Recently an online a quilter friend who was apparently somewhat overwhelmed by my discourse on the multitude of "isms" to be found in 20th century art, coupled with the enormous index of other art labels wrote, pleading to me: "Please Mr. Lane tell me who, what, when, where am I????????????????????"
I replied: You are a fabric artists living in the Post-Modern era with strong influences from Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Vorticism, Synthetic Cubism, Purism, and probably some more of which I'm unaware. Really, though, YOU must be the judge of this. It's like delving into your geneology. Trace back all your previous experiences in art and look at that art from the past which bares some resemblence to what you're doing now. And for each style or "ism" there is a corresponding manifesto (sometimes literal, sometimes merely theoretical, or both) that provides the DNA that carries its influence into the future. However, don't expect this "research" into your creative past to be without some effect upon what you're doing now and will do in the future.
Just as geneology gets you in touch with "Who am I and where did I come from?" causing you think of yourself in a clearer light; so does looking at your creative geneology cause you to refine your intellectual and visual influences as you continue to produce from here on. As boring as art history CAN be at times, and as complex and confusing as art appreciation CAN be, they are an indispensible foundation for your continuous artistic development. It's like poking around in a stuffy old attic. You'll find lots of dust, cobwebs, spiders and other creepy-crawlies, but in amongst the "ooo gross" you'll also come upon some old toys to play with, interesting old magazines to browse through, fascinating books to read, curious whatchamacallits and thingamajigs to ponder, things that make you laugh and things to make you cry. All are exciting inputs which go towards broadening the creative genius of your artistic output.