TWO THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT MYSELF THIS WEEK
I follow these really inspiring illustrators, authors, creatives and I'm always blown away by their dedication, creative prowess and sheer abundance of work, self promotion, marketing, and overall ethic...I spend a fair bit of time looking through portfolios, websites and techniques - in fact, I'd say about 25 percent of my whole week is dedicated to looking at others' work. And therein lies the dilemma. When is too much enough? Am I inspired, saturated, or just exhausting my potential but spending too much time looking at the artwork of others?
Along a similar vein, I recently took on a project where another artist 'left off' so to speak, and whilst some artists would have just scratched the previous works and started again, I said to myself, I have been given someone else's artwork to work with; this is a commercial endeavor with a very short deadline, and there is need to separate the desire for 'owning' art, vs. infusing my own style where I could. The outcome of the work was totally my style, but with someone else having set the scene (i.e.by having done many of the initial layouts), and rather than hinder, it gave me a different perspective - it was refreshingly 'not me' as an initial approach and perhaps collaboration would should be encouraged more.
I'm sure I'm not alone in these two points - when is too much of others enough, and how much of my work is my own... if that makes sense.
Well, after a little thought and research I found, I'm not alone. If fact there is quite a debate raging about bad art becoming worse through 'un-discerning appropriation'... badly produced art being copied, styles that are copies of copies etc. While this may be true, I certainly have picked up fabulous style and techniques from my peers.
I have also become more 'discerning' in terms of where I look and who I look at... so whilst the general google 'artist\illustrator' search is fine for meanderings, having focus in terms of who I look at minimizes this saturation. For some artists, this research can affect confidence in one's own abilities - I don't find this the case; I look very carefully at what it is they are doing well, what I enjoy about their work, and go from there. In terms of saturation, I research and in this I am saturated. I set myself a task to not look at others' work for a week, but I failed miserably - from Instagram, to Facebook, web alerts, rss feeds, weekly newsletters. I was enticed out of this action, and I'm ok with it... perhaps I'll aim for one day, rather than one week... try to solidify my 'thing' for a few days because I figure my style is evolving every three to four days. While this seems excessive, consider your own works and influences...
Anyway, meandering indeed - open thoughts definitely needing further writing, but for now just two observations.
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Tanya is a traditional and digital artist, living in Brisbane and inspired by all that is 'Art'.