An Artist's Style - Part II

Last week I talked about an artist’s style and my complete lack of one. So in continuation of that I decided that I would take a stab at trying to help you find yours. I know, that makes no sense, since I have pretty much no idea what mine is! These are just the mental steps that I followed when I was trying to develop/find one. Hopefully, they work better for you than me!I think the following steps could be applied to more than fine art so try and let me know!

I’m warning you now, this might seem really obvious but I know a lot of artists who have never really looked at finished work! And it might tell you some interesting things even if you don’t find a pattern!

My go to pieces! 

My go to pieces! 

Gathering your most important work

Right, here, ‘important’ is a pretty relative term. I just mean the work that speaks to you and others the most. The most ‘successful’  pieces (in your eyes) in your repertoire. Basically when someone asks to see some of your work, which images do you show them first! Above are the three pieces that I always go to, they’re some of my best work in my mind. 

This work would encapsulate you best, and the more background sketches, inspiration images and little experiment pieces you add with the finished one, the better! They say even more about you, your style and your process than just the piece. Put them together in an digital album; just gathering them up so you can look at them together.  

Some work that I would discount are very specific commissions (you and the client worked together, its not pure you), any excercises that you did for a class/workshop (that’s your teacher’s style diluting yours) or any work where you were trying to figure out a new medium/tool. 

Look at all of the work together

You’ve got a summation of your work laid out in front of you. What catches your eye? What’s the most prominent pattern? It should be something to make people go: “Oh yeah, that’s ______’s work!”. Maybe get someone who doesn’t know your work too well to have a look as well and see what stands out to them. It may be something you missed!

If you’re really struggling put your art analysis skills (come on, we all have them cause we’re constantly looking at art) to the test and try to find patterns in the following: technique, color, composition, and specific elements like flowers, skulls, whatever!  

Still don’t find a really big obvious pattern? Try the next step 

Looking at emotion as a theme  

Looking at emotion as a theme  

Find the reason/inspiration between the pieces

Hey, an artist’s style doesn’t actually have to be that obvious! Maybe your inspirations tie them together! This was the final thing that led me to find a style (well...half a style). 

Remember the thing that drove you to create it. Was it an emotion, an experience, or did you just love the look of that flower? You probably kept coming back to a theme. I know, I say that with unwarranted confidence, but seriously: every artist has an inspiration that they keep coming back to. You might have to dig a little ( why exactly was that flower so great?). The inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to apply to every single piece, sometimes you’re just painting for the sake of putting paint on a canvas. It should  tie most of them together though. 

If you find a distinct pattern, that’s your style! Congrats! Celebrate by making a new piece in your (now conscious) style! If this didn’t work for you, let me know below! If it worked amazingly, I’d love to hear that too! 

Good luck!

Shivani

An Artist's Style - Part I

Alright, so this is an issue (or maybe a non-issue) that’s always bothered me.... I don’t have a style! You know what I mean; how artists have a specific technique, colours or style that they work in. Well I simply don’t. I think the only thing that ties it all together is the underlying theme of communication I talked about last week. I like to call myself an experimenting artist because I ‘experiment’ and jump from technique to technique. Sometimes I use structure paste; sometimes fluid paint, sometime just good old fashioned paint! I don’t think I any underlying technique or colours that I can consider my own either! 

The reason this bothers me is that most artists consider a style to be a very important to a personal brand. A brand is not simply to sell your work but it also serves to make you and your pieces recognisable. 

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I definitely go through periods with a style or technique but I’ve never been able to stick to one. To be honest, I get a little bored. That, combined with the fact that I love to work with/combine other artists styles. 

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So I began to look at my work once again; trying to find a more visual connection. And then I realised, I don’t really need one! I know, that sounds a little convinient because I can’t actually find one. But in my opinion, the visceral connection that viewers have to my piece is enough to connect my work. I want people to not only appreciate it visually but really connect with it. If you have a connection with a piece, you’re drawn to it, you will find meaning of your own in it. Each has a memory or a meaning for me, but I want my viewers to form their own! And this may be some wishful thinking but I’d like to think that people do! 

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For the record, I did find a few visual connections but they’re probably not strong enough to form a style. I try to use high contrasts of colours and a combination of flowing and rectangular/square shapes. Again, I don’t think this is perfectly apparent in all of them. 

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I’d love to know what you think! Do I have a style? If not, should I develop one? Comment below or let me know through the contact page/social media!!  

Shivani