Good thread. While evryone is inspired now and then (as it is nearly impossible to avoid in our over-saturated culture), there are a lot of artists out there who appear to be without an original idea bouncing through thier head. This bothers me quite a bit. Copying art we admire is how a lot of us come to know what we like, but there must be a point where you find your own style, your own rythym, your own voice.
Obviously this didn't start with Starwars (it's just super popular with the concept crowd). If I had a nickel for every Frazetta or Wrightson rip off I have seen I would be rolling in dough. As I said, inspiration is great, but the whole point of art (to me) is to reach within and find an enduring personal vision. We are all at the mercy of our sub-concious in many ways anyway....why not revel in it? I think the main problem is that people compare to much. They see other people's art and say "I wish I were that good" and to get there they think they must copy. If more artists had better self esteem and the patience to put up with a lot of crappy drawings just to get better (this can take years....YEARS!) we might see some really fantastic art crop up in the future.
Alas, this copying bug seems to be a historical pattern. Look at what happened to paintings after Carrivagio, or Picasso and Braque. Perhaps there are destined to be rip off styles forever. Some people would rather lift directly than work hard. And for anyone who does copy consistanly... believe in your own vision. I know it can seem like it's not quite there yet, BUT EVEN THE BEST ARTISTS HAVE LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THIER ART. No one is always satisfied with thier own stuff. But if you finally make the next step on your own, you can be satisfied knowing it was all within you. End Rant.
Respectability is a cloak for the hypocrite. Inwardly we commit every crime in thought, but outwardly we are irreproachable.