. Debbie Millman once said in an interview: “I feel that confidence isn’t as important as courage, and the action to DO something is much more critical to success than the idea that you feel confident about doing it.” In other words, we just have to do and be okay with failing forward.
Igor Stravinsky once said: “You ‘respect,’ but I love.” This phrase just shows that, as artists, it’s because we love what we see that we want to use other art with the intention of putting our own spin on it. I think it’s important that we give credit where credit is due. As an artist, I’d rather be known as an honorable artist than a thief.
For me, whenever I need to stop and rethink my artistry process I find myself in the Bible. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 says: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is NO new thing under the sun.” I find it so comforting that God alone reminds us that nothing is going to be new—a big weight has just fallen off my shoulders. As an artist, I love the remixes and I use them as inspiration as I create my own kind of art.