The quest for originality is utterly pointless.
The point of any artist’s work is to describe the world as the artist sees it. To be ‘checking-out’ what others have done in order to know where to make adjustments to one’s own output places you in a race situation; in a competition situation. Viewers won’t respond to a piece of work because it is ‘better’ than the rest but rather because it ‘speaks’ to them.
Others’ work can inspire and excite but for me it can also upset, de-rail and confuse. People with strong opinions and a persuasive personality are something I watch out for as being in their company quite often leaves me with the impression that my work is no good and that I have nothing to say. What I have to say is what I have to say. My job is to describe well what I think about people and what I feel is good about people; to describe dignity; to have witnessed others.