I'm a big fan of Alyson Stanfield. The woman knows her stuff inside and out and there's no sugar coating on it. I appreciate good clean honesty, especially in the art world.
She posted this question on her blog today: Is there such a thing as originality?
I've found this to be a fairly touchy subject. Almost up there with "What is art?" Now there's a topic that will go in circles for centuries.
But we're not going there. We're scrutinizing originality today.
There isn't much in this world that we don't learn by mimicking someone else. Some things we learn, mostly the mundane ones, we never try to change from the way we were taught. Let's be honest, my mom taught me to brush my teeth up and down and I'm not likely to ever do it different.
But when it comes to art, I think there needs to be some thoughtful consideration when it comes to how much of someone else's style is present in a piece. I've been pretty touchy about my own work, I avoid classes that involve projects. I'm a technique only gal and even at that, I'm insanely selective. I've only taken four classes in my art life, most everything else I've learned has been through torturing my studio with experiment after experiment.
We've all seen the clones of other artist's work who are on the teaching circuit. It happens, its inevitable. And I've got nothing impolite to say to these students. Why? Because I understand the need to want to just make something. Its why I knit. I grab the yarn and the needles and the pattern and just work. I love knitting because I don't design any of the patterns or think up new things. I just go. So I totally understand the appeal.
But think about the flip side of this. What would happen if you took what you learned in that class and turned it upside down and stretched it until it begged for mercy?
That's what I think of when people talk about originality. Its something that I think I owe to myself - the work of finding that place where the process and the work feels like me.
I believe its still out there. But I believe its a process. It begins in a familiar place and then just flings itself in its own direction.
What do you think? Do you think originality is still alive and well?