Finding My Artistic Style: How I Figured Out that it Didn’t Matter (Channeling My Middle School Art

Creative types are often really worried about establishing their personal “style”. Lots of them don’t even consider themselves to be developed in their craft until they see an obvious style in their work. There is a lot of pressure, especially from the Elite, to adhere to one kind of style or to fit in to their special classification. I can tell you one thing for certain…your style does NOT matter. Technically, “style” and the concept of adaptation of a style is more of a social construct. I personally don’t want to paint myself into a corner, so to speak. I like the freedom of really being able to express myself in any way I choose at the moment.

We don't always see what is at the end...

When I was younger I drew a lot….I painted…I sang…I wrote poetry…I was creative in many ways. However, I never considered myself to be an artist…I didn’t call myself a writer….I didn’t call myself anything but me. Honestly, I didn’t think anything of it. I figured that if I had any real talent someone would have told me! Turns out I was even super close, like family close to my art teacher…but I didn’t even think enough about my art talents to even understand why she took such an interest in my art or in my life. She always knew how to encourage me, and she believed in my talents long before I was able to allow myself to believe in them.

I think back to drawing and painting when I was much younger. I can still vividly see all of the supplies and feel the cheap paper under my fingers. I remember being fearless as a child…when it came to my art. I remember mixing things that would make a particular color JUST TO SEE WHAT IT WOULD DO! The artistic freedom that I felt as a child was paramount to the limitations that I have put on myself in my adult life. So, now how do I get that feeling back?

I try to put myself back in my old art classroom every time I pick up a brush…or my camera….or a pencil. I channel my younger self…I channel my favorite art teacher, she always knew best anyway. Simply put I let my imagination run wild and I paint what I feel rather than being bogged down by technique. Sometimes the answer is to really make sure that you keep creating…the technique will come. The best thing that you can do for your art is to cultivate that child that was completely and utterly fearless. Make sure that you aren’t snuffing out the true source of your talent and drive.

Sometimes you want to be free...

Lots of decent artists rush it in their quest for their style and they end up either settling into a style that is popular and will possibly sell….or they go completely commercial and create only trademarked characters, commissions, and soulless art. I’m not saying that you can’t do some character art or commissions, I am simply saying that if it isn’t where your heart is it will never be your best work. I kind of feel like there are going to be pieces that I create that I may not be as excited about, but I know for certain that I am not creating soulless art. I may not always create art that the so-called masses understand, but I created it with feeling. They ALL meant something to me. They were ALL a part of me.

Your style will follow you in spite of yourself. I think that it is always a part of you and you must be active in creation in order for it to become apparent to you. I don’t mean be active like letting formal technique or the popular market active….I mean active as in FREE. You should always be able to approach your art with joy, with pain…with passion. Take whatever it is that you are feeling and make sure that you let it out in whatever medium you choose. My teacher never asked me to conform. She never asked me to see something the way that someone else saw it. She just allowed me the time to reflect and the ability to appreciate that time. So, my advice really is to kinda follow the verbage of the “no child left behind” rule, but within yourself. Don’t abandon the passion that MAKES you a real artist.

Art is everywhere!

We don’t always understand the impact that others have on our lives when they are here…at least not to the degree that we are meant to, but that doesn’t mean that those lessons don’t stay with us. I know that my art teacher meant a great deal to me when she was around, and she still does. It has been many years since she passed, but I still feel the void in my life to this day. The lessons that she taught me, especially about my artistic style…skills…and development didn’t even begin to really make sense to me until I was in my 30’s. Some things I am still learning…

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