A conversation about “STYLE”

Posted in Rants and Raves on May 7, 2012 – 1:11 pm
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Many of the conversations in my studio recently have dealt with the concept and definition of style. I find that artists are particularly interested in exactly “how” a particular image has been created. I have the teaching gene and have always been particularly open with what media, technique, and processes I use. In some ways this seems to be to my detriment…as I see more than a few knock-offs of what I’ve managed to create on my own. It’s puzzling to me that any mature artist would chose to mimic a body of work they admire. However, I do think that using others work to inform your own and building a foundation for that “and now for something completely different” creation is essential to growth.

Style has largely become something that one appropriates in our society. Style used to be what defined an individual…now it is available at the local shopping mall. Style is now a commodity that fashion designers and celebrities create…and we buy. What had always set visual artists apart was their abhorrent reaction to obvious formulations to “challenge” the status-quo. In the present era it seems the vogue to bow to the vagaries of what is commonly termed as “The Market”. Gone is the circa that required artists to be anything other than clever. A dead shark or a decaying carcass do summon up a few questions, but where’s the craft of it all? Style needs to be something that grows out of years of sifting through the center of one’s existential being. What am I attuned to? Where do my talents lie? What directions can I pursue that leave me the most liberty for creative exploration and the potential of a cohesive body of work? The co-modification of art has been both it’s bane and bacchanalian since man started taking a charred stick out of the fire and asserting his particular rift on the world he lived in. What seems to be waning now is the ability of artists to follow a path that is new or divergent from their previous trajectory. Concerns in the financial and critical realms tend to be decidedly non-nurturing and Darwinian in their nature. Style is both a unique voice gained through decades of exploration and a repetitive motif of identification. Whether the artist is defined by his work, the work by the artist, or a conglomeration of the two…style should always be a genuine representation of  what they actually wanted to say. ..otherwise it misses the mark.


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