A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about finding style. It was sparked by Carrie of Artist Think. Shen then wrote a great post about discovering your style. A week later, I've had several new thoughts about it so I thought I'd record those here for me and for anyone else going through this process. Maybe we'll just keep posting back and forth until we get this whole thing figured out. ;)
I think it helps to stick with one subject for awhile. Now I like to experiment and I have a short attention span so I don't want to limit myself to just one subject. I allow myself to do whatever but to really develop a style I think that it's important to stick with something for awhile. I've got my Fursday paintings every Thursday. I work on loose landscapes and I'm working on some abstracts. Sure there a few random things thrown in here and there but I always veer back toward those three subjects.
Many people are concerned that a style means that they'll be painting the same thing over and over and it will get boring. I'm not so worried about that. That's one of the reasons I allow myself some days to experiment and then loop back to my themes. Changes in media and/or tools help to keep it interesting. I think the goal is for my style and subjects to change slightly over time. Yes painting the exact same subject in the exact same way for long periods of time IS boring for both the artist and the viewers. It's always about change and growth but I think that will happen naturally if you are working everyday, no need to worry about it.
I think you can have more the one style. Many artists have slightly different styles when they work in a different media or with a different subject. Take one of my favorite working artists Lisa Congon, she has her lettering, her illustration work and her abstract paintings. There are all a little different yet share enough of the same qualities that they are easily recognizable as hers.
Over time I think the different subjects and media will develop enough similarities that an overall style develops. I think that's where I'm at. I've developed a style within my subjects and media and I'm currently finding that overall style. I'm looking for what brings my whole body of work together.
So why have a style and why is it important? For me it's about being consistent in my process. It's about feeling comfortable in the studio. I want my work to be recognizable as mine. It's not about being boring. It's about being me, an individual.
I think about the people who I'd say "have style" in a fashion sense. They aren't boring. They're interesting and unique. Their style makes them that way. I think it's the same in the art world. Having a style isn't boring. Your style is how you express yourself. It makes you unique and you.