I was recently listening to the Art Juice Podcast and the episode was titled “Is your personality in your art?” It’s a great episode over all but at about the 14 minute mark they ask some really lovely, hard art reflection questions that I’ve had kicking around my head for over a week now. I’ll paraphrase them here:
• Which parts of your personality are you not fully getting into your work?
• Which things are in your work that aren’t you?
• Which things are there that you know are most you?
I know it will surprise exactly NONE of you that I have thoughts about these art reflection questions.
Which parts of your personality are you not fully getting into your work?
I think if you look at my work, you probably get the impression that I’m a fairly dramatic, excitable person. I’m actually very easy going. So I think one thing that is part of me that is tougher to see is that easy going, peaceful side of me. I think all the things that are volatile in me I get out onto the page so I can be peaceful about most everything else in my life.
I have a few pieces that I feel like are peaceful in this way but these are a handful of works over the last 18 months:
I think stripping my style down enough to get to peaceful is something I attempt often but rarely achieve. I like a lot. I like more. More is way easier to achieve than less. At least it is for me. And it’s not just about editing because I edit my More all the time. I pull things out and replace them with other things. So while I love the clean look of more minimalist pieces, I’ve nearly convinced myself that I’ll never consistently achieve it.
This was by far the hardest question for me to answer. And I think it will be an ongoing process to answer it again and again.
Which things are in your work that aren’t you?
When you are just starting out and you are taking classes and learning things, I think it’s natural to mimic the styles of your instructors. You need to try on different hats to see which ones fit. I find this happens to me whenever I immerse myself in a class NOW and that’s after several years of feeling like I have a handle on my personal style. I try to be conscious when I’m learning from someone that I take the tools or processes they are showing and adapt them to my own work and process. I basically try the methodology on to see what works for me and keep those pieces that work and let the rest slide away. It’s very tricky and I find that I was already evaluating my work for this a lot.
There’s one teacher in particular who has a very unique style. I’ve taken a ton of classes and workshops from her. Her work is distinctive and I love it! I find it difficult to use because it is so distinctive that when I use it I feel very copy-ish. I haven’t decided if this is because I haven’t fully integrated it into how I will use it/put my spin on it. Or if it seems like it’s not me because I know I learned it from her so it seems like her work is sitting on top of my work. I also wasn’t much of a drawer before her classes and I’m definitely drawing more now because of the practice I received under her teaching. See how confusing that is?
Which things are there that you know are most you?
COLOR. COLOR. COLOR. I am made entirely of a rainbow.
Movement and motion. I have a lot going on in almost every piece as I discussed above.
Texture. I’ve talked several times about how I grew up with grunge. It settled in my bones so I’m bonded forever with distressed, textured surfaces. I come back to these time and time again.
And I think all of those things show in my work:
What about you?
How do these art reflection questions hit you? Are you going to listen to the podcast? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.