I’m just thinking about how that makes me feel. Being imitated. I used to get so annoyed with it. I don’t find it to be the highest form of flattery. Well at least I didn’t until I really started exploring the creative arts. I remember when I was growing up someone would come to school with a really cool pair of sneakers or a really nice dress and then all of a sudden within the following weeks everyone else was wearing it too. Isn’t that how trends start? How information gets passed on?
8 year old me didn’t care about that! She just wanted everyone to stop wearing the same dress as her because that was the dress that her mom bought her, specially for her. That was hers and why was everyone else trying to look like her? They were just jealous she thought.
If I could go back and talk to little B I would tell her that she hadn’t a clue about just how flattering that is. And that she would be doing it too! When you do something that people admire, whether it is because it is beautiful, creative or bold, (whatever the reason really!) people will pick up on it. They will want to learn about it and embrace it, they will imitate it because it is valuable information that is meant to be passed on.
This is how things work in the arts. If any artist, dancer, singer, songwriter, graphic designer, whatever – thinks that they are creating something completely new and original they are wrong. I want to tell you a story.
I made a piece of art. I worked with some amazing people. I can never thank them enough. We created magic together. I felt like it was my baby. My brain child. It was because I had spent so much time on it and really taken the inspiration to heart. I had made it my own and it had my stamp on it. The piece touched a lot of hearts. It made a difference and I was so happy.
And then it happened. Someone presented a similar piece of art on a similar if not larger platform and I was upset. Why were they copying me? This was my great work and with our stamp on it, not for anyone else to recreate.
::cue reality check:: I was chasing after something that I wasn’t actually entitled to. I did not invent the wheel. I realized after the fact with some time to think that this art was only the way it was because of everything that has existed prior to it’s creation. Where did the ideas come from? The people who helped ? My inspiration and my interpretation? The combination is unique but the ingredients are timeless, never to be invented again but constantly reinvented.
It was humbling. It was my little piece of genius, influenced by the past lives of everyone and everything that served to be a part of it’s existence.
I learned a lot from that experience. I want to be a really good reinventor – educated in imitating. So much so that I am continuously able to rejig the ingredients of life to keep creating my art. I am grateful to my inspirations.
They say that imitation is the highest form. Of flattery that is. What do you think? Has this happened to you?
Thank you Of Opinions for the inspiration =)
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Sincerest Form of Flattery.”