Artists (in the broad sense – painters, novelists, composers, etc) are pretty much defined by the struggle to be themselves; to absorb influences without surrendering to them; to be open to others and stubbornly individual. Consequently, artists have a different relationship to influence than the rest of us do. The core difference is this: artists do not absorb their influences passively. They choose their influences, and they choose how to be influenced by them.
“Interrogate your influences.”
Thoughtful, intentional curation and inspiration. I also appreciate the thought to go narrow — some phases of work and thinking benefit from a wide range of inputs, while other times focusing the inputs you’re taking in purposefully can align and refine your work.