As far as the current mixed media movement with people using packaged supplies, stamps, scrapbook paper, etc... There's one thing about taking something out of a package and just sticking it down onto the page without thought or concern for placement. It's an entirely different matter when you treat all of these supplies as tools. If you take the tools (no matter what they may be) and use them with meaning and purpose, things are taken to a new level. The sky is the limit if you approach creating in this matter.
Yes, I totally agree that artists should learn the basic rules (color theory, composition, design, etc...) and that as you are learning, copying is totally acceptable and a necessity. There comes a point when you have to take that knowledge you've worked hard at (because yes, it is work) and make it your own and develop your own voice and your own style. Learn it. Work it. Push it. Make it your own. Keep pushing it.
I make art and teach not even because I want to, but because I LOVE it and I HAVE to. It's every part of my being and self. It's just me.