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  • Writer's pictureJimmy Keller

Why Artwork and Idea Originality Matters

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

There is an argument that there’s no such thing as an original idea. The reality is that everything original begins with previous ideas, inventions and discoveries. Nothing is 100% original and I think we can all agree on that, but it is still unique in the aspect of creation.

The exact makeup of an idea, writing or artwork may never have been seen before. They are special consequences of the thinker making connections between the known and unknown. The foundation that the past has paved allows the new original ideas to be built and grow.

If we take any artist over the course of their career, we can see the progression of their work and even trace it back to what inspired them.

"Inspiration shall not be confused with lacking originality"

Everything can be inspirational depending how it is looked at. For the purposes of artwork and ideas, that inspiration is selective.

No artist is alike. What inspires me may not inspire the graphic designer next to me or the architect next to them. This is because everyone sees the world through a different lens and that unique lens is what we each must cherish.

"Originality is not dead. It is in our DNA" -Jerry Saltz

New York magazine writer and art critic Jerry Saltz Tweeted in 2020, “Originality is not dead. It is in our DNA.” We ourselves are the definition of originality. This diversity in life means that no output of creativity will be the same if it is genuine. The artwork is an extension of the artist put into sensations as it speaks the thoughts and feelings of the creator.

These stories that each of us hold are the key to originality. Dahn Gim is an artist based in the U.S. and South Korea. She currently has works on display in the Marion Art Gallery from her series “Names I Had You Call Me.” The works are part of the exhibit “Mis/Communication: Language and Power in Contemporary Art,” which is on display at the gallery through April 16.

The originality of her sculptures in the exhibition are very much needed in the art world today as we are bombarded with artwork we must filter through. These pieces stand out from the others in regards to their in depth personal meaning which is the inception of their originality.

Gim’s work focuses on hybridity and adaptation. More specifically, she fuses her personal story of adapting to American society conflicting with personal and familial identity.

Artists and creatives have sort of a super power to put our thoughts and ideas into meaningful action. It is our duty to harness that ability and share the unique impressions we think of as original.

Why does originality matter?

The largest reason originality matters is that it creates change in the world. It begins with the past but then adapts it for the future by creating movements and breaking down walls. It sets one artist apart from the other and paves the way for future ideas for the next generation.

It is imperative for us artists to find our unique voice of passion because that is what catapults ideas forward. Originality must first start with a problem to be solved, then followed by a mind and heart that has ambition to solve it. It isn’t as simple as thinking outside the box, but can begin by questioning the past. This all doesn’t just apply to artwork, but creativity and idea originality in all fields from science to philosophy. Originality advocates for change, harnesses individuality and inspires tomorrow.

This leads to the question: What story needs to be told next?


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