Despite being generally forward thinking and a fan of works that depict futures, I do find I spent a lot of time looking back, in the comfort of nostalgia.
There’s often a weird mentality out there which seems to dictate that you should be enjoying the very latest bands and albums, films, TV shows or books. Yet all of these things were made to last through the ages. Take films or music as leading examples; some innovated and made their mark; became timeless and still as relevant and exciting today as they were at their time of release. Some may be slightly more dated, but in a good way that evokes the feeling of the particular time it was released, yet manage to stand the test of time and still work today. In other words, age shouldn’t matter. And that applies to creative people too. If you’re inspired or still in awe of something from yesterday, that’s absolutely fine – whatever works for you.
It’s important to not to forget the places or people that over time, all helped shape what you’re doing today. I was lucky enough to have some great art tutors at college, many of whom helped push me in directions I may not have normally taken. But more often than not, I think about Mr Crooke – my art teacher from school. During those formative years, his art lessons were the thing I looked forward to the most, every week. As a typical 15 year-old, I was bursting with ideas and enthusiasm which needed his expert eye to refine and critique. I learned a lot from him. Over twenty years later, I still think of so those classes with a certain fondness. And he’s still at my old school, teaching a new generation of budding artists. I did try and contact him by email recently, just to say a belatedly acknowledge my appreciation of what I gained from his tuition.
Creative people – artists, writers, musicians etc – are the ultimate recyclers. We spend years absorbing all these influences and inspirations from all times and places, and we repurpose it in the guise of our own contemporary works. Our creations are made up of the past and present, and will go on into tomorrow.
In short, looking back is just as healthy as looking forward.