Finding your own style as an artist is as important as finding your voice being an author. Actually I don’t like the word “style”. Style describes the surface of things, unlike the “voice” that originate from within. You can’t have a deep, inner “style”… What you do want to find is your unique EXPRESSION. This is what we sometimes confuse with “style”. It doesn’t depend on popular trends or themes… Expression works regardless of that. Once your inner world starts to unfold in your pictures, people will say that you’ve found your “style”. But what you’ve really found is your special way of seeing things. Remember Matisse saying that to paint a rose the artist has to forget all the roses ever painted (more in THIS POST)?
But it isn’t easy and Matisse knew that. Finding your own expression takes time. Hard work. Patience. Being confused along the rocky road. Being envious of others that seem to have that effortless original “style” that we are trying to achieve (yes, let’s face it, we ARE envious sometimes!). To find your expression is not so much about mediums or techniques – although this will help you along the way – it’s about getting to know yourself. And as we all know, THIS is a lifelong project!
To do this you have to give yourself time to EXPLORE. Exploring the world is to find out what resonates with you and what doesn’t. You have to keep your eyes open and your mind always curious to find things that trigger the unknown side of you that you want to find out more about and put onto the canvas. This is your incomparable contribution to the world (read more HERE). It might not always be COMPLETELY different from what others do, after all most things have already been done in one fashion or another, but remember – NOT BY YOU!
Don’t be scared of failures, put the pencil to the paper and boldly take the risk! Failures are your best teachers and as Samuel Beckett put it: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Love your work regardless the imperfections. It’s yours and nobody else’s. It’s the evidence of how truly original and creative you are!
5 steps to find your unique expression:
- Open your eyes – the inner one as well
- Explore – never ever stop being curious
- Fail – don’t be scared of failures, they are your roadmap to the goal
- Be brave – always try again… and again
- Love your work even when it didn’t turn out the way you hoped – it’s still an evidence of your ability to get there. Every piece is a promise that YOU WILL MAKE IT!
Someone that really knew the struggle of creativity and self doubt was Vincent van Gogh. If you want to learn how to become an artist – just read his amazing letters to his brother Theo! Generations of artists have found tons of inspiration and advices in there. Numerous are the thoughts that have turned into beloved quotes that I’m sure you’ve heard many times, like “I’m always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” But I will end with this one:
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint,
then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
Vincent van Gogh