Roots and Influences

In reading about bands, artists, designers, etc., especially up and coming ones, one of the first things that they or the people writing about them will try to point out is a list of who influenced them. Even though I haven’t been asked, here is a partial, off the cuff list of people whom throughout years have influenced me in one way or another. Like many things in my life, it’s pretty scattershot, and many of the people listed have either never been in a sentence together before, or might even actively dislike one another. I’m not going to say who they are or what they did. Some are hugely famous, and some are not. Most influenced me more in the way they think rather than because of the specific things they did. Some are, however, on the list because of what they did, and might not even be people I would want to know personally.

Who to put first? I’ll start out with a random, and for me rather funny, one whom I liked because of reruns I saw as a kid on tv. Then it’s just whomever pops into my mind. Forgive me if I’ve forgotten you.

Tony Randall

John Lennon

Thurston Moore

Gerhard Richter

Juliet Schorr

Christopher Lasch

Groucho Marx

Kevin Shields

Yoko Ono

Paul McCartney

Linda McCartney

Stephen Batchelor

Eero Saarinen

Shunryu Suzuki

Paul Klee

Siddhartha Gautama

Holger Czukay

David Sylvian

Walter Benjamin

Eric Dolphy

John Coltrane

Alvar Aalto

Stephin Merrit

Sarah Suzanka

Lao Tzu

E.F. Schumacher

Johannes Vermeer

Francis Poulenc

Louis Philippe

John Cage

Henry James

Erik Satie

Betty Edwards

Kenneth James

Joseph Jarman

Sori Yanagi

Carl Jung

Julia Morgan

Josef Hoffmann

Jean Prouve

George Harrison

Lætitia Sadier

Ray Eames

Charles Eames

Giorgio Morandi

Tilda Swinton

Roscoe Mitchell

Paul Vincent Wiseman

Cy Twombly

Lester Bowie

Piero Lissoni

Michael Pyatok

Jeanne Gang

Alexander Girard

Malachi Favors Maghostut

Brian Eno

Nelson Mandela

The Dalai Lama

Jasper Johns

Arto Lindsay

Tim Gane

Patti Smith

Isamu Noguchi

I apologize for it being overwhelmingly white and male. Most of the African-Americans on the list are jazz musicians and most of the women are either musicians or architects. This is a weakness I need to overcome. And obviously it’s not totally random, since as one person came to mind, a related person would pop into mind as well. So it’s neither scientific nor perfect, and there are people I’ve forgotten.

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