Being derivative is a concern most of us have at some time, at least starting out. But if your goal is to be completely original, you won’t find many, or anyone, who can relate to your work.

Most artists want their work to be experienced, and the more relevant to other humans it is, the more likely it is to be liked, understood, desired, and shared. In order to make relevant, approachable work, we look to the past and those artists who inspire and enthrall us. Their vision, in turn, didn’t come from nothing, they looked back to those who captured their attention and thoughts and feelings.

Derive ideas from everywhere, but don’t be afraid to display your inspiration openly, and since taking inspiration from just one artist is lame or obvious, the more the better. It’s how we climb higher, see farther, cast longer shadows.