we are collages

Our creative outputs are unique blends of other people and their work. The people we love, in turn – musicians, artists, writers – are also all borne from that which they take in. There’s a path, and it’s worth tracing back if you want to find the same kind of influence on your creativity. Some of Ian Curtis’ inspirations for Joy Division were:

Thom Gunn, House of Dolls by Ka-tzetnik, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Sartre, Kafka, HesseThe DoorsIggy Pop, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Jim Morrison, The Velvet Underground, Neu!, Brian Eno, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, The TemptationsRolling Stones, Lou Reed, Neil YoungJimi Hendrix.

I found some quotes about being collages, fusions, mish-mashes of other people:

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest. T. S. Eliot

Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying. Austin Kleon

If you wanna talk about influence, man, then you’ve got to realize that influence is not influence. It’s simply someone’s idea going through my new mind. Jean-Michel Basquiat

When you’re starting off as a young writer, you look at all the stuff that’s gone before and the stuff that’s influenced you, and you reach the ladle of your imagination into this bubbling stewpot of all of this stuff, and you pour it out. And that’s where you start from. Neil Gaiman

I was a product of Andy Warhol’s Factory. All I did was sit there and observe these incredibly talented and creative people who were continually making art, and it was impossible not to be affected by that. Lou Reed

If you think a man draws the type of hands that you want to draw, steal ‘em. Take those hands. Jack Kirby

Our souls, as well as our bodies, are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The ‘newness’ in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Carl Jung

The choices a writer makes within a tradition – preferring Milton to Moliere, caring for Barth over Barthelme – constitute some of the most personal information we can have about him. Zadie Smith

If an artist may say nothing except what he has invented by his own sole efforts, it stands to reason he will be poor in ideas. If he could take what he wants wherever he could find it, as Euripides and Dante and Michelangelo and Shakespeare and Bach were free, his larder would always be full, and his cookery might be worth tasting. R. G. Collingwood

I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist. Brian Eno

Sometimes I think everything I draw is just a combination of all of the millions and millions of drawings I’ve seen. Dash Shaw

The beauty of the collage technique is that you’re using sounds that have never met and were never supposed to meet. You introduce them to each other, at first they’re a bit shy, clumsy, staring at their shoes. But you can sense there’s something there. So you cut and paste a little bit and by the end of the song you can spot them in the corner, holding hands. Jens Lekman

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