Monday, August 31, 2009

How to Find Your Artistic Voice

If you are a creative person reading this, please, I need your help!

What's my artistic voice? That's the question that's been bothering me for a while. I feel I've been dabbling with too many subjects and styles and neglecting to develop a signature look in my art. I guess one reason for this could be that I truly don't paint nearly half as much as I should. It's always been sporadic. A slap-and-dash affair when I did it.

I came to Canada about eight years ago, I've exhibited at the biggest art fest in the Niagara region for six years now. Each time it was a bunch of paintings hurriedly completed between work and school and trips (I traveled quite a bit for extended periods) and family visiting, just in time to meet the deadline. And because it was always such a long gap between painting sprees it usually came out all different from the last time. So I've never really had a consistent body of work. Fortunately, each year my work was well received, and sold amidst tough competition.

And I never went to any sort of art school where I could explore and discover my own style. I can't even figure out what subject or medium I like best! Everything looks exciting and worth trying, and so much fun! Aggghh.

And now I have the little BumbleBee running all over the place and not sleeping till I am just as exhausted as she is. She takes an afternoon nap these days, thankfully, but usually wakes up a couple of times during it, which really keeps me on edge and inhibits my painting with full concentration, if I'm even able to get around to getting started!

Another reason: I have no room to make art. None. I used to, when I lived in a smaller house, which is funny.

So now I have a shop full of mishmash, or at least what looks like mishmash to me.

I need to find my own voice somewhere in those diverse styles and subjects, and stop being carried away by every new thought of 'experimenting'.

Any ideas, tips, suggestions? Please share your thoughts!


Green Hand Studio said...

Dear Azra
I think that your artistic voice is already guiding you and your art has a clear style.
It is good to experiment and try new styles and things. All big artists did it of going through different styles and periods of dark colors or light colors or abstract style or classic. See Picasso or Van Gogh.
I think art is following our moods, our feelings without restrictions and being free.
just my opinion!
Hugs barbara

Unknown said...

Thank you, Barbara. I feel better after reading your reply. But like you say, art is about following our feelings without restrictions, and I think I have been carried away by the novelty of the materials I use instead of being guided by my innermost feelings and using the materials to manifest my art.

I think I have a long way to go. You're right though. I should stop stressing and continue to have fun!


Mary Jardin said...

I have two words for you: keep painting! You have a voice, and it will emerge - just keep at it.

Love your work!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Mary!

LisaMDSkinner said...

Hi Azra, I share a similar story as yours and found your website by googling, "Guided by your artistic voice." I have tried many styles and media and have enjoyed everyone, each time with "this is it ! I found my artistic thumbprint !" only to get bored after 2 or 3 like it. At least there seems to be a small series of each style, but no one would know me by my style. I appreciate your question, and especially the advice. I will keep painting...This email article advertising the latest American Artist Magazine is what also helped me (I too will try to let go of the fear and paint from my heart more this year, blessings, Lisa

"Finding Your Authentic Voice"
It’s a new year and a new decade, and no doubt some of your 2010 resolutions relate to your art career. Whether you’ve promised to make more time for drawing or painting, have specific goals related to professional success, or are simply learning to approach the art process with a different perspective or purpose, now is a great time to glean inspiration from those whose work we greatly admire.

I recently interviewed Nancy Guzik for her feature article in the March 2010 issue of American Artist, and after speaking with her for nearly two hours I hung up the phone with a renewed sense of what it means to be an artist. Her thoughtful perspective made me realize the profound privilege and great responsibility that comes with being a creative being. We have the power—through our drawings, paintings, words, or music—to influence our culture and share our interpretation of the world around us.

The title of the article is “Nancy Guzik: Finding an Authentic Voice,” and in it Nancy talks about embracing what it is that makes her unique as a painter, discovering why she is drawn to certain subject matter, and letting go of fear that can inhibit her full creative potential. She talks about the artists she admires and says how it’s the honesty of one’s own personal language coming through that really captivates the viewer. “No other artist sees the world exactly as you do or feels what you feel—that story is yours alone to tell,” she says. “When you become vulnerable enough to paint what’s inside of you, that other dimension starts to come through in your work.”

I hope Nancy’s words of wisdom and beautiful imagery will be as inspiring to you as they were to me, and will give you the confidence to fearlessly share your visual voice with the world in the year ahead!

Allison Malafronte
Senior Editor
American Artist, Drawing, Watercolor and Workshop magazines