Creativity Necessitates Eclecticisim

I found this fantastic post over at one of my favorite blogs today:
Why Creativity Necessitates Eclecticism: Nick Cave’s Influences and Inspirations, by Maria Popova

The subject of the blog rings so true to me, especially this quote:

“It is clear that Nick Cave was only able to reach his significant artistic heights through appropriating ideas and aesthetics from his heroes and influences and melding them into something uniquely powerful.”

It also reminded me of yet another fantastic Louise Brooks quote:

“I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance, and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chaplain act.”

Ones influences of course do not need to be genre-specific or even art-specific. Robust creative inspiration comes from all places. This stage of inspiration in the creative process is listed as “The Sponge” in this wonderful explanation of the stages of creativity. The endless thirst for inspiration has always driven my artistic projects. And I love stepping out of my genres to find this inspiration, I find that helps with innovation. Finding lots of sources to pull from ensures that I’m not just another Zoe Jakes imitation, or what have you. (Love Zoe, of course, but I see a lot of literal imitation in the belly dance world.)

It got me thinking about my eclectic influences, so I’ve decided to make a list of some of them:

Louise Brooks, of course.

Neil Gaiman

Siouxsie Sioux


Jamila Salimpour

Rachel Brice

Egon Schiele

– All of my former dance teachers. Including my wonderful high school modern dance teacher, Sandra Foster-King.

bell hooks

Betsy Johnson



Alphonse Mucha

Sarah Bernhardt


– Greek and Celtic Myth

Kathleen Hanna

Jeanette Winterson

– My moms

And here is a funYouTube find. This is a video of a recent class of my high school dance teacher, Sandra Foster-King. I spent so many hours in that exact room dancing my heart out in my teenage years. What a treat to see her next generation of dancers. That time dancing in high school had a huge impact on my development as an artist.

Who are your eclectic influences?