I have always loved things from the past. As a child I used to almost exclusively wear clothes that could have been owned by an American pioneer from the 1800's, 'Little House on the Prairie' sort of thing. I hated cars, and telephones, and I wanted everyone to go around on horses, writing letters and wearing petticoats.
I grew out of that, but I never grew out of the fascination with generations of the past. Now I love music and fashion from the 60's, and I have done for years. For a long time I felt I had really missed out on something by being born in the 21st century. I would wear the clothes, and listen to the music, and hardly enjoy it because I was so sad that I didn't really live in that world.
Adults would tell me how great it was in the past, and I would believe them. I felt like I'd been born just after the world had stopped being fun, and music had stopped being good, and would never get to experience anything like what the boomers had when they were young.
I don't blame myself for thinking that, why wouldn't I when all we constantly hear from older generations is how life was better before the internet, before mobile phones, when everyone took photos on film, and had to wind up their tapes with a pencil, and stand by the wall talking on the corded landline phone...
But what I realised recently is it wasn't better, it was just better for them. For boomers, the 60s and the 70s were the best decades of their lives because they were young, they were part of the new generation, breaking rules, excited by new music, coming up with new radical ideas that shocked their parents generation.
The thing is, the 60s isn't my time, but the music I love that was written then, and the clothes I like to wear that were in fashion then, are mine. Because I am part of generation z, and this is my time, and the music and the clothes all still exist now. I like to wear old clothes, and I like the Beatles, but that doesn't make me any less GenZ than anyone else my age.
It seems like an odd thing to care about I guess, but I found it a really empowering discovery to make.
It has helped me with my art, because I'm no longer afraid to take inspiration from contemporary artists. I'm not beating at a dead horse, trying to be one of the abstract expressionists, I'm just being myself, an artist born at the millennium, making whatever feels right to make.
I think every artist has to be true to their time, and to their generation. The art world is all about fresh new ideas, so even when looking backwards for inspiration, there must always be something of the new as well, there always has to be a time stamp that says, "I made this, and I made it at this time, when these other things were happening in the world, when this song was on the radio, and y2k fashion was on the rise again" thats what gives the art its meaning, because however much I might enjoy the facade of pretending I am someone else, from a different time, my art will mean nothing if it doesn't come from me.