18 April 2011

the hardest part about making art...

...is holding on to your style.

At least for me it is.

When I first pushed my artwork out into the world, I was unsure. Then happy when it seemed to be generally well received. And then something seemed to get lost...and I struggled for a little while.

I got nervous that my color schemes weren't happy enough (they generally aren't), that my themes weren't mainstream enough (which often they are not), that people would think I was just plain weird (which they have frequently said).

There was a time period when I made things that I thought other people wanted to see, that would be better accepted, that stayed away from the black and dark tones that I like, from the somewhat creepy edge that sometimes finds its way into my work.

When I realized this was happening, I made a decision: I needed to become comfortable with the idea that I can't make everyone happy. Its not really a feeling that ever entirely goes away but its one of those things that is a necessary evil.

My style is constantly evolving, its something that grows and stretches with me as life plods along. When times are difficult and painful, the work reflects it - somber and black and moody. When times are content, there is more experimenting - a willfulness to try out things that might not work. And as time builds up, a different kind of feeling creeps in - one of confidence, of sureness, of quiet strength.

Its a kind of unconscious diary that can be traced in a slow steady way.

Its something that I've come to guard almost as much as the act of creating itself. I still catch myself considering altering something to suit other people's tastes. It instantly kicks up a fit of annoyance, and three words flash through my mind "This isn't me."

And so I do what feels natural and all the while I know that somewhere someone will probably think "That's awful."

And that's okay.

I make art because I have to. That dictates that I need to find meaning and fulfillment in it. Sharing it with others who find the same thing in it is a gift but not a requirement.

There is room for everyone's voice, no matter how far off it is from our own. There are things that don't thrill me but I know that others see it in a way that feels like home. And that's what I love so much about what we do - the endless possibilities that hold out their hands for us to follow.

Hold on to your style. If you don't do the work, who else will?


Bonita Rose said...

Here here I feel the same way, there is room on the playground for us all.. well said.. we all need to be unique and be proud of our styles. It just really irks me when other estABLISHED artists out there snub you.. that really bothers me.. weren't they starting out once too? hugs xo thks for posting this.. u are a dear. xo

Kim Hambric said...

Thanks. I needed that.

Deb H said...

Yes! I struggle too - losing your voice is not fun. You have to find it again. :o(

fabric=fun said...

You have put into words what I feel is my dilemma. I am a wannabe Artist of sorts(I think). I research all that time allows in the artistic realms of what I enjoy doing. I do quilting, needle felting, wool applique, fiber art stuff. I am coming upon the need to focus on a style and venue of my own and settle into it. I rely too much (I think) on making something more functional, or accessible to others enjoyment. Thank you for posting your thoughts -