November 27, 2006
This time we went to a new Korean grill and were bowled over by the decor... every detail was a work of art and our heads swiveled. First to catch my eye was a very long horizontal painting that stretched the length of the sushi bar... simply a cluster of bokusho at one end followed by a long, wide brush stroke of ink. As it happens, I have just stretched four long skinny canvases. I won't copy, but I can't imagine not being influenced by that painting.
Our work would never be confused, our styles and techniques are totally different and the paintings show it. There's a healthy competition going on, probably can't be avoided between artists at any level. As we parted, after a good conversation about our respective paths, almost simultaneously we asked if we were borrowing from each other, and instantly agreed that we were not. But the fact that the question came up signifies a degree of discomfort.
We all strive so hard to create original thoughts on paper or canvas, and indeed our efforts are uniquely our own... yet they can often fall into common categories and merge with thousands of other paintings remarkably similar. Landscapes, still lifes, abstracts, you name it... a minute difference in brush technique or color mixing might be all that separates yours from a thousand other paintings of similar subjects. How original is that? Style and decor demand a certain look and artists abandon one palette for a newer, fresher combo as needed. Yes, I want to please... but more than that, I want to explore the limits of my own creative thoughts. And sometimes, those thoughts have to be jumpstarted by something I see, allowed to mingle with older ideas and merge into that which I can't even imagine at this point.