Home from a good day of teaching at The Art Bar. A technique was brought up and Student #1 said she had learned it from so and so. Another student piped in that she also had been taught the technique but by another instructor. I jumped in saying that I was also familiar with said technique but that So and So had popularized it but I would be willing to bet that So and So also had learned it elsewhere. All of this led me to think about bringing up this subject on my blog today.
In the world, we're constantly learning and exploring new ideas. We try new things, if we are passionate about these ideas we take them, push them and make them our own. We make them our own by placing our own unique thumb print on our work. We are not laying claim to the technique but to our own individual sense of style that we have learned and developed through trial, error *and* the support and encouragement of those around us.
Now you might say, "I've never taken a class from so and so. I've never read any of the popular books or magazines." Yet at the same time, we are all (whether we are aware of it or not) influenced by everyone and everything we see around us.
You can claim ownership on your artwork and your own signature style but you are not the first person to collage, pull prints, bind a book, etc... Am I saying that you shouldn't give credit where it is due? Of course not. Giving acknowledgment to our teachers and fellow artists should be something we do without hesitation.
Maybe what I'm trying to say is be open to acknowledging art for art's sake. That we learn from, share with and inspire others. Even when we aren't aware of it. Instead of jumping to take the credit, give it. Pass it on and see how we can broaden our community and better ourselves not as artists but also as human beings.