Constellations & Influences: Jordan Demetrius Lloyd
February 10, 2022
Jordan Demetrius Lloyd is a 2021-2022 Renewal Residency artist at Danspace Project.
In a discussion on what Jordan might contribute to this issue, a Danspace Journal prompt from 2012 resurfaced: Artistic constellations and lineages—What web of connections do generations of artists trace? Who are their influences? Here, Jordan Demetrius ruminates and responds to this prompt, My most significant artistic influence(s) is/are…Because…
Read and listen below.
I have many influences, surely too many to name.
I rarely think about influences when I’m creating something. If they do reveal themselves to me, it’s usually after a work is made, when I start to make associations between the material and different scenarios, images, sensations, or people I’ve encountered.
These influences run through my work like veins in the body. I’m not sure how visible they are on the outside, as they’ve been layered, overlapped, and essentially buried beneath a series of ongoing choices.
Influences find their way into the work in organic and circuitous ways, but at times I feel like an art collector, meticulously observing and collecting from the environments around me. Holding onto different shards of experience to employ at the right moment.
I am taking in information all of the time. Sometimes I make choices. I give attention to this, or that. I digest.
So how do I begin to name all of the influences on my choice making? At this moment it is a 27 year-long history.
I hold deep gratitude for all that helps to shape my perspective and my voice.
Maybe there is trust involved. A trust that the influences are there, whether I acknowledge them or not. Trusting that the body holds onto, and will let go of, what is and is not needed. A trust that when necessarily activated, memories will help to inform and shape my decisions. A trust that I am aimed and guided to and through a uniquely curated life, specific to me.
Influences run through my work like veins in the body. If I’m drawing from so many sources, especially people, how do I give credit when and where credit is due?
I could create a list of every artist whose work I’ve tried to emulate but would that feel authentic to their work or my process? Would that articulate the nuance of how they’ve seeped into, and then back out of, my subconscious thinking? At what point, if ever, do the influences become mine?
Mine. A swarm of ideas, meticulously observed and collected, that once layered, overlapped, and buried begin to speak more to me and my voice than the subject from which they came.
I have many influences, surely too many to name. They surface all of the time, usually without my noticing.
But what activates an influence? Perhaps inspiration, which is an entirely separate conversation.