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Hot-Wiring Your Creative Process: Strategies for Print and New Media Designers by Curt Cloninger

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4. Mining Art and Design History

IMMATURE ARTISTS IMITATE. MATURE ARTISTS STEAL.

—LITERARY CRITIC LIONEL TRILLING, 1962

From art nouveau in the late 1800s through the modernist movements of the early twentieth century up to the Swiss international style of late modernism in the 1950s and ’60s, the goal was always to break from the forms of the past and speak in a design language that was new and forward looking. Still, this was always the ideal more than the reality. No matter how innovative and forward-looking some artists may seem, they are never without influences. Picasso was influenced by African art, Van Gogh by Asian art. I’d like to believe that the chaos of Dada had no historical precedent, but even if it was completely out of the blue, ...

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