kevin's website

On Creativity and inspiration

Kevin Nel

Whether it's intentional or not, we all take inspiration from other people/things and as artists the only thing original about us is our taste, what we like and how we let that influence our work. This doesn't just apply to your field.

If you are a visual artist the music you listen to and movies you watch have just as much influence on your style as the artists you look up to. Allow yourself to see the diversity of your taste and draw inspiration from more than just others in your craft.

Great minds from all eras have understood this about creativity.

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." ~ Isaac Newton

"It would take a day to list everyone I borrowed ideas from, and it was no new thing for me to learn from everyone I could, living or dead. I learn as much from painters about how to write as I do from writers." ~ Ernest Hemmingway

"If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism, and if you steal from many, it’s research." ~ Wilson Mizner

"Good artists copy; Great artists steal" ~ Pablo Picasso

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people." ~ Steve Jobs

Allow yourself to have unique experiences. Like what you like. Try new things that intrigue you, even if you suck at it at first or don't intend to get better at it. Your work will thank you.

Don't try to force yourself to like stuff just to fit in, or to "keep up with the times" because liking the things you do is what makes you, you.