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Old 05-24-2019, 08:50 AM
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JohnWallie JohnWallie is offline
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Being consistent in your art style

Having a consistent art style is something I have difficulty with. The primary reason being, at different times, I like using different mediums. I use:
-Acrylics on canvas
-Magazine Collage on canvas
-Markers on paper


Sometimes I do a combination of acrylics and magazines in the same artwork. I will provide some examples of my work for reference:

(George Washington, Mixed Media on Canvas, Acrylic + Magazine Collage)



(Ladybug, Acrylic on Canvas)



(Lighthouse storm, pens and markers on paper)




I have been reading online that one of the things you need to do as an artist is to find your niche. Either by leaning towards a particular style(impressionism, realism, etc), or by focusing on a particular subject (animals, abstracts, landscapes, etc).


Admittedly, I do have a heavy inclination towards portraits and animal paintings. But sometimes I like to just paint with acrylics, and sometimes I like to use magazines. This is what causes inconsistency in the style my artwork, which apparently is not considered a good thing.


I would like to know if there are any other artists out there who have dealt with this problem of consistency in their art style. Please share your thoughts and what you think artists should do who have difficulty sticking with just one style or one subject.


Thanks for reading.



-John
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:26 AM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Most artists are all over the place with their art - we have to figure out and build our style and this takes time.

I think consistency is important to galleries, not so much to artists themselves. Galleries don't like to freak out their collectors and artists who bounce all over the style map tend to alienate buyers/galleries - how do they add to their collection if you keep bouncing styles.

so, bounce in private, be free and freaky, but control something enough to zone into some consistencies for galleries - assuming you have any 'professional' aspirations.

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Old 05-24-2019, 10:03 PM
selectedgrub selectedgrub is offline
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Sound advice
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:20 AM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Well if you look at Jeff Koons, for instance, I don't think you could say he is consistent with his style.

There is a fundamental difference between consistency and "body of work."

A body of work is like a series based on some theme/ or as you say, subject. They are often in the same style. Let's just play an image game: So, African animals in a cubist style. Marinas in an impressonistic style. Insects made of peanut butter. Small drawings of rats on paper.

So all of these can become a "body of work" if you spend some time on them, and make more than (some unknown number). A gallery might be interested in one body of work, and not another.

The thing about this is that the art patron has no knowledge of your schedule in creating these pieces. You might be working simultaniously, and yet tuck each into a "folder" of the similar type pieces. So in 2020 you might create 10 small rat drawings, 5 insects of peanut butter, 7 marine paintings, and 3 cubist African animals. They are plugged into your classification system where ever you store them.

Gallery 1 patrons think you only draw small rats.
Some other place thinks you are a marina painter
Another place thinks you do cubist African animals
Another place thinks you do peanut butter insects.

You are an artist who has several (4 in the case of this imaginary artist), different bodies of work.

I sculpt, making North American animals. I also do pregnant women, I also paint I make abstracts that look nothing like the other stuff. My sculpture is slated for the gallary/museum scene. When I get 5 or so sculptures of pregnant women I would like to show them somewhere. I hardly ever show my paintings-- they are just what I do for pleasure. Etc.

So when you show your work all together it looks like there is no rhyme or reason, but when you categorize everything, it looks like a body of work. And by the way, it is a fundamental of (at least) academic art to "explore" a subject. You really can't explore a subject with one piece. What is the actual number of pieces? That is unknown. Some artists spent their entire known art careers painting the exact same thing over and over again. Some others did one thing and then another thing. Anyway this is the same thing LA said.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:36 AM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

IMO, it's not important unless you want to sell in galleries.

You can sell online sorting them into collections or sections.
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Old 05-25-2019, 03:02 PM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinZ
IMO, it's not important unless you want to sell in galleries.

You can sell online sorting them into collections or sections.

Yes, it depends on what you want to do with your art career (if anything).

But it matters to more than just galleries. Any kind of juried show, for instance, any kind of art school, invitational shows, art fairs in some cases (the better ones are juried), artist in residency programs. Anyway, why limit yourself to a mere online Etsy shop or whatever.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:33 PM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

It doesn't necessarily matter to galleries either. Depends on the gallery, if they like anything you do, then they believe in your vision, especially when your hand begins to show up in all the things you make no matter what you are making--in any style. It's not about style. It's about voice.

I would not consider it a "problem." Or think about it in terms of what others, or some invisible, general consensus thinks you should do. Do whatever you want and the more time you put into the work, the more your mark shows up.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:34 AM
Colorado_Ed Colorado_Ed is offline
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Quote:
There is a fundamental difference between consistency and "body of work."

This is what I came here to say, but Katy said it way better than I could have.

I think when people stress out about not having a "style" they should just let it develop organically instead of putting themselves into a box. There are lots of artists that refuse to be limited by one style.

I think an artist would do well by continuing to push themselves in different areas as opposed to trying to make everything they do feel the same.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:55 AM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

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Originally Posted by Artyczar
It doesn't necessarily matter to galleries either. Depends on the gallery, if they like anything you do, then they believe in your vision, especially when your hand begins to show up in all the things you make no matter what you are making--in any style. It's not about style. It's about voice.

I would not consider it a "problem." Or think about it in terms of what others, or some invisible, general consensus thinks you should do. Do whatever you want and the more time you put into the work, the more your mark shows up.

Oh gosh, that has not been my experience. I have had gallery owners actually tell me what they wanted me to produce (and never vary from ever). One wanted me to paint golf courses. I had to walk away.
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Old 05-31-2019, 02:12 PM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Use Her Name
Yes, it depends on what you want to do with your art career (if anything).

But it matters to more than just galleries. Any kind of juried show, for instance, any kind of art school, invitational shows, art fairs in some cases (the better ones are juried), artist in residency programs. Anyway, why limit yourself to a mere online Etsy shop or whatever.

"Why limit yourself to a "mere" online Etsy shop or whatever", you ask?

Question: What is "mere" about showing, selling art, painting for a living, being self-sufficient, not having to depend on the government or family members or soul-killing jobs to survive, painting exactly what one wants to paint, how they want to paint, when they want to paint?

I have done the gallery thing, I didn't like it. But I'd never say that anyone pursuing that path is "merely" limiting themselves. To each his own. I don't judge anyone else's art choices.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:02 PM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Thank you all for your replies.
It is interesting to read the differing opinions.

I've been putting things under consideration and I realized that the magazine style I use is not really very enjoyable for me. It takes about 5X as much time to do a magazine collage as opposed to a regular painting. I have to hunt for all the colors meticulously in magazines, whereas with paint I can just mix up whatever I want. So I definitely have a lot more fun with paint, and thus I have decided to focus on using them primarily.

I will continue to use markers, though... Because they help me prior to painting so I can do quick sketches and see what color schemes and compositions I like best before I start working on the actual painting.

Ultimately, it is all about doing whatever style/subject you enjoy most, which is why I have made this decision. I feel very liberated now that I can focus on the medium (acrylics) that I like using best.

-John
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:37 PM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

I'm not consistent either. I think consistency is really a branding issue - nothing to do with art. If you look at famous painters, they will have gone through various phases. We change, we grow - why should our work stay the same.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:11 PM
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Maybe people change their style because no one is interested in their current offerings.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:40 PM
Hopskidee Hopskidee is online now
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvonne Keogh
I'm not consistent either. I think consistency is really a branding issue - nothing to do with art. If you look at famous painters, they will have gone through various phases. We change, we grow - why should our work stay the same.

This. My thoughts exactly.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:06 PM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Being consistent in your art style

Quote:
Originally Posted by selectedgrub
Maybe people change their style because no one is interested in their current offerings.

I tend to agree, in general. I think there are a ton of artists that keep changing until they find something that sells. Once they find that special something that grabs the attention of the public, they may never change their style ever again. That's not to say that is always the reason why, but it seems odd to me that many famous artists have been making the same ole-same-ole thing without any sort of evolution or variation in their work for decades on out.

Voice and style are different IMO. You can have your own voice and do whatever the heck you want and your vibe is going to show up no matter what you touch your hand to, but if you're making circles your whole life because that's what people are finally buying from you--and that is WHY you make art--then I guess your "style" is making money.

Nothing wrong with that. It is what it is.

...But it's not a black and white world either. There are shades of gray. People can do what they want and make money at it too! They can risk changing and still make money...or not. Whatever makes you happy.
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