By Creative Contributor: Seth Apter
The following images are detail shots of work Seth has completed. Make sure you click on each image to view the amazing layers, fibers, colors, elements and more.
We all know artists that have signature styles. When we see their work, we can immediately identify it as theirs and theirs alone. This is true of many of the great masters and of today’s bloggers as well. But I have heard many people say that they are forever trying to find their own style. They are no longer satisfied following the step-by-steps in books. They want their own voice.
Many times an artist’s style emerges organically over time. But for some, this doesn’t seem to happen. If you feel this way, the following seven ideas may help you to own your own voice!
Style File: We have all had the experience of seeing a piece of art that really grabs us. Start a file of images that call your name. But don’t limit yourself to artwork. How about an ad in a magazine that has just the right color? Or an online photograph that gets your heart beating just a little faster. Do not use these images in your art. Instead, as your file grows, try to see what themes repeat themselves. This can be a clue to your own style.
Play Day: Give yourself permission to play with the art materials you already own, without any preconceived plan. Clear the area. Spread out the supplies. Put on your favorite music. And just play. Grab whatever catches your eye. Mix materials that you usually do not combine. Work with no thought of a finished piece. When recess is over, see what you have created. Ask yourself, where did I end up?
Obsess Less: As artists, we all end up collecting (e.g., hoarding) special objects that we hold on to and cannot seem to actually part with to use in an art piece. Grab all these objects and look at them together. After you find any patterns, chose one special object and create an art piece around it. Your creation will provide a hint to your artistic voice.
Playing Favorites: We all have artwork that we have made that has a special meaning - the one or more pieces that we really love. You know…the ones we pick to show other people. Find those few, very special pieces and study them. What is it about the work that resonates? See if a theme emerges across all your favorite pieces.
Book ‘em: Chose a favorite art “how-to” book or just grab one randomly off your shelf. Pick a project or a technique in the book. But instead of following it step-by-step, challenge yourself to change it up. Add a new step. Bring in a new material or technique. Make it your own. Do this a few times over the course of a month. In the end, see what you have brought to the table and try to identify your own influence.
Four Score: Chose 4 pieces of art that you have made that best represent you or that are simply your personal favorites. Show all 4 pieces to 4 different people whose judgment you trust. Ask each person to write down 4 words that in their minds best describe your artwork. Sometimes we already have our own style but find it hard to see it ourselves. It may be clearer to others.
Journal It: Keep track of the results of these exercises in a journal. And keep your journal with you always. Write down artful thoughts, words, and events. Doodle, draw, or paint anything that inspires you. All without any worry about how “good” it is. As your journal fills you will begin to see a pattern in all the entries. You will begin to own your own voice.
Seth Apter is a mixed-media artist from New York City, focused primarily on paper arts, book arts, and textural assemblage. Using layers of paper, paint, ink, text, transfers, found metal, and other altered objects, he creates highly textured and distressed artworks.
His work has been highlighted on multiple websites and published in national magazines, independent zines, and three books to be released in 2010. His blog, The Altered Page, is a visual journal of his own artwork, photography, and collaborations, as well as a showcase for artists he admires and his creative experiences in NYC.
Blog: The Altered Page
This article is courtesy of the MMCA Marketplace Blog, a