Style or Laziness?


I’ve been promising something subversive, implicitly by the title of my blog.  Here’s something that could be a real bone of contention.

Right now I am thinking about art styles – and how people justify them.

Most artists will swear up and down that their style is their style, and that’s how they do art, and that’s the way it is. Period. This holds true for ultra realistic oil painters, just as much as it does for the guys that throw buckets of paint on a canvas on the garage floor. Their art is their art. That’s their style.

I am going to tell you a secret. That’s not always true! Sometimes, artists will settle out at a certain point, stop trying to improve, and do things because they are comfortable with where they are. They do what they are used to, and they do what’s easy.

Why do I say this?  Because I’ve done that.  I’ve done that a LOT. When I look at some of my older stuff I want to cringe. I’m trying to keep raising the bar, not competing with other people but rather with myself. My partner is my cheerleader, drill instructor, and art coach. She keeps me going and doesn’t let me settle for second best. Because of her, I am learning that I can always keep learning no matter where I am.

Once, I saw a woman who had an art sales website. Her drawings were mostly squiggles. She painted a row of trees – they looked like lollipops, open loops of ink splashed over by simple washes of color. But she had a fairly eye catching website and apparently made sales. I use her as reverse inspiration. I want to make my site as good as hers or better, only with well done, crisp art.

I have a long way to go. As long as I’ve been doing art, I still have a long way to go. It takes guts to look at some master of paint or ink and say “I can get there.” But it can be done, first the saying, then the doing. I fail sometimes, I want to give up. It’s too much work, it’s too hard. But eventually I pick up the pen again.

That’s the secret – the next time you see art that doesn’t look like much of anything, it might not really be their “style.” They might not be doing their art that way to be unique. The might be doing it that way because they are either afraid of change or don’t feel like improving!

Food for thought…

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