Do You Need To Like The Art You Make?
I was in a studio session a couple of weeks ago with one of our members, Varvara – and we were talking about how distracting it can be when you see the work of others and think “Ooh, I want to make art like that”!
We then go on a pursuit to make that type of art. Sometimes it works and sometimes it really doesn’t. So in this blog post, I talk about why this happens and how liking our work can change from one week to the next – and that’s ok.
I believe we have artistic DNA in all of us and this is where our uniqueness comes from – this can’t be changed. Though I do think a large proportion of our art making is environmental and changeable, I strongly believe there is this small part of us that is innate and that part can’t be changed.
When you look at other people’s work and start to compare techniques and elements it can sometimes make you step back and not enjoy your own work as much. Then wanting to create something you love you as much can begin to weigh heavily and you can start to have this feeling of wanting to recreate. But understanding that you can like and admire someone else’s work and leave it there is key. Knowing you don’t have to create something you admire every time is freeing.
No right answer
So then following on, the question arose – “Do you need to like your own artwork?” I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer to this question.
For me, personally, I don’t think you need to be your own customer. Sometimes being an artist is exploring a side of you and letting it all come out and this may not be the type of art you would put on your wall. That is ok!
Trying to replicate
You may see someone else’s artwork and it all starts to feel hard and heavy as you can’t replicate it. This is when it is time to check in and know that it is ok to be where you are. Instead of trying to replicate, use these pieces as a point of inspiration and a reason to explore new techniques.
However, if something you are trying to replicate is starting to feel hard, it may be a sign for you to rethink. Does this really speak to your soul? Is it firing you up? If the answer is no, park it. I know so many artists who set their sights on particular mediums or techniques for months, even years and it doesn’t work out. Again, this is ok.
You can learn anything and practise, practise, practise to become really good at something, but if it doesn’t light you up then it is ok to change mediums, techniques and styles.
Being an artist is about going with the flow and playing with ideas. I still play around with ideas today! I often say that it is really important to have 20% of play time with your work when creating. Simply letting yourself go free.
I think, especially now with social media, looking at other people’s art is a great inspiration boost and it can be a great way to learn. Sometimes when you are stuck, looking to see what others are doing can really help. But ultimately the magic comes when you make art in your own way with your flair that comes from within. That is what makes your work different and unique.
Enjoy the making
So, do I think you need to like the art you make? No, I don’t necessarily think that you do. I think it just matters that you enjoy making it and that there is passion, a need and curiosity whilst exploring.
We are often our own worst critics when it comes to looking at our final pieces. I’ve made art in the past and I’ve hated it. Then, a few years later, I’ve looked back again and seen something different and don’t find it so bad.
I guess the main moral of the story is, make art that you love making, that feeds your soul and makes you feel alive.