Thursday, March 17, 2011

Making it Yours- Defining Your Artistic Style

As an artist one of the things we're supposed to have is our own personal style. But it's one of those things that I've wondered about in the past. Is that "style" something we develop over time? Is it our interests+abilities that equals our style? If I think about the "styles" of some artists I think of the artists that have been associated with a particular "ist". Such as the expressionists, impressionists, surrealists... if you look at any of their art you can usually identify what they're associated with. But those were more movements weren't they? They were a group of artists pursuing a certain goal through the visual arts. The impressionists wanted to record the actual impression the world makes on us. If I remember right, they were reacting to the camera and the ultra realism that it captured.The expressionists were all about the visual revelation of their emotions. Often the artists of a movement would be congregated in a certain geographic area or "school". And even the artists within a group would differ according to things like their favorite color choices, their favorite subject matter, their favorite way of applying paint or creating a composition. So all of these things would help us describe their personal style.

How would you describe yourself? Some think that knowing your own style is one of those pre-req's for being a "real" artist. Perhaps you even think so yourself. Maybe you don't consider yourself an artist because you feel like you flit from one interest to another so easily. I don't believe that though. I believe that each time you create something it has some part of your own style in it. So each time you create something you're creating a clue for yourself. The answer to what your personal style is will be found in your body of work. So it is necessary to make stuff. It is necessary to try new things. Try creating art in the style of someone else and you'll discover that some of it may fit but others may not, it's a good exercise. You might love the colors you chose but dislike the process. Or love the medium but dislike the subject. None of these things ever need to be definitive either. What you love can change. One of the things I like best about researching a particular artist is seeing how their style changes over time. Picasso went through so many different periods in his career it's dizzifying (maybe not a real word but descriptive).

So it's ok to struggle to define yourself, it's ok to try different things, it's ok to change things up. Just make stuff and sooner or later you'll discover that you do have definite likes and dislikes, preferences and loves and because you're unique all of these things will add up to your own personal sense of style. But please don't think it's a pre-req to be an "artist".

I'm thinking about all of this because I'm trying to incorporate the mixed media work I've been doing into my own style. Some of this is instinctive, like the colors I choose. But what I'm making still feels a little "off" if you know what I mean. So the last few days I went back to my more familiar subject matter (flowers) and colors (vivid) but used the mediums and techniques I've been playing with recently. The result is the daffodil piece at top. Do you know your style? Or are you still figuring it out?


Cre8tiveQueen said...

Oh Jen! I LOVE the flower piece! Beautiful! =0) Great colors! Its so spring and dreamy!

mama bleu said...

Thank you for this posting. It speaks to the very thing I am working through right now.

Janna Werner said...

wonderful inspirations, thanks so much! Janna

Kerri said...

great post.
and i love that little round tray/plate with the wire around the edge-