Sunday, 10 July 2011

How do you Develop a Style?

This idea that an artist must develop a style is something that gets my goat (is that an expression? what does it mean? we used to have a pet goat, they make great pets by the way.) Or that you have to find it. It sounds so intentional and... contrived. Like it is some conscious choice that you make. I will take this...

In which case, I choose to draw like Picasso
and paint like Rembrandt.
Or perhaps draw like Durer
and paint like Kandinsky.
I don't think it is a choice. You don't get to choose your style anymore than you get to choose your height or your personality or your looks. Sure you get a bit of wiggle-room, what you do with what you've got kind of thing -- but in my experience certain things just ain't gonna happen.

Like me. Now I am not comparing myself with any of the previous masters, but my odds are a lot better in having a style like Durer than Picasso. And Rembrandt than Kandinsky. Now I will most likely never achieve either, but I can go in certain general directions and try and do the best I can.

I started realising this at a certain point in my development when no matter what I painted, it looked like something that I had painted. This used to frustrate me. I used to look at a piece I was working on and say with scorn "that looks like something I would do." (This may reveal a few more issues than just my painting style, but lets not go there.)

to be continued...

11 comments:

Denise said...

yes,I understand and agree with you.My style is ME.

Violet said...

perhaps it is the voice of the artist which translates as "style"... and i don't mind that statement so much, since i think every truly creative person has their own personal "thing" that separates them from another artist.
call it what you want.
but it takes time- regardless of who you are, or the medium[s] you work with.
developing as a person shows in our art.

Zom said...

I would have to agree with you Violet.

Antoinette said...

I always said "gets my goad" -- and now I will have to look it up and report back to you! ;) I have been thinking a lot about people's personal style of dressing lately, not necessarily artistic style. But one could suggest that a personal style of dressing is, in some way, both a representation of one's self as well as an opportunity for one to exercise creativity and express self.

I might be falling down the wrong rabbit hole, but now you've got me thinking......

lilasvb said...

i like this post, as an artist i am very ME.. and just struggle with art and me...

agnespterry said...

I experiment so much with different media and types of drawings that for the moment I have repressed any desire to have a particular so-called "style." This is true especially since I am in art school; if a Professor wants me to do some project I don't want to have to think: 'How will I do this so it reflects any one statement or thought of being, given the materials that I have on hand.' I want to be able to have fun, to let loose. I never know what I will find interesting next, and I LOVE that.

I also find that "styles" give way to certain subjects being repeated OVER and OVER. That is usually boring to me. Why not celebrate art and have fun with it? I don't think I could ever settle down and do just flowers, or just portraits, for example.

After art school I may have "one style." I kind of doubt it, though. I'll still be experimenting! That is part of the joy in art, for me.

Jeanie Thorn said...

Hi Zom, I’ve also thought about this when people have asked about my style. I don’t think style is about subject matter or medium as much as it is about the art reflecting our personality much like the way we dress or decorate our homes. But those things can change and evolve over time as we gain experience and confidence or we just want to try something new.

Zom said...

Thanks for the great comments. You guys have brought up some great points and they have kept me thinking about this subject.

Kel said...

nice little conversation you've got going here Zom - throwing my 2c in...
i tend to agree that we don't get to choose our style anymore than we get to choose our family

what's interesting to me as i travel through blogland are the many many people who simply copy someone else's style and only think they have become succesful when they can emulate someone else!?!

strange stuff indeed :)

urbandon (Don Pezzano) said...

I think its something we just can't escape from...but it takes a while (for me at least) to realize there is a style- then it can be embraced, nurtured and exploited!

Zom said...

Kel, I do think there is something about when we are beginning, that we just want to make something that looks good - and then that temptation to copy comes in. You have me thinking about another blog post now.

Don, I like the way you have expressed it. That was my experience too. Embraced and nurtured... not so sure about the exploited, but I am probably just getting hung up on words, haha.