I have loved drawing from as far back as I can remember.
I have loved getting attention from others for my work. At first parents and siblings, followed by friends and teachers, and now strangers and other artists take notice and share, usually, kind words.
I myself have begun to like my own work. While this may sound strange, other artists, writers and creatives of all types out there will understand this statement. They will understand the struggle for self-recognition and self-satisfaction. While, when asked, I have grown much more comfortable calling myself an artist, there remains a nagging voice inside that whispers with incessantly with incredulity that I am fooling myself. This is the same voice that chatters jealously at the seaming ease some creatives bring forth works that have their signature style or expression. Somehow having "my style" seems to be the table stakes that the voice knows I am painfully lacking.
What is an artists "style"? I teach young artists who seem to preternaturally have arrived at their style. They effortlessly bring a specific vision and interpretation to their work that makes recognizing that these pieces were done by the same artist, simple and intuitive. How does this happen? If I point this out they most often acknowledge its nothing they are trying to do. The work just comes out that way. What is even stranger is while I envy them their specific voice, often they express frustration in that they cannot seem to escape the bounds of their tenor and pitch. I long for my style and they, at least at times, want to escape theirs.
As a young artist I did take it upon myself to define my signature. I sat and with intention came up with the way I would sign my name to my work. That is the one thing I feel I uniquely own. Is this the way a visual style comes about? The young artists I mentor don't seem to get theirs in this way. How about the greats? Did Monet, Kahlo, O'Keeffe, Picasso, Mondrian or Pollack spend time finding their particular style? I know most of you saw the artist's distinctive works as you read their names. You cant help it. Now, I do not profess to be in that league but then again why not. The answer to the question could be, the artists listed had very unique voices and putting it bluntly, you don't. At least that is what the voice in my head is shouting. I am not certain why I listen.
What does this all mean? I don't know. I continue to create based upon what I feel inspired to manifest. I do not know if it is good or bad, significant or meaningless. I just know it's what is coming through me. So as I create, it is my sincere hope that something of an honest, unique and distinct voice will shine through. I want a thread of this running through my work over time. Perhaps its hard for any artists to witness their own style. Perhaps looking at your own artwork is like listening to a recording of your own voice. It seems strange and unfamiliar yet to others it is true and clearly you.
Please share your thoughts. This seems a conversation worth having.