One sits in solitary confinement and explores their inner world as a way to reach the universe. And often if they are persistent and committed will stumble onto magic, the magic of connecting with symbols and thoughts beyond their own that seem to come from an archetypal ether that are available to all who become that focussed and open. They dream and connect with inner worlds that often have connections with all knowledge, way beyond their own culture and upbringing and society.
When I graduated from OCAD and began painting a series of bird women I was totally shocked at what I produced! I have always been an urbanite and never even thought about nature...no one was more surprised than I. I also had never read anything about Indigenous beliefs or was even interested in it. Then one day at MOMA in NY I saw a whole floor of birdwomen sculptures from early Europe. Nothing is totally new or unique it seems.
I think artists are conduits for the universe...and to blame them or curtail them is ridiculous.
Of course there a lot of charlatans who simply piggyback on what others produce....and then maybe we can call that cultural appropriation.
That is the other type of artist, who watches and observes and then produces what is in fashion, without it really being meaningful to them. Like a young woman in Toronto who liked Norval Morrisseau's pretty colours and shapes (so she claimed) and basically reproduced them with her own signature and tried to have a solo exhibit with them in Toronto. They were unrelated to whom she was and the symbols had no significant meaning for her. She was playing at being a thriving artist, without the hard work and hassle of digging into herself and discovering what she had to communicate to the world.