"Bukowski" Mixed Media, John Michael Gill.. 2010
When one shows art in any setting the viewer normally will try to quickly compare your work to someone elses. I have had so many of these instances and the best part of it is I am normally not familiar with said artist. Im sure everyone is influenced by someone/something, and remember, there is a huge difference between influence and stealing someones style.
I have many artistic influences. Everything from the museum work I would soak up as a kid to the Graffiti and Skate culture I gravitated towards. There are two sides to someone comparing your work to that of anothers, 1. It can be a put down. Like you have no original thought and 2. A backhanded compliment comparing you to someone who may be talented.
Most of my artistic influences have come to me as I started to do gallery shows and began to see art as something important to the world. I have always been attracted to childrens youthful art so this brought me to Haring and Basquiat. I was accused of being a Basquiat "Biter" because I incorporate words in my work at times as well as having a loose style. Thats fine, but truth be told I found out about Basquiat long after I was doing what I had been doing. I've been compared to TWIST because I tend to draw heads.. Really? And the list goes on. I do have a theory about this kind of association which simply goes back to points of interest among possible like minded people. I have met a lot of Graf kids and Gallery folks who came from my same background of being a Skater in SoCal.
Your opinion is valid and im happy you have one but let me tell you who some of my influences really are.
1. Music. The energy generated by music is key to evoking imagery in my head.
2. Books. Words equal Imagery.
3. Life. Nouns are huge inspirations.
4. People who have helped me to see that I am not alone in my Madness, Fear, Love, Hate, Anger, Depression, Hope, etc... People like John Lennon. The Beat Writers. Political Figures. People who stood up and stood up well.
Enter Charles Bukowski, my favorite writer and the first to truly captivate my imagination. The funny thing is is he would often write about seemingly boring situations, however with his brain he was able to make me taste the air and know the characters. He spoke my language and had no need to flex his literary muscle. As good art should (my opinion) flow, he let his words flow. He wrote to the people that were much like himself. His blue collar stories were stories i could relate too. I knew i would enter that world and have. He warned me of the dangers of boredom. He also taught me of the beauty in being totally alone with ones thoughts. Bukowski is never just one thing, one angle. The more you read the more human his books become. At times he is at war with life and at other times he is embracing the beauty of it.
And I too am not just one thing, one angle. The beauty of all of us is we are layered. I have been extremely fortunate to find outlets in my life. If I hadnt, things would have been much worse.
My influence is me, you, us, them, it, there, who, when, where, why, how, EIEIO, AEIOU. My influence is living.