"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."
- ECCLESIASTES 1:9
Okay, I'm definitely taking this verse out of context, but it really sums up what I'd like to talk about here. Can one ever really do something new? Has it already been done before? Can one express one's self in a truly distinctive way? It's a good question. Especially if you're a lettering artist or any type of artist for that matter.
The reason these questions have been on my mind is because I've been getting quite a bit of traffic here on my website and blog lately and it really got me questioning what it is that I'm doing and how it reflects my own creative endeavors and ultimately myself as a person. I'm still in the baby stages of my career but I want to make sure that I'm going in a direction that is true to myself and not derivative of other artists' work.
And so. Where's the line? There is no doubt that every creation of art is inspired by the work that came before us. Even this blog post; it's a fundamental problem that has been asked time and time again in different ways. How can one create something using one's inspirations and twist it to make something new and exciting? Ultimately, I think that finding one's own voice comes with experience, research, and a lifetime of conceptual thought.
Like I mentioned before, I'm still in the baby stages of my career and I'm still finding my own voice. I've been extremely blessed to create lettering for my job and I want to continue to grow into the woman I was meant to be. Not into a poor man's version of someone else. I don't want someone looking at my work and saying "Oh, Molly's work looks just like _______!". I think that Judy Garland summed it up pretty nicely with her words below...
As many of your might have noticed, I do draw inspiration from many modern lettering artists as well as illustrators and calligraphers of the past. I'm hugely moved by a minimal color palette paired with a 'hand made' lettering style. I also draw inspiration from lettering artists who pride themselves on technical skills. Below is a little glimpse of artwork that I'm really drawn to. Can you see the resemblance in my work? Am I pulling from inspiration yet still making something new? I sure think so, but I want to grow even more with my technique and lettering styles.
It's something to really think about. I know that I'll be working on this for the rest of my life as a creative. Slowly but surely growing into myself and what I want to say with my work. It's one thing to have technical skills, it's another to have a true voice.
Happy Friday everyone!