I was told in art school that I needed to find my style and stick to it, otherwise I would never “make it as an artist.” “Making it” meant accepted and profitable. It was as if a decision had to be made to contrive a technique before it evolved naturally over many years. In my experience, artists paint what inspires them. With inspiration coming daily, from diverse sources and from all over the world, an artist can see how unique their particular voice really is. I expect to be moved to modify and change and learn and adjust and create in new ways my whole life. In my opinion, locking ourselves into one style or one subject matter or one mission is limiting and out of touch with our times.
We have the entire world’s imagery available to us, unlike artists of the past. We are not building upon another’s breakthrough, or limited to being identifiable from across a room, or part of a “school” of influentials. We are inspired in thousands of ways, daily, through the internet and electronic media. And new media opens hundreds of options and opportunities for the visual artist.
There is virtually nothing in the material world of humans that first, was not touched by the artist. From clothing, and fabrics, to dishware and furniture, cars and spaces and gardens and buildings, all wear the mark of the artist who designed them first before they went into production. We visual artists adorn spaces and struggle over the creation of our own personal images, hoping to awaken in our fellow travelers that there is more to “see”.
An artist “is”.
Whether we create to make statements, experiment with technique, create to bless others, solve problems, sell ideas or products, we are using the gift of creativity to move people, uplift and challenge them, sooth them and inspire them, by sharing our own personal discoveries of the world around us with the skill we possess.
By definition, an artist should always be evolving, and growing, and sharing their discoveries, not worrying about “making it” but focused on being it. Elements of an artist’s vision or style will come through regardless of experimentation because it must. Artists in every capacity need to support each other, and perhaps throw off labels, and attitudes and elitism and opinions that no longer serve the community of creative souls passionately driven from within, to pursue and visually create their ideas.