Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to Find Your Unique Voice as an Artist – Part I

     written by Tien Frogget

In this day and age where it seems like there are more talented artists than ever, artists are frequently asking themselves, "how can I set my stuff apart from everyone else and be successful?”

It's not just enough to be good - you've got to find your own unique voice. The question is - how?

1.  Paint, Draw, or Create what interests you
This may seem obvious, but there are still a lot of people who go about this all the wrong way. They ask themselves, "What type of art has the most demand right now? What area will be the most lucrative?" And then they go out and try to fit themselves into that arena.

But you will never be as successful doing this as you could be by doing what interests you.

Why? Because you will enjoy it more. You will naturally create more beautiful work. You will be more creative and want to try new things. This is so important and yet most people don't even think twice about it. When you are passionate about what you do, it is a simple fact that your joy will propel you forward. You will not be dragging yourself out of bed, you will be leaping from the mattress full of excitement and enthusiasm, and that in turn will carry over into your work.

2.  Avoid the #1 Creativity Killer
Contrary to popular belief, reading more books and taking more classes does not always make you a better artist. Don't get me wrong; they can be incredibly helpful tools that help you learn and grow - to an extent. However, there is a point that most artists reach where studying and learning stops being helpful and becomes counterproductive. How do you know that you've reached that point?

When you find yourself critiquing and criticizing your work more than you are simply enjoying it.

You might be thinking, "Now wait a minute. Hold on. Critiquing helps me to get better! That's how I learn. I see what worked, what didn't, and I can correct and improve."

Yes, in an ideal world. And usually this works in moderation. However, I've seen more artists shut themselves down long before they ever truly delved into their potential because of this #1 creativity-killer: perfectionism. They overanalyze all of the details of their art, attempting to make everything in each one of them just right.

Art is not supposed to be perfect. There are technical tools that we can use to improve our work, but they are only that: tools - not rules. Just like people, art is technically imperfect - and yet that's what makes it so beautiful. Each piece is an impression of a moment or feeling that can never be recreated. And only you, from your unique viewpoint, have the ability to create it.

If you create something and you like it, then what anyone else says doesn't matter. The "rules" are great to a certain extent, and then after that they start to hinder you.  Stop trying to make your art adhere to everyone else's rules, and they will begin to take on a whole new form.

The true "greats" in any field not only break the rules, but reinvent them.

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