When I scroll through images on Instagram or look at what artists post on Facebook and other social media or sites, I notice two things right away. The first one is the style of an artist. Even without seeing a name I recognize the style of the artist. That’s a good thing, don’t you think so?
The other thing I notice is that quite a few artist play it save. They more or less produce the same over and over again. Sure it may by a different pose, different subject and so on, but in essence it’s the same. I’m not sure if that such a good thing.
You could compare it to like a dog that learned only one trick. It’s great if a dog is able to sit on command, but a dog can do a lot more. If you have a dog that can sit on command and also roll over, jump through a hoop, play dead and fetch, that is way more impressive.
It’s a great idea to explore some new ‘tricks’ once in a while or rehearse a few old ones you have forgotten about. Expand your horizon, venture out there on roads you haven’t travelled before. Stay true to your own style, but don’t produce the same over and over again. As a side note, experimenting with styles isn’t a bad thing either. You’re an artist, be creative, explore, grow. You don’t have to settle for being that dog that can only sit on command. I’m not saying that you have to go through earth shattering changes. Small changes are fine too, even subtle changes. If, for example, you’ve been drawing flowers only for a long time…. Why not add some bees to it the next time?
Let’s brings this closer to home. Inktober is coming to a close. What really surprised me is the huge resistance against using ink only for a month by a rather large group of (outspoken) artists. We want to participate in Inktober, but we don’t want to use ink. We want to use the same materials we’ve been using for the rest of the year already. Have artists become that afraid of a little change once in a while? Are we in danger of becoming one trick dogs? I hope not, but the growing tendency of artists sticking only to what they know and like is slightly alarming.
Do you remember when you first started to explore your creativity? Did you feel that urge to just try and learn everything at once? Perhaps it’s time for us as artist to go back to those roots. Curiosity, creativity and a world of possibilities at our feet. Let’s show the world that we’ve got a few more ‘tricks’ up our sleeve.