April 2011 – The Importance of “Style”

I read a great article in The Professional Artist Magazine entitled “The Importance of Having Look and Style“, written by Jodi Walsh. I’ve posted an excerpt from the article below:

Artists may go through different phases throughout their careers, but those who are most successful with selling and promoting their work generally have one thing in common: There is always a certain “style” evident within their artwork. People interpret the word “style” in different ways, both positive and negative, but to me, it’s your visual DNA. I really believe artists are born with it and couldn’t change it even if they tried. Ultimately, style is a visual language all your own; it is the way you see the world reflected through your art.

Source: Walsh J., “The Importance of Having a Look and Style”, Professional Artist Magazine, March 2011

In my humble opinion, I believe that this is perhaps the most important thing within any artist’s career and at the same time it is the easiest to underestimate and overlook.

One day I was painting a picture of a Bermuda house and my art instructor asked me why I was painting it. My mind went blank, all I could think of was, ” it’s pretty and I thought it would look nice“. Then she asked, “how does it relate to your style and artist philosophy, to what you have to share with the world”… and after some thought I said “umm I guess it doesn’t“. Of course she then said “so why are you wasting your time painting it, never waste your time and materials doing what does not truly come from you“. And that is the best advice I’ve ever received.

There was nothing wrong with painting the beautiful houses of Bermuda, but there needed to be a reason. And believe it or not, the difference is visible!

So when I read Walsh’s article that was the first thing I thought of. I have tried over the past couple of months to really harness and develop my style, to develop what’s in me. That’s not to say that you can’t learn from other’s styles but at least be aware of what yours is and be aware of how you can adapt the techniques of others to suit your style. Also the subjects you chose, they should relate somehow to what you have to say to the world.

I find this to be a challenge, especially when you are still developing as an artist. You may not even be entirely sure what your style is. However I think we can definitely see or feel when something is out of place.

How do you feel about Walsh’s comments? Have you developed a particular style? Was it something you were aware of right away, did someone point it out to you? Do you try to harness it or let it happen naturally? Come and tell me more about it.