On more than one occassion I have been told that certain pieces of mine, "remind" someone of another's work. When I've followed up, I sometimes can find some similarities. Sometimes my memory is jogged and I do remember seeing the other work before, and sometimes I know I've never seen it before. I'm not talking about blatant copies of subject matter, but elements or ways of doing something that someone else might claim as their own. Of course, there was no intentional "copying", but no one else knows that. I've wondered if maybe I was drawn to a particular piece, broke it down as to why I liked it, filed it away in my cluttered mind, and then resurrected it much later in a form I thought was my own original thought. I don't know. But in this age of digital photos and posting one's work online, intentional copying is not considered flattery, it's foolish, and I can't believe people will do it anyway.
Or, this whole "inspired by" thing may be something else entirely different. I just returned from a mosaic art conference www.americanmosaics.org in Austin, TX. 450 mosaic artists from around the country gathered to promote and learn more about the art of mosaics. Now, lots of photos were taken on site, and of course, lots of these photos are similar. We were, after all, in the same place. But what I've noticed as these photos have gone up on individual Facebook pages, even the photos taken off-site are similar. Some of us did end up going to the same places, and some things do just scream "take a picture". But I found uncanny similarities in our photos. Why were more than one of us drawn to the same little obscure items or scenes, or why did certain photos have similar unconventional angles?
I like to think it's because we are kindred spirits, with our view of this world a little more cockeyed than most. Be it a weird Elvis lamp, creepy old dolls, a bowl full of letters, or God bless him, Vernon-on-a Stick, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/album.php?id=608636871&aid=273637 , we look for humor, oddities, and soulfulness in our surroundings. Were we drawn together and to mosaics because of similar perspectives or did this group of artists foster this perspective? I don't know, but I think there is a common thread running through us all and I know I am "inspired" each and every day. And I thank you all for it.