Finding your artistic style
Many artists going through their schooling learn a broad spectrum of different artistic styles. We are taught to mimic what we learn and in turn have the ability to create or design in a variety of different styles. What I’ve learned by participating in art shows and throughout my career, is that people often become overwhelmed when they see too much variety in your artistic style. Viewers or customers may like one style but not enthusiastic about others. In order to become a more “mastered” artist, you need to master your own artistic style. Narrowing and unifying your skills allows you to focus and perfect your technique to find your specific niche market.
I knew that I needed to narrow my style, but I emotionally I still struggle with how and what that is. I am good at different styles – why do I need to choose one?! What if people don’t like the style I choose? What if the style I choose isn’t marketable? These are questions I struggle with almost daily. So How as an artist do you choose one style?
Step 1. Figure out your Medium
If you love or have an appreciation for art you are more than likely able to create in many different medium styles. For example, I love painting – in a variety of different styles, but I am also a graphic designer/illustrator, jewelry designer, 3D sculpture etc. Even though I am good at all of these areas, I am really only a master in a couple, and I believe they relate directly to each-other. I also have narrowed down to showcase at art shows only ONE style. So how does an artist figure out their medium? Try out a few mediums but the one that you seem to always go back to is your medium. The one that you can quickly create a good looking piece is your medium.
Step 2. Define your technique
Once you have realized what medium you enjoy most, you need to master your technique – creating your defined style. There are so many different ways to create different pieces but this is how you can truly define yourself as an artist. Maybe you like a couple different techniques, that’s ok, unless you want to showcase your creations. If you want to show your artwork, what I suggest is to come up with enough pieces in ONE technique. I still teeter-totter with two techniques – general painting and pallet knife painting, I chose a technique that I had more pieces in and expanded my collection – Vibrant tropical flowers and Florida culture. I do still plan to create more pieces in my other technique but as I go through defining my style I needed to create enough in one technique for a show.
Step 3. Limit your Content
Similar to technique and medium, you need to narrow your content down as well. Pick content that people can relate to and that you won’t become bored of. This is important because you will need to create many pieces that are the same or similar.
Step 4. Accumulating enough content for an art show/ gallery
Coming up with enough work for an art show or gallery can be challenging especially if as an artist you are going back and forth between the styles you like, so the key is to pick a style that your gut says you enjoy and keep creating similar pieces. What I found has helped me is to create the same piece but create a variety of different sizes or changing colors. Each piece you recreate will be unique and never turn out exactly the same. For example: I loved my beetle paintings, but I had received so much feedback from my first show that people wanted different colors “Oh I wish you had a white beetle!” “I would love a green one!” I recreated these pieces in different colors. One of my flower pieces, looked like a pineapple, so rather than keeping it a flower, I redesigned it into a pineapple looking up but using the same pattern, I then took that same painting and created it in a couple different sizes and colors. Each piece came out a little bit different and each piece was easier and faster to make each time I created it.
Step 5. Make your Work look presentable
I learned this at my first art show and from my background in marketing/branding. Your work needs to be presented professionally and have a consistent branding. Now, after I paint on Canvas I always add hooks and wire and my sticker with my logo and my website. If I create a paper piece, I always package it with a matte and plastic with my business card and a logo sticker. Presenting your artwork with branding helps with your overall uniform effect and it makes customers feel more comfortable purchasing with you.