Walrus Boy by Jesse Reno
Part 1 and Part 2 posts about how an artist develops a style.
We have talked about style as something that is perhaps inescapable, while also acknowledging that it grows and evolves. Partly unconscious, partly conscious. The 'us' in our artwork that we can't shake and also want to develop. Is this what they mean by an 'artist's unique voice'?
But I also want to bring up the shadow-side of our style. The inescapable allure of the opposite. The part of ourselves that is fascinated by the kind of work that comes most unnaturally to us.
When we see it, we might feel a combination of envy and inadequacy. A good example of one of my shadow styles is Jesse Reno.
I look at what he does and how he does it, and I feel longing and inadequate. I am fascinated and almost shamed. In those feelings is a lack of honouring of the gifts and strengths in my work. I compare and see only my lacks.
These feelings are symptomatic of positive shadow projection. What does it mean? How can I use Reno's work and what it brings up in me to positive effect rather than turning it against myself?
In this kind of envy, there is often a signpost of possible new directions for our work. It can be a helpful bridge to look at what we already share with the artist. In my case I would say it is the love of the spiritual and trust in the intuitive. Although my studio work is planned, the inspiration is always intuitive. Even the decisions along the way are intuitive - not as quickly made as Reno's but based on similar foundations. We share an interest in nature and our work is figurative and symbol-based.
Our values are very similar.
So, from here, where does his work intrigue and pull me? To more trust of process. Perhaps to experiment, to try his way of working a few times and see what it might offer me. Not to feel that I have to go his path, but to be open to incorporate what might be helpful to my growth.
Opening to both his and my work in this way I see the similarities and value both. This gentles my self-judging thoughts and opens me to new possibilities.