As an artist, probably the hardest thing you can do is discover your voice.
What often happens in art is a copycat wave of karens, trying to mimic other people’s styles and calling it their own. Hate to break it to you Kazza – but it ain’t! Don’t get me wrong, these people can make money in the art industry, licensing their work on print on demand sites, or even supplying art to chain hotels – and there is NOTHING wrong with this (except copying other peoples work and style obvs!).
But they won’t ever truly stand out from the crowd. People won’t walk past their art in a gallery and immediately recognise it. And for me – success as an artist is just that. Recognition.
So if you want to stand out from the crowd, and inspire other people, or if you are just a bit lost, then this post is for you.
Get to know you
First things first. Finding your voice is not just about deciding what painting techniques you like. It is MUCH deeper than that. You need to know who you are as a person, what makes you tick, how much patience you have – because all of this will inform the way you work. For example, if you are an impulsive, dominant character like myself, but you are trying to do detailed, neutral coloured art – you will probably fail at it. Because it just isn’t in your temperament to have the patience to do it. You might absolutely love having it on your walls, but the reality is, you will not be successful at creating it. So do not fight this. Instead, use your personality to your advantage. Create the work that comes naturally to you and you will find your productivity levels increase and your contentment with your work will increase too.
If you aren’t quite sure what sort of character you are, I highly recommend taking a DISC assessment test. There are loads available online. Below I have given you a little idea of how your paint styles may match your personality outcome:
D – Bold, less detailed, bright colours, forward facing portraits, fast working, determined
I – Whimsical, loves celebrity art and pop art, bright, busy canvases, faster working, impulsive
S – Steady, slow, thoughtful, indecisive, harmonious works, guided by feelings
C – Calculated, systematic, a master of your process, master of light and form, detailed with limited pallets
Create an inspo board on pinterest:
Take a few hours to look through pinterest – that’s right! YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO GO DOWN A PINTEREST HOLE! Find things that you find gut wrenchingly beautiful within the first 2 seconds of looking at the image. It could be anything, photography, colourshcemes, animals, artwork. Create a board with about 50 posts and take a look at it. You should find recurring themes, be it subject, colour, style or theme. This will help to influence your paintings.
I say it on EVERY post I write, but experimenting is KEY. You will not know what process you enjoy without first experimenting with every material and medium available to you. So do it. Do the 100 painting challenge. And then once you have tried these materials, practice by what order you apply them to the canvas. Through this you will find your process – which can be a key component in your voice.
Think about the subject
I have lists of things that I love to paint. For me as an “I” personality I like to switch up my subjects, but some people may decide to focus only on one thing. For example, you may love cats. Not just any cats though, you may love BIG cats, and in every painting you do, there may be a cat lurking in the background or dominating the foreground. Write down all the things that give you joy, or make another pinterest board with all of your favourite subjects to paint. You may notice a pattern.
Do a mini series
Once you have experimented with your materials, and thought about subjects, put it into action by creating a mini series using one process. Each painting should continuously be at the same stage. For example you have 5 works of art. Each work of art starts with an ink layer. You do this on each painting until all five are at the same stage. Then you stop and start with your next material, for me it would be spray paint. Once each painting has a spray paint layer on, I would sketch out the design on each painting and so on. Make sure that whenever you stop, all 5 pieces are at the same stage. This will give you a coherent collection and help you identify what you do and don’t like about your process.
KEEP PAINTING. If you truly want to reach your goal of becoming a full time artist with a voice of their own, you must keep going. Aim to paint 40 hours a week. Because with every painting you do, you will learn something new about yourself. Remember – finding your voice is a personal journey and takes time.
Stay Sassy xoxo
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