It's depressingly common for artists to do a bunch of shit, and then someone rolls up and says "oh yeah, some guy name Julio in Buenos Aires did that in 1997" and then the artist has to find something new to do. At least, this is the default.
You can wrestle around with your conscience and wonder if you're doing a new variation
on Julio's thing, or whatever, but the basic understanding is that It Has Been Done and
you'll go down as a mere copycat. There is an underlying assumption here, which is false:
that assumption is that everything is done, essentially, on a global stage. Everything
must be measured against the global stage.
The fact is that the people who live on my block have never heard of Julio or his work.
It may even be that very few people have heard of Julio or his work, but in the Grand
Tradition of Art none of this matters. It's been done. You will be revealed at a
mere copier of Julio, and that's that. The people on my block will never get to see
work of this kind, if we follow this to its logical conclusion. They'll never see
Julio's work, because maybe Julio is in the end a pretty minor artist. They'll never
see anyone else's either, because nobody wants to copy Julio.
This is deeply stupid.
The very idea of the global stage is fairly stupid. Yes, it's where the money mostly
is, 60 billion dollars a year, spread across 3 million people, so everyone's also waiting
tables in their spare time. The global stage sucks, everyone is starving, the art isn't
really much better, and it's stifling local art because "Julio already did that."
Just make whatever. Honestly, go look Julio up and outright steal his shit. Who cares?
Julio might, I suppose, but if so he's dumb. It's not like you're taking anything
away from Julio, or that you're making any money in the first place. If you feel bad
about it, reference Julio. "Inspired by Buenos Aires artist Julio, you can see his
work <here>" or whatever.
Everyone on your block gets to see the cool, or meaningful, or beautiful, thing that
Julio invented and that you rediscovered. Nobody loses anything. The world is, in a small
way, better for it.