Ever since I moved to Fort Collins, I’ve heard about Michael deMeng. Well, really read about him through workshops he has taught at the Artist’s Nook. I’ve drooled and dreamed that I too, would someday be able to make art that is inspired by his assemblages and techniques, without appearing as though they were inspired by his work.
The biggest fear for all people who create art- be it visual, written, musical, etc,- is that their work will be labeled as “copycat.” I know this fear affects and effects my decisions while making art. Hell, I’ve even not made art because I felt the idea was too similar to another artist’s work.
But Michael (I don’t think he’d mind me being so informal with his name) wrote a post on his blog last week that really hit home an obvious fact.
We don’t make art in a bubble.
Whether we realize it or not, our creations stem from our personal knowledge, which is influenced by everything we’ve ever touched, smelled, saw or heard. Throughout history, artists have inspired each other, and through that inspiration created new ideas, ways of thinking and techniques which helped evolve the arts. There’s no way we can create something that can’t, in some way, be tied or connected to someone’s style, idea or technique.
So go ahead and make something that looks like a deMeng, because it’s not going to be a deMeng. It’s going to be YOURS, as it was created from YOUR hands and YOUR brain. Use this time to explore and build upon the technique and styles- and pass it along to other artists.
To Paraphrase Michael: Continue the chain of art evolution! Art Historians of the future will be glad you did.
You can read Michael’s post at this blog.