We have all seen it, the way some artists tend to paint similar things when they’re hot and the buying public are snapping them up. The ‘Rangitoto and toi toi’ paintings common on trademe.co.nz, or the piles of stones after Michael Smither originally did them -
It’s nothing new to start or follow a trend but its hard to prove if you were the first and many of the art buying public don’t really care, they just want a version on their wall that they can change later on when they change their curtains or lounge suite. I myself will often use colour schemes that are the ‘in shades or hues’ if painting décor art and I know many artists who paint the afore-mentioned Rangitoto and Toi-toi artworks, one or two even make a killing out of it. It’s a shame though when an artist does really well with a style only to have it replicated by so many others, saturating the market and either making their work look mass produced or forcing them to change their style to something else to remain original.
With the internet nothing is sacred anymore either, if something is seen to be popular you can even find your artwork being mass produced in places lke China where they create hundreds of coies of your work and sell it for pittance. Click on the image below to read ore about this
With picking a style to do you don’t have to stick with that forever, its not like learning to be a Dentist and then having to do that for the rest of your life, like changing your career, you can also change your art style if the one you are working with is no longer your thing and you have lost passion for it. it’s a good thing as an artist to evolve and develop in different ways. Often you will see artists who have more than one subject or style, so you too can work with two or three and swap between them. I find that works for me and means when I’m bored with one particular style I can work in another and so on, unless of course I have commissions in a style that means I have to continue in that one in the meantime. The best bit is when you return to a different one it seems fresh and exciting again.
Often you will find that your look translates to your other styles anyway and your buying public will instantly recognise your work anyway, so it doesn’t mean you will look like you have a split personality either! It is important to some degree to keep something similar between styles as that’s why galleries like to deal with artists who have an identifiable style. It's that 'thing' that makes someone able to look at a painting and say "That's a Picasso or whomever painting". It makes an artist's work collectible and shows you're able to work to a consistent standard. If you're looking to get gallery representation, or to sell your art in one way or another, you need to have a body of work of around 20 or 30 works minimum in a style, medium, colours, and subject matter that distinguish you from every other artist in some way. Don’t be fooled into thinking that some particular style like ‘Rangitoto and Toi tois’ sells well and you could do that, be yourself, be distinctive, be original, its what people really want and its what can make you that next big thing rather than one of the masses of average artists who are selling décor work at décor prices.
Main image is "Philosophy of Literature" an abstract piece by Collette Fergus
Posted: Tuesday 29 June 2010