Art feeds art; that much is true. We are inspired by our predecessors, whether to mimic success or challenge them; we compete with our contemporaries, even when the competition is friendly and playful; artists of one medium look to others when their muses refuse to speak up. It doesn’t matter if the art is painting, sculpting, dancing, filming, or, yes, writing. Creative energy flows from piece to piece, medium to medium, artist to artist.
Why do creative acts beget other creative acts?
In truth, this question is loaded. I’m sure there’s some neurological explanation for why art, even outside our mediums, stimulates our creative processes, but I’m no scientist. I’d probably understand it if I read about it, but I severely doubt I’d be able to explain it to anyone. I can only express my own thoughts and beliefs on the matter.
I think the reason art feeds art is because they’re part of the same whole and can never truly be separated.
All art has been entwined since the beginning. Visual depictions accompany storytelling; ancient vases inspire poems; plays become books and vice versa. A picture is worth a thousand words and a master writer can paint a picture with a few words. Like a spider’s intricate web, they make a rare beauty when together; remove one thread and the pattern will unravel.
This thought makes sense and does not make sense. On the one hand, we watch visual art, acting, and writing evolve together from one era to the next. They all reflect societal changes and attitudes, and pairing one with another raises us to a new level of magic. On the other hand, they are very different forms of expression. You may be excellent at one but that does not mean you will be any good at the others (trust me, I know from experience). While some writers can draw, many can’t. Some actors can write but just as many fail horribly when they pick up a pen. And certainly not all sculptors can sing.
Again, there’s probably a neurological explanation for why an artist can master one form but not another. I like to think that we all have specific purposes assigned to us in this giant quilting bee we call art; some must sew multiple squares to complete the larger product, but most of us are given one square to perfect. In the end, it’s all entwined to make a beautifully mismatched piece which no group has done before us.
Perhaps we don’t need to know why artists are inspired by works outside their field. Perhaps we only need to know that it happens and embrace it. After all, if we are inspired by all the art surrounding us, we will never lack inspiration.
What do you think? Why does creativity beget creativity? Do you have any art outside of writing which you turn to for inspiration? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.