What Are Your Influences?

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Eric HermanWhenever we hear interviews with or read books about highly creative and otherwise influential people, the subject of influences is almost always part of the narrative. A few famous examples: Paul McCartney was famously influenced by the Everly Brothers and American rhythm and blues music; Bob Dylan by Woody Guthrie and Jimmy Rogers; Albert Einstein by Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo; Martin Luther King by Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi; and, Frank Lloyd Wright by Louis Sullivan and Japanese gardening and architecture.

With very few exceptions, all forms of creativity are derivative in one way or another. Perhaps the most common influence of all is nature itself. The history of art, architecture, music, dance, literature and certainly garden and landscape design cannot be written without the examination of how observation of the natural world influenced their practitioners, both famous and unknown.

In my years covering the world of aquatic design and construction, the creative influences behind the work is usually a fascinating part of the story. Names such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Ricardo Legorreta, Julia Morgan, Antoni Gaudi, Capability Brown, Greene and Greene, and many others often surface as sources of critical inspiration.

In terms of nature, I've been told countless times that time spent in nature studying streams, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, plant material and geological formations of all types is indispensable. And the same is true of travel to the greatest of built environments, from Rome to Athens to Barcelona to the Yucatan Peninsula and beyond β€” all have played major roles in forming the great works of "aqua architecture."

The subject of influence is so rich and so often enormously enjoyable I thought it might be fun to float the question among those of you reading this blog.

Who and what are your greatest influences? Where do you find your sources of greatest creative inspiration?

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