Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Never Settling Down to an Artistic Identity

Why should an artist stick to one style or genre?

Here's one of my recent abstracts, it's (as usual) about a journey, and heaven, and striving) . I love nothing more than painting this type of abstract, but do feel conflicted when I remember that an artist needs to "have
a consistent body of work". I'm beginning to think that for me, that's not going to happen. This pile of abstracts in my corner stands next to piles of realism and, unbelievably, cartoon sketches. I can't make myself stay with one style or genre. They are all a particular voice or instrument, if you will, for what is on my mind on any given day.

Yes, I can understand why galleries and collectors might care. They don't want a loose cannon artist in their stable which will go off half-cocked and decide to become a cartoonist.

But honestly, I can't otherwise understand why I should choose. The more I mull it over, the more I become convinced that, for me, different styles are simply differing media, in the literary sense. I feel, now, that when I get back into the realism, (and I love it!) I'm reporting on the world like a journalist or a scientist who loves his or her field of study. When I loosen up and paint in a sloppier way - call it impressionism - I'm interpreting reality, in the way a commentator or philosopher would.

But when I paint an abstract, I believe now that I'm expressing myself. I'm not reporting, I'm not interpreting, I'm emoting and singing, as it were.

To me, that's a different and more personal level for art. And it's funny, when others see an abstract work you've done, they'll report back that they see this or that in the painting; often it's something you didn't intend. Which points out the personal and emotional space which this type of painting occupies.

Does that mean I'm going to stop "reporting" on the beautiful light of a sunrise, or "commenting" on still life objects on my table? Of course not.

But I do think I'm going to stop worrying about which style is mine, and will own them all.

My two cents.

Have an arty and wonderful day!

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