Monday, May 21, 2018

Anonymous asked: As a student, how can you consciously block out influences, if they tend to overtake the spirit of your work? I've been accused of ripping a style off thoughtlessly (they were entirely right in saying so), while it was completely subconscious. How do you work through this period of mimicry with honesty and sensitivity?

I don’t think you should block out your influences—I think you should do the opposite and try to get immersed fully immersed in them.

If you’re influenced by a work of art and make something that is visually similar—then you’ve probably digested it only at a surface level. You see red and you make red. The solution isn’t to disengage, but to inquire further—much further. Asking “why is this red?” is one of the most worthwhile questions you can ask.

If you see an image you like, don’t just bookmark it. Find out who made it. Find out more about the artist—read about what influenced them, read about where and how they grew up, try to reach out to them personally if they’re alive. Does the work belong to part of a larger movement? Learn about the movement. Learn about the artists’ contemporaries and dive just as deeply into their work as that of the artist who introduced you to them in the first place.

If you truly learn what motivated an artist to make the work they do, you will find a way to examine them better with your own experiences and perspectives and you will find an output that is more sincere to you.

Eric Hu AMA