Hey wonderful people! I am so glad that you have come here to check out this post about exploring your artistic options. You may be here because you want to begin your journey as an artist, or just want to be a more confident and prolific artist. Either way, I am happy that you’re here, as I have some useful tips that will push you in the right direction.
First of all, I must say that if you have been following me through 2019 to 2020, you will be aware that my artistic approach, and ‘style’- so to speak – has changed throughout the months. I’ve gone from mainly floral, heavy textured paintings to dainty puppy portraits in a matter of months! Trust me, the significance of this little fact will become more and more relevant the further down you read.
You’re probably thinking why is this so important? It’s worth noting that I’m a self-taught artist and only studied fine arts at college, aged 17. I went to university to study interior architecture and after all that studying, I still pursued painting. My passion for the arts only grew as I put it on the back burner while I was studying. The point is that I have had to learn everything myself, mainly from other artists and reading books. I’ve discovered that YouTube covers everything you could possibly know about art. I have found that putting theory into practice, by showing up to paint, has given me the best results in producing work.
By not academically not studying fine art, it's true that you miss out on many opportunities. It is an opportunity to play around with materials and equipment you normally would not have thought or known about. It’s a time to get messy and brave ambitious projects. And reiterating all this as I type it on my computer just makes me laugh; because whichever way you look at it, whether you studied fine arts or not, the basic idea remains glaringly obvious – art is ultimately about self-exploration. So fear not, if you didn't study art at college or university!
It doesn’t matter if you don’t hone amazing palette knife skills or understand colour theory, because you WILL learn it all along the way as you put theory into practice. To put it clearly, you don’t need to know everything! I certainly don’t, but isn’t that what makes us artists? Being an artist is all about the process. It’s incredibly fundamental.
I have learned so much this year, just though putting in the hours and painting whenever I found an opportunity, I have seen massive results. Your hard work truly pays off. By putting in the hours, you will naturally evolve over a period of time and develop a style, and you will be most likely lose that style and find another one, then lose it and so on. It’s very hard and inauthentic to nail down a style within a short period of time.
The idea of having a style is a trait of a professional and successful artist, and even I am a not there yet! Artists go through an ongoing process of experimentation. Every painting, sketch, or sculpture you produce, is just another pixel in the screen of your career. Do not expect to be there already there when you start.
Art is truly about enjoying the process, having fun with art and experimenting. And this is why I am evolving rapidly. I get bored, try something else and move on, and keep moving. A lot of artists on social media drill down the idea that you should develop a style as soon as you can, even when your inexperienced with the basics. This is because it’s regarded as a shortcut. Those who try to establish a style early on will pursue their art career in the form of ‘work’ (characterised as tedious and boring) - The work that they chose to dedicate themselves to for the rest of their working life, and for what? It is like settling down at a very young age. You don’t know what or who else is out there, and you will now unlikely discover what could have been. The idea of finding a style is over-hyped and glorified. If that’s your focus early on in your art career, expect to suffer along the way.
I’ve given up the idea of trying to find a style. I was obsessed with this notion of being an artist known for something specific. I began my art career trying to address it, and like many of you who understand this, are aware that it’s a frustrating and exhausting process. Give up and get to work! Sorry to be harsh. The style will manifest in your work. I learned this the hard way. I spent a many hours, every few months, reestablishing my niche in the art world. It felt like I was reinventing myself again and again from scratch every time I recognised my recent ‘style’. These phases of going through styles are simply just trends that we will outgrow as we grow as artists. Remember, it's natural to go through phases of work. That is the whole point. The early you ingrain this point in your head, the better you will feel going forward.
I wish I understood this earlier on in my career.
Trusting the process will get you very far and it’s important to remember this when the art you produce doesn’t turn out the way you want it, or the way you had planned.
So, my ultimate point - Keep growing and keep experimenting. Learn from other artists, copy other artists, try absolutely everything, and go with the flow! Phew! I hope this has been helpful!
I'm here to guide and advise beginner artists like yourself. Let me know what difficulties you face as an artist?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below, and of course if you have any questions leave them below too!