What Makes An Artist’s Voice?
Hello, how are you?
In this blog post I cover a really interesting question that I have been asked by a few people lately. The question is, what makes an artist’s voice and what is the difference with being inspired and copying? So, in this blog post I am going to answer it. Obviously, these are just my views and we may all have our own thoughts on it, but this is what I personally think.
I talk a lot about finding your voice, I say it over and over again. When we are finding our voice we need to take things back to their simplistic form. It’s very common for us to grapple with what our voice is. It can be a tricky journey when trying to find it, but it’s a hard one to explain and describe as to what it is.
Being inspired or copying
We all have it in us to copy work, consciously or subconsciously. As humans we imitate what others do. We copy, we see things and we will replicate them and we do this more so as beginners as we are learning. We learn from each other.
It’s natural that we copy. We see something we like and our mind can begin to wonder how someone has painted or created that particular piece. We can take a piece and copy it exactly as we see it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it can be really insightful into understanding why and how some created something. It can be a great place to start.
If you’re having a bit of a block, just taking the pressure away, finding a piece you love and copying is a good way to find your flow again. So to me, that is coping. Of course, when you’ve copied a piece and imitated it exactly, it belongs to someone else. You can use it in your personal work but shouldn’t put it out there as your own as it has been copied from someone else.
When finding inspiration you are gathering different sources of inspiration and bringing them together. You may have a piece of artwork on the go, and you then go on a walk and see different colours in the flowers and trees, and take a picture of them. You then bring all that back to your sketchbook. This all then starts to meld, fuse and come together.
When you go back to making artwork, instead of imitating someone’s work and copying it exactly, you can get your sketchbook and go to that inspiration. You take a piece of work you like and choose some elements from it, then use your inspiration of colours, textures and combine them together. You can start to mix it up – this is you starting to find your own voice.
From here you’ll start to notice what you like and what you don’t like. What you enjoy creating and what you don’t. You are no longer imitating and copying, you are starting to see use your influences, ideas and passion and create art in your own words. The more you become tuned into these, the more your voice will develop.
An artist’s voice
When I think of an artist’s voice, to me there are two parts. There is DNA that is in us all and then there is the influence all around us.
I believe that we all have artistic DNA. This is the way we hold a pencil, the way we all see colour. This DNA is innate and it is the way we are programmed and the way our brain works. I noticed this when I was at school. I would try and make art in different ways, ways that didn’t feel natural to me and they were really hard. It was great as I was exploring different ways of making and creating but it felt against my grain. As soon as I let this go it was enlightening.
I am an expressive person, I like to make a mess when I am creating. I am not precise and this creeps in, in all aspects of my life. This is completely fine. It’s my DNA and the way I was programmed.
The second side of the voice are the influences that are around us. What is going on around us when you go for a walk today? What things will you notice? What things have you experienced as a child, an adult? What gets you excited? What repulses you? All of these things influence us. Though our voice is unique to us, all of these things have impact and have influence by what is around us.
For example, what may be happening in your life today is one influence, but next week something could happen and it may completely change the way you feel about things, life and your art. This part of your voice is continually developing.
This is what starts to make our work have a completely different feel to anyone else’s. We start to bring in our own influences and inspiration and you begin to create your own unique voice.
It’s also essential to find consistency in your work. This comes from finding your voice and being consistent with it. By doing this people will begin to recognise your work and tapping into your uniqueness.
For me, I find the artist’s voice really difficult to explain but most of all it is everyone being unique. Learning from those elements in art to create artwork that is consistent so others can recognise your voice.
Finding your voice doesn’t happen overnight, it evolves over time. When you start to understand who you are as a person and as an artist you will start to feel enlightened when creating.
Always remember to keep going and digging to find that voice.