Art and Creativity: Is Your Creative Style Your Own?

in #art4 years ago

Maybe that sounds like an odd question to ask... most of us would say "of COURSE, my artistic style is my own!"

Today's question and exploration was inspired by a comment left by @alcy the other day on our post about authenticity. @alcy pointed out that many artists have certain models and mentors and examples they look up to, and it's easy to become a "follower" of someone else's style and methods... which are not authentically yours, no matter how good you may become.

What Inspired You to Start?

One of my earliest painted stones, from many years back

So this begs the question of what was the inspiration-- the "trigger," if you will-- that got you to the point of being "serious" about your art? And where did your ongoing influences come from-- art school, mentors, artists you looked up to and aspired to "be like?"

And when you think about those early days... is what you're doing "your own," or is the original model/inspiration still in your mind as you go along?

It may not be easy to make that distinction... and you may not want to. I will also add that I have met some artists who were extremely accomplished "copyists" in the general style of their original idols... and there is nothing "wrong" with that.

A Personal Example

Ultimately, I was inspired by graph paper.

No, really.

One of my painted stones, today

As a little kid, I was already aware that my stick drawings were more "blobby and stick-y" than my friends'. But at around age six or seven, I got my hands on some of my dad's architectural graph paper, and a whole world opened up... carefully coloring in each tiny square to create very colorful geometric patterns.

I was truly awful at any kind of drawing or painting in high school. The only other option-- abstract-- didn't really appeal to me. 

My second inspiration was a girl named Annette, who was in several of my classes. She was eternally drawing tiny intricate squiggles on every surface she could find... with these incredibly fine pointed black pens. It looked far more interesting to me than any of the art I failed so miserably at.

So-- at around age 15-- I got myself some very fine point black pens and started drawing the forerunners to the mandala type paintings I do today.

Very little has changed since then... medium, type of paint and such are different, but the original idea-- a fascination with the idea of geometric patterns and specifically the idea of drawing the illusion of curves using only dots and straight lines-- remains.

So... Is It Your Own?

Of course, there is probably no such thing as an original idea. Or at least that's what "they" say.

Purity Unchained
"Purity Unchained," print from watercolour painting by Braden Duncan

But let's put that aside for a bit... clearly, I didn't copy anyone, or mentor with anyone whose style is still hanging around. Annette was "an influence," but nothing I do looks even remotely like anything she did... 40 years ago.

Of course, I have no formal art schooling, nor did I mentor or apprentice with anyone... which is where we are more likely to pick up styles and habits that can end up dominating what we actually had in mind, in our inner mind's eye.

So think about it, for a moment-- consider your inspirations, visual, musical, poetic or whatever and check yourself to see if what you create is TRULY Yours.

Thank you for reading! Red Dragonfly is a proud member of the @sndbox creative initiative.

The Red Dragonfly is an independent alternative art gallery located in Port Townsend, WA; showcasing edgy and unique contemporary art & handmade crafts by local and worldwide artists. All images are our own, unless otherwise credited. Where applicable, artist images used with permission.


great topic as usual :)
Well let see, first there were comic books, Prince Valiant, Rip Kirby, Modesty Blaze, Aster Blistoc...

Than came Edgar Degas and other guys from that period...and now days...Alphonse Mucha is my guy :)

Mucha's the man !! Have you seen the " church windows" (vitrail, I am not sure of the english though) he did in Prague ? They are stunning !

@alcy, I saw everything i could from his work, been to his small museum at city center, it's not allowed to take photos there, but I went to Veletrzni palac and saw his Slavic epic and hope soon I will make post about it. He was such hard worker and he believed in his dream.
And this winter I am thinking about going to Prague again :)

Mucha is awesome! We have a couple of Mucha posters in our bedroom.

Yes he is :) I am happy you like him too, maybe you will find this interesting

Heey ! Thank you for the credit on that awesome post !
I will also add :
If you can't determine if this style is your own, asking friends from the same field or knowing your inspirations (or being brutally honest like art director at RiotGames....haha....) will definitely help you settle things.

Your stones are so beautiful, how do you come with these patterns ?

Cheers !

Thanks @alcy! Another good point, yes... ask friends. Mine are usually pretty honest.

The patterns are inside my head... which probably proves I'm deranged or psychotic. I don't use any stencils or plans ahead of time-- I just build it as I go; like a "story" that tells itself.

In your head ? That's impressive, I always wonder how is possible to create such things, I should try sometimes it seems very relaxing as well =o

Forgive me for going a bit off topic, but those painted stones are wonderful!

Thank you @roused; appreciate the kind words!

good questions and always worth checking in with oneself regularly to be sure we are continually reaching for a more authentic self expression all the time!

The question arose out of a previous comment discussion I was having with @alcy... and I realize it's definitely within the realm of reality for someone to be so heavily influenced by the style of their mentor/idol that their own original ideas get a little lost in translation. It applies more to people who went the traditional art school then apprenticeship route.

So yeah, it's really good to check in with yourself now and then.

ah yes, interesting conversation and so true. Although it didn't happen for me since I was more inspired by who my professor/idol was and the way he worked than his work itself, but I've seen it happen often actually and sometimes with peers too. Usually if one is going to continue to grow and create, one grows out of it over the long term. As always, I enjoy these investigations.

Love the article, I always thought that my art was not good enough, now I see it from your point of view. Great job!

As much as anything, I think we just have to be bold enough to "give ourselves the chance" to develop our art and put it out there... and then we can at least say "I did my best."

Your posting made me think about my own writing/translating style. Thank you. :)

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