How Developing a Strong Style and Laser-Like Focus is One of the Most Important Things you can do for Your Fine Art Career

A variety of years in the past, I used to be approached by an artist who was in search of gallery illustration in Scottsdale. She had been into the gallery throughout a gap and after placing up a dialog, had requested if she would possibly cease again by the gallery and current her portfolio to me after I had extra time. I had agreed and she or he was now again within the gallery on a quiet weekday afternoon with portfolio in hand.

The second I noticed the portfolio I knew I used to be in bother. I’m not exaggerating to say that this portfolio was at the least two inches thick and should have weighed eight or 9 kilos. After a quick dialog and reintroduction, she handed me the portfolio and mentioned, “this is really only a small sampling of my work – I’ve been painting for over forty years and I have hundreds more images.”

I opened the portfolio and started randomly paging via with the artist wanting expectantly on.
There was merely an excessive amount of work within the portfolio, and I felt as if I have been taking a survey of the whole lot of artwork historical past. The work actually encompassed each type from cave portray (granted, an summary tackle it) to the Renaissance, the impressionists and all the trendy actions since – expressionism, minimalism, and pop, to call a couple of.

“You’re work is quite diverse,” I mentioned.

The artist took it as way more of a praise than I meant. “I’ve always felt,” she mentioned, “that it’s important not to get myself pigeonholed into one particular style or theme . . . I like to keep my work fresh.”

I don’t bear in mind the remainder of our dialog – though I’m certain I politely waved her off with a inventory “we don’t have any room right now,” or “we’re not the right fit.” Looking again, I want I might have taken the time to provide her suggestions on her presentation and physique of labor, as she absolutely went on to have a really tough time persuading a gallery to hold her work utilizing that all-encompassing method.

While that is an excessive instance, I encounter variations of this method fairly often. Now that I’ve been within the enterprise longer and have extra expertise working with artists, I at all times attempt to  have a dialog in regards to the significance of consistency (to not point out the significance of making a concise portfolio).

So why is it vital to develop a constant physique of labor?

 . . . the choice I’m finally making is whether or not I’m prepared to put money into the artist and their work . . .

Step into my sneakers for a second and examine your artwork via the eyes of a gallery proprietor. You will shortly see that as I take into account an artist for illustration, the choice I’m finally making is whether or not I’m prepared to put money into the artist and their work.
I’m going to commit costly wall or pedestal house to displaying the artwork. I’m going to have employees spending time and assets selling and promoting the work. I’m going to spend promoting {dollars} informing potential purchasers in regards to the work. In order to make this type of dedication, I’ve to really feel assured that I can see a return on the funding.

This is to not say that I’m not prepared to stretch and take dangers with unproven artists, however I’m far much less more likely to make such an funding if I see inconsistency within the work. My concern is that I’ll make the funding and start to construct a following for the artist’s work, solely to have the artist make a sudden and drastic change of their type, forcing me to start out over once more. It can typically take years to construct a following for an artist, and through that point a gentle stream of constant work is essential.

Of course, there are various different concerns – high quality, creativity, and confidence – however consistency is definitely one of many first indicators I search for because it typically speaks to the opposite components as properly.

In reality, when requested what an artist ought to do to extend their odds of discovering gallery illustration and constructing long-term business success, consistency could be the very first issue to which I might level. That’s proper. Even above high quality and creativity, I really feel that consistency is the important thing to long-term success.

So what do I imply by “consistency”? Many artists hear the phrase and really feel a cold-sweat break on their forehead. Most artists can perceive the significance of consistency nearly instinctually, however in relation to really making a physique of constant work, they’re unsure the place to start. Does this imply they need to solely have one type and one topic? Does it imply they don’t have any latitude to experiment and evolve? Does consistency grow to be a straightjacket to creativity?

To reply these questions we want solely delineate our objective. While my final objective is to promote an artist’s work and create a base of collectors who will maintain the artist over the long-term, the speedy objective by way of consistency is way less complicated: when somebody walks into my gallery, I need them to see quite a lot of your items and have them be capable to immediately acknowledge all the work as having been created by one artist. I need the artist (you!) to provide them a robust thread working via the work that ties all of it collectively. From the primary piece they encounter to the final, I need them to have a look at every and see its relation to the others.

Furthermore, when that very same shopper walks into the gallery a yr from now, I need them to see and acknowledge the brand new work within the gallery at the moment as yours. In the advertising world they name this “branding” and that’s precisely what we wish to accomplish together with your work.

Seeing consistency this fashion, you will understand that you do have some latitude to fluctuate your work. You can paint landscapes and still-lifes so long as the type or presentation ties the work collectively. You can sculpt figures and animals so long as the visible language is constant throughout the work. You may even fluctuate the media you make use of to create the work if the subject material and theme are unified.

A few illustrations from artists in my gallery will assist as an example what I imply:

Guilloume. Even although this artist works in oil and bronze, his figurative subject material and his constant type interprets throughout the mediums. There is little doubt in a viewer’s thoughts that this work was created by a single artist with a transparent imaginative and prescient of his work.

 

An Evening Out by Guilloume
An Evening Out by Guilloume
Mutual Thinking by Guilloume
Mutual Thinking by Guilloume

 

Lorri Acott. Lorri produces in each bronze and clay mediums and sculpts each animals and figures, however her type is constant and clear. Through the usage of elongated limbs and a “cracking” in her types, each people and horses are simply recognized as being Lorri’s work.

Conversation with Myself by Lorri Acott
Conversation with Myself by Lorri Acott
Deja Vu by Lorri Acott
Deja Vu by Lorri Acott

 

John Horejs (full disclosure, this artist is my father). Though creating desert and mountain landscapes, florals and still-life work, Horejs’ type and presentation tie his work right into a cohesive physique.

Salt River Vistas by John Horejs
Salt River Vistas by John Horejs
Colors of October by John Horejs
Colors of October by John Horejs

 

Dave Newman. Newman’s nostalgic Americana impressed type is each distinctive and constant.Though Newman depends on random discovered objects to create his imagery, he has a really clear imaginative and prescient of how he’ll give these objects context and the way the objects relate to 1 one other. Again, presentation turns into an vital a part of the equation in creating consistency in Dave’s work.

Taking The Scenic Route by Dave Newman
Taking The Scenic Route by Dave Newman
V8 Road Trip by Dave Newman
V8 Road Trip by Dave Newman

 

Jeanie Thorn. It is simple to establish Jeanie’s work by the supplies she constantly employs. While she varies the dimensions and form of her sculptures, there may be an apparent unification amongst her work that enables guests to the gallery to find her work with ease, even when it’s scattered throughout a number of partitions.

 

Mandala by Jeanie Thorn
Mandala by Jeanie Thorn
Cross Cut by Jeanie Thorn
Cross Cut by Jeanie Thorn

 

“But Jason,” you object, “I’m afraid I am going to get pigeonholed into my current style or subject matter and frankly, I just get bored quickly.” I perceive these issues. Here are some concerns that can enable you to stay with (and embrace) consistency:

  • Cuir. The nice attract of being an artist is that you get to attempt new issues and you are your individual grasp. I’m not suggesting that this has to finish, that you are caught for the remainder of your life creating the identical artwork again and again. What I’m suggesting is that you make a acutely aware determination that the work you are making ready to current to the general public or to galleries have to be constant. You can do the summary work if you are primarily a panorama painter, however don’t embrace it in your public portfolio. Edit your work right down to solely the work that’s congruent.

 

  • Give your self parameters. Allow your self one experiment out of each 20 items – 19 are going to be the constant, the 20th might be no matter you really feel like doing. This twentieth piece would possibly find yourself hanging in your non-public assortment or would possibly grow to be a present to a pal or member of the family.

 

  • Evolve. “Look at Picasso”, you say, “he didn’t just stick with one thing throughout his life.” I’ll agree with you, but when you take a look at the arc of the lifetime of labor Picasso created, you will see an evolution over years and many years. What I need you to keep away from is the bi-monthly reinvention that many artists expertise frequently (you could also be going via this now).

 Now right here’s the key about ardour: ardour isn’t that feeling you get when you first attempt one thing. True ardour comes after you’ve sacrificed and devoted your self; after you have been true to your dedication

  • Choose. Sometimes an absence of consistency comes not out of a love of selection however as a substitute out of a worry of dedication. You might need three or 5 (or twenty!) completely different types you have dabbled in and you’re simply unsure which one is the appropriate match – which one will engender success and gross sales. I’m typically requested what type of artwork sells one of the best. My reply is straightforward: the type which any particular person artist is most enthusiastic about. Art faucets emotion and you are going to be much better at promoting if you could make a primal connection together with your viewer. You are going to be much better at making this type of connection if you are creating work that you are enthusiastic about. Now right here’s the key about ardour: ardour isn’t that feeling you get when you first attempt one thing. True ardour comes after you’ve sacrificed and devoted your self; after you have been true to your dedication. There aren’t any two methods about this and you are finally going to need to decide in relation to your course – so why not make it now?

 

  • Cheat. If you have work that’s shut however not fairly constant, you can fudge a bit by merely utilizing a constant presentation. You could be amazed on the number of work that may present collectively just because it’s in the very same body or has an similar base. There are limits to how far you can push this cheat, however in a pinch it might probably preserve your portfolio’s consistency.

I met one other artist a number of years in the past who had made a dedication to consistency. She determined to concentrate on one topic for a yr. Instead of changing into tired of the topic, she reported that the extra time she spent with it, the extra she started to see that there’s an infinity of selection within the nuances of any topic.

If you have an issue with consistency, I encourage you to make an identical dedication. I promise you that this dedication could have a revolutionary impact in your work and your success as an artist.

What do you Think?

Do you really feel consistency is vital? What have you carried out to keep up consistency in your work? What are your best challenges as you search consistency in your work?