What creates influence?

What makes something an influence? 

Why does something inspire you the way it does? 

And why and how does the same thing inspire someone else the way it does? 

And what are the influences that inspire my influencers?  Hahaha.

The mind can go off in so many tangents that it can become lost as to the path it followed to get there, and the original intent.

What is a confluence? 

A confluence is a meeting point, a converging, a gathering at one point. 

For me, this is the perfect word to describe what happens when we ‘meet’ an influence.  We can have a bunch of influences that meet in our minds, be them thoughts, sounds, words and experiences that combine, intermingle, and merge into our individual interpretations, and flow into our creativity.

So, what influenced and inspired me to follow this line of thought? 

What makes an influence to me?  Where do I use influence?  How do my influences impact my life?  Are my influences responsible for my creativity?  What is creativity?  Do we all possess this? Or is it just a chosen few?  Where does it live?  How do we define, this gift of creativity?

Oh, so many questions!

For the sake of this article and my focus, the creativity I speak of is the creativity of the arts.  Music, writing, design of all genres, sculpture, painting etc etc. 

Where there is a need to express our thoughts, emotions, social and political views.   Our perspectives.

When sometimes words just don’t work.

Side Note :

Creativity is not just contained to the mediums mentioned above.  Creativity is found in everything.  If you have a need, how are you going to solve for that need?  Especially if you have limited resources.  So, creativity is also found whenever you ‘build’ something, with a particular function or thought behind it.

Websters definition:

  1. the ability to create
  2. the quality of being creative

Hmmm.  Not exactly creative.  In that it doesn’t really tell me what ‘it’ is.

So, what influenced me?  What inspired me to think more about creativity? 

Questlove did.  He inspired me to explore creativity within myself, with his latest offering, Creative Quest.

And, oh.  My.  Goodness.

Gold nuggets galore.

About finding creativity, what makes creativity, how you can be creative, and the influences specific to YOUR creative process.

Questlove is someone who I have admired for a while now.  The first time I saw him in ‘person’ was at a live gig in Auckland, New Zealand.  At the St James.  Early 2000’s.

This drummer, was in his own world. 

Afro pick angled just so.

Joint hanging out the side of his mouth. 

A look of contentedness.

I was transfixed on his face. 

He was in his own bubble, pure joy written over his face;  just being in that moment. 

He was playing his part, but yet he was an integral part of a group. 

He had his own style.  And he owned his identity.

All these things combined, were an inspiration.  An influence.  I wanted to know what he was thinking, as he sat there, his arms and legs moving rapidly.  His eyes looked like they were turned inwards, focused.

I wanted to know what it felt like to be in his seat.

Not literally in his seat..  I am no musician.  I can read music, although it has been awhile!  Ask me to play and yeah; nah.  Except maybe the recorder for my 6 year old nephew.

As a kid, I was made to take music lessons, so I understand the skill level and set needed to do this, but I just don’t have it.  But this is another story!

From the cover of this book, Questlove peered down at me from a shelf in my favourite bookstore, one Saturday evening and I remember giving it a bit of a sideways look.   My eyes kept returning to it a few times before I finally took it off the shelf.  As I was reading the inside blurb, I felt that this book had something I resonated with.

Looking around for a seat, so I could make myself comfy as I read more, but the only seat in this section was taken by a young guy, with stacks of books, piled knee high, about yoga, stretching and anatomy.  He looked as though he was settled in for the night.  So I took the book home to read from the comfort of my couch.

One of the biggest questions that lolls around in my mind, after reading the first chapter, is can we really be creative when we copy others?  And Questlove brings up an interesting perspective.  To start with, as toddlers, we copy what is around us.  As we grow, we copy the sounds and gestures of others and make them our own.  When we start to draw and write, we copy.  It’s the repetition that creates learning.  And remembering.  And who we learn from.  Copying creates influence.

And as we get older, and we are more aware of what we are doing, are we taking the influence of that person/object/sound and actually making something new?  Or just copying?  Does our experience, combined with the ‘copying’ create something new?  A version of.  An extension of what was originally created.  So, is that being creative and birthing something new?  Whether we do it intentionally or otherwise?

Questlove goes on to say, when you are creatively blocked, copying an another artists’ work can help to get your own creative juices flowing again. 

And for me, I know that works. 

I could be reverse engineering (copying) a garment and as I move my set square and pen around the paper, ideas of adding design lines and detailing come to mind.  It inspires me to add my own touch and it distracts my mind to allow the new creativity to come in, to reveal itself.

A new silhouette, a new style is born.

I spent a lot of time stopping, thinking, and re-reading passages as it has sparked something within me and I want to milk it, to get all that I could from it.  And sometimes when I re-read passages, it can lead my mind off onto another tangent, far removed from the first, original thought. 

Is this creativity at work?!

I totally think so. 

The order of the words bring one thing to mind, and then after re-reading, it can bring inspiration into another plane.  Because I have understood the words (first reading) and now my mind is free to explore the meaning of those words (second reading). 

Which brings me to ponder, can we have 2 separate interpretations of the same words?

And I would also ask the question in regards to ‘people’ influences.  What one person may say, will inspire me in one direction, and it may inspire another person in another way.  And in one time in my life, it may inspire me to do one thing, and in a later part of my life, it may inspire me to do something different.

Take for example Macy Gray.  You may have read a previous post of mine, Macy Musings. 

So, way back in 1999, when I was creating my final collection for design school, I had her cd, yup you heard right, cd, and it was constantly playing in the background. 

Back then she inspired me to get up, get out and do something.  And so I did. 

Yup.  Get up and make this collection you.  Defining who I was. 

Yup.  I wear my hair natural. 

Yup, I walk proud.

Yup, I wear turquoise eyeliner. 

And when I saw her a few months ago, she instilled the same things in me. 

Yeah, get up and look into your culture(s). 

Yeah, continue to wear your hair natural. 

Yeah, continue to walk proud, eyes straight ahead. 

Hmmm.  But maybe we should forget the turquoise eyeliner

But she also inspired me to write.  To share my experience, which for me was something brand new.

Creative Quest is one book that I know I will come back to time and time again, because it has become an influence.  It pulls creativity from me.  It gives my thoughts permission to wander, imagine and think ‘yes, and

This post has kinda turned into a book review, and while I highly recommend this book, 5 stars out of 5 stars, the intention is to open up a conversation surrounding creativity.

And books have a huge influence on me. 

Growing up they were a sweet escape into another world.  Another country, and to be another person, with a new perspective.

I loved mystery books.  The Famous Five, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys.  I also loved Anne of Green Gables.  And Pride and Prejudice.  No matter what happened I knew there would be an ending where everything would turn out fine. 

All unknowns would become known and misunderstandings were smoothed over, and that there was a logical explanation for the suspicious goings on, that piqued the curiosity of these inquisitive kids. 

So this leads me to think, what influence has this had over me as an adult, and in my career?

I love to figure things out.  I also know that there will be an ending where everything turns out fine. 

Whether we like that ending, or would have preferred something different, we don’t always get to choose.  But there will be an ending.

I like to know how things work.  I like to know the process. 

So, it doesn’t interest me to know how cars are built, or how houses are constructed.  It does interest me to know how pieces of flat fabric can be manipulated, to create a 3 dimensional garment.  That either sits close to the body, or creates new shapes. when worn on the body

What caused this particular influence?  Why one preference over another?  Well, this post could go on and on.  And I hope this shows my point.  Influences have influences.  Influences have the ability to create influences.  It’s a chain reaction.  It’s a process.  It’s creativity.

Maybe Websters is more creative than I originally thought?

What is fascinating though, is to go down this rabbit hole for a few minutes (or hours!) to just briefly identify what these influences are. 

It may even inspire you to be creative with a new perspective, or a new influence.

Kate : A curious being with a fascination for clothing in all forms who values honesty, integrity and truthfulness, mixed together with a little creativity.
A travel, an explorer and a seeker of knowledge, born and raised in the South Island of New Zealand of Trinidadian and New Zealand descent.
A middle child who sometimes gets stuck in her own head in this shared space we call life.
A loner who prefers deep and meaningful conversation and a loather of small talk.
A lover of all genres of yoga; a Zumba addict.
Beaches or large cities are preferred over sleeping on the ground with nature (some call it camping), and a lover of mixing up a fresh batch of scones.

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