What is your inspiration? Is it music? Is it a person? Is it a film? To me, it includes all of the above and more! As I move forward in life, I’m beginning to realize how much the music and film from my childhood has influenced my style as an artist. I owe many of my early influences to my parents, but I was also exposed to amazing things by my relatives and through my own curiosity. My column is going to explore my creative process in all of its various forms, but before I get into what I make, I need to show you how I got to where I am creatively and imaginatively. That’s why I’m dedicating this post to some of my early influences!
My earliest memory of music was when my parents showed me the music video of the late pop artist Prince‘s song Raspberry Beret. I remember being in awe of visuals and the sounds they used to make the video. It’s definitely a product of its era and its not as relevant now as it was in 1985 but to me, it’s still magical knowing that that was the first thing that set me onto my path of creativity.
Another early memory of music was hearing my dad play Hotel California by The Eagles constantly in the car; I still love it to this day. Other early bands and artists I were exposed to as an infant to toddler include Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, The Carpenters, Gary Numan, Lionel Richie, The Cars, The Gap Band, and The Beatles. As I got into my pre-teen years, I started to like more modern bands such as Gorillaz, Fall Out Boy, Twenty One Pilots, Good Charlotte, and Blink-182.
I didn’t get into Hip-Hop and rap until around 2014 when I first saw the music video for the song “Tamale” by Tyler, the Creator, who is now my favorite artist. He led me down the rabbit hole of other hip-hop artists that I like today, such as him, Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, etc.
Film directors have had a huge influence on my creativity as well. My favorite directors include Edgar Wright, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and Stanley Kubrick. Out of those directors, my favorite is definitely Quentin Tarantino; I inherited that trait from my mother. She showed me his films to me at a very young age, and it didn’t affect me negatively. Quite the opposite, because it made me a more creatively expressive person. I enjoy the way he utilizes his aesthetic, how he has a strong visual identity. People can watch his films and say, “Oh yeah, that’s a Tarantino film!” I remember my mom showing me Kill Bill Vol. 1, and Vol. 2 as a kid and it really hyped me up. I remember thinking that I wanted to create things that made others feel that way.
Quentin Tarantino once stated that “I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.” As you might guess, he probably stole that quote from Picasso who famously said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” That quote is very significant to my art in drawings, film, photography in music, because I will steal, but I also make it into my own art form and adapt other concepts into ones that’ll match my style. Take that quote and my inspirations into consideration as you begin to traverse CLAY’SMIND!