Happy New Year! I’m starting off the 2017 visual arts blog with a big question: WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?
This is part one of a blog two-parter. (Hey, it’s a big question!)
It’s actually as much a ToK question as a visual arts one, like many of the deeper questions in life.
I could follow it up with some Knowledge Questions such as
To what extent is creativity informed by research?
To what extent are ideas generated from external stimuli?
But talking about ART…Does it even matter what the idea is?
Does the ‘quality’ of your idea matter?
Not really – in many cases it’s more about what you do with it!
Virtually anything can be starting point. It can be a vague idea about some issue that worries you – for example, social injustice or gender inequality.
It could be a fairly random idea provoked by something as transient as a dream.
Some of my students are never short of these ‘one-off’ , they sprout them and announce them on an almost daily basis, “hey I’ve got a new idea, there’s a woman underwater/face in a fog/ door in a forest/plant that’s half-human, couple kissing, angry looking fat guy, etc etc”.
Everything needs a starting point. This could be an idea that has been percolating somewhere at the back of your mind for months, or it could be some weird incident that happened last night in a dream. Or something else.
In many ways, it doesn’t matter where your ideas come from.
What matters is what you do with them.
‘The Shoulders of Giants’
Art does not exist in isolation, so alongside the media explorations I will also point the student in question in the direction of artworks and artists who I think may have relevance and usefulness in this context.
I think that a great starting point and doorway to more important ideas is what has gone before.
He is saying that we discover truth by building on previous discoveries.
Newton of course was a scientist – but artists also stand on the shoulders of giants.
Most art has links to earlier art.
“Ophelia” by Millais was inspired by the idea/image of Hamlet’s drowned lover (and of course Shakespeare’s play)
“Reimagined” refers to the connections that artists since Botticelli made with the art of Botticelli.
It was a great exhibition, and it explored “the enduring impact of the Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli from the Pre-Raphaelites to today. Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) is recognised as one of the greatest artists of all time. His celebrated images are firmly embedded in public consciousness and his influence permeates art, design, fashion and film”.
Being inspired vs Ripping off
Always acknowledge all sources of influence!
It’s all very well saying that you are standing on the shoulders of Andy Warhol, Banksy or Tracy Emin, but of course you must also acknowledge their influence and impact.
Otherwise you might be accused of plagiarism, stealing etc.
Tune in next month for part 2 of “Where do ideas come from?”