When I think about the history of the art forms I know something about, or the lives ans writings of artists I have studied in detail, I find it difficult to think of any who haven't competed, in some sense, with those they consider to be their real peers, whether contemporaries or predecessors. There is a branch of critical theory which goes into it - you might find this article interesting (hard going, but worth the effort, IMO). Harold Bloom started off a lot of useful thinking about one of the things that drives many artists. Emulation isn't imitation - on the contrary, mere imitation gives up on any ambition to emulate. Nor is emulation - or competition - necessarily a hostile act - on the contrary, it is the highest kind of tribute.
Thanks for the Bloom piece. It's too long to read tonight and do justice, but I wanted to make a quick and simple comment. It seems we disagree on what emulation means. I stand by the common meaning of emulation, which includes imitation in part (see my previous post). As to whether emulation or competition is hostile act, that's not a position I took this morning. I only suggested that it led one away from one's true self and results in a loss of authenticity. That's not about hostility.
And finally, the idea of tribute. Artists will pay tribute to past favorite influences in particular works. That's a fine gesture
. But to live as a "tribute band" (let's say), is a strict limitation to individual art. I would not want to live my art life as a tribute to another artist. But that's a peculiarly individual choice I make about my art. I didn't want to suggest at all that such choices weren't permitted. In fact, I was rebelling against the opposite idea that such emulation and tribute was a requirement for me!
Artists get to make all these personal decisions about what path they are following in their art. I prefer to follow the path of staying authentic, and others may find fulfillment in emulation or tribute to others, even to the extent of being a "tribute artist" (common in music, maybe not as common in other arts).
As to the competition angle, I am not persuaded yet by your argument, but if Bloom has that persuasive argument, I'll let you know. I did preciously say, "some do compete," so I have acknowledged it is a choice made by some.