Non-Western Culture’s Contemporary Influence

october (very late) post:

“Think globally, +++ locally,” in the words of Gogol Bordello, is certainly the theme of this generation and its art. While many artists in America are indeed English-speaking and native-born, the art community is seeing more and more of its members reaching into their cultural heritage for influence and bringing it out into the Western world. I totally don’t want to sound like a pompous jerk for using myself as an example, so just bear with me here — but my heritage as a Turko-Palestinian is in every piece of art that I create. The intricate and graceful lines of Arabic calligraphy become curving lines in my illustrations, usually as long locks of flowing hair or clothing spread over a character’s body; the lovely designs of Turkish architecture manifest themselves into textures inside the panels of my comics. In fact, many of my characters and stories will more often than not utilize names or references to people, places, and things in the place of my father’s birth, or in our native tongue of Arabic. While I’m not nearly “big” enough to be considered a meaningful influence on anyone or anything, it’s still interesting to think about how seemingly foreign cultures and languages can be infused with Western contemporary culture — much how being a first-generation American with a family from the Middle East growing up in a Spanish-speaking state can create an interesting mezcla of ideas.


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