All the sources.
There is a partial split in my approach to creativity. Both equally valid and essential (They overlap).
The first more easily recognised as an artistic process is 'going after the big fish' (See David Lynch): Excluding all distractions, dealing only with yourself, your instincts and intuitions, and your perceptions. This is the inside out model of creativity, where you seek significant ideas from within (More or less).
The second, which I'd like to talk about briefly here for a moment, is the Wide Net. You take everything, and anything, and anyone, as a potential contribution. It's an outside in process, and it works best if you are not discerning, elitist, or snobbish to begin with. Just collate and connect.
It's been noted in the past that when making work or teaching performance, I can make a lot of references to film, tv, books, 'stuff from the real world', 'stuff from the internet', art, nature, and that my references to performance are at most only equivalent to these.
Theres two good reasons for this. The first is simple, there shouldn't be too many 'Performance' references, otherwise I'd be making work like someone else...
Second, all the other stuff is good productive material, and its widely and freely available. Understanding the world and culture can be done through an in depth understanding of 'significant texts', but there is also a benefit in getting a sense of the zeitgeist, or trends and patterns, by accessing everything.
Let's put it simply, no artist is an island.
So here's an example of some of the sources that have informed my ongoing 'Tree' research:
Clint Eastwood singing 'I talk to the trees'
A car driving through a hole in a redwood tree.
Carving in churches of faces with trees growing out of them.
The unused setting for the third movie in the alien franchise: a wooden spaceship made from Actual living trees.
The evil tree in the film the Evil Dead; The Whomping Willow from Harry Potter.
Ents from the Lord of the Rings and Groot from Guardians of the a Galaxy.
The tree that bears the fruit in the garden of Eden (Pomegranate not Apple).
An internet article on 'Badass Trees the refuse to Die'
Treehouses and Trees in Houses.
The carvings people leave in the Bark of Trees.
Christmas Tree decorations, and their gruesome origins...
None of these are 'Performance' references (Thats a whole other massive list).
Few of these are particularly 'Significant texts' (That again is another list).
But they are all part of our Arboreal Culture, and significant, lived and performed as a result.
Collate and Connect.