An Artist’s Voice Update
Recently, I posted a series on An Artist’s Voice, and I want to give you an update.
What preceded these posts and headed me in the direction of seeking out my own voice was a class I took with Elizabeth Barton. When the subject came up I said I sometimes think an artists voice is, in part, a marketing device and in part a decision to follow a certain path, rather than a natural inclination. She dubbed me as the class philosopher and the class proceeded from there.
Before the workshop, one assignment was to investigate the work of artworks that we liked and print them out. During classes we viewed many of these to see what it was we liked about them and from this exercise, make an effort to incorporate the things we most liked into our own art and build from there a design for our next piece of fiber art.
Last Saturday I attended a lecture by Leni Weiner called:
She also wrote a series on the subject and you can read it by following these links. Specifically, Leni outlined Ten Things To Think About To Help You Find Your Voice:
1. Quilt what you know.
2. Embrace what you love.
3. Abandon what you dislike.
4. Trust your instincts.
5. Develop your own working style.
6. Decide on your message.
7. Create a thread of continuity.
8. Engage in quiet reflection.
9. Work For Yourself.
10. Expect your voice to change, evolve, grow.
I was most impressed with her honesty about the subject. Leni asserted that, in part, there is an aspect of voice that is market driven. Galleries want to see a consistent style before they want to represent you. Jurists seek out works that are recognisable when they are choosing pieces for exhibition.
And she affirmed my belief that an artist must make a decision about what she wants her work to look like. It’s not simply an innate style that necessarily emerges as if by magic. Now, it may happen for some people that they immediately and consistently work in one style, but I suspect that most of us start out by exploring the many avenues of possibility, which includes practicing a multitude of techniques, before we can even begin to determine how we want to express our own voice or work in a consistent style. (Of course, inherent in this statement is that voice and style are two different concepts, which I acknowledge, but for the most part, when I hear or read about voice, I’m most often hearing or reading about style as well. They are not so easily separable in our common usage.)
In a timely fashion, Elizabeth has updated her views on the subject in a recent blog post: Developing A Style.
As for me, I’ve thrown any angst I ever had about developing my own voice to the wind, favoring to simply enjoy the making of my art.
After the lecture, which was the first part of a VT/NH/Maine SAQA regional meeting. someone took some pics you might want to see. Some are of me with some of my newest pieces of textile art.
So I leave you with lots of links to follow up on packed with good stuff, so go check them out!
It’s Friday again, so I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays, another always interesting blog!