Having spent many years in art galleries, and a lifetime in the arts I thought I would share some of the shifts in art and meaning, threads I have followed over the years.
In art galleries, there is a real push for modern abstract art. In graphic-commercial arts, there is a push for coloring book, fill in the blanks illustration, realistic or hyper-real illustration. And of course these line cross and fold in together. But many artists are offering book illustrations that are delightful and beautifully rendered, and they are successful in book & commercial arts fields....so many others copy these illustrators.
This becomes a second and third level of copies of copies, and in this modge-podge mix there is no originality and blander creativity. We see these levels every single day. Just peruse facebook and instagram art feeds.
Perhaps you are in this dance of thinking someone else is a better artist than you are and are trying to "copy" another artists style. The thing is, derivative art, is not only Not original, it lacks essential essence, the Vim, Verve, LifeForce of original creative endeavor.
Original: innovative, creative, imaginative, inventive; new, novel, fresh, refreshing; unusual, unconventional, unorthodox, groundbreaking, pioneering, avant-garde, cutting-edge, unique, distinctive.
We know when we create something original fresh and we are lifted, sometimes ecstatic about something really New, Original Fresh, it can feel like a gift given to us from the ART Gods & Goddess'. We can't keep our eyes off our (Our?) new creation and we can wander over and look again and again at the canvas, painting, drawing, color-work, quilt, jewelry, whatever creative project we are engaged in.
It's better to fail in Originality than to succeed in Imitation.
- Herman Melville
It can be very scary to face a blank page, just you and it. And learning to trust your essential self, means you have to first find your essential self, and this can be a can of worms. And learning to discover when your essential self is moving through you and when it's not, comes with practice. We may know it when we are in the creative flow, but we might not know how to access it again.
Discovering your essential self, means willingness to fail over and over, to attempt each time we come to the page, (writing, painting, sewing, designing etc. ) That means lots of pages, sketch books, canvas', journals of us exploring the creative process as we try to identify and enjoy that marvelous creative flow.
Now this Discovering Creative Flow, is separate from every artist's schooling in the learning how to draw, taking classes on painting etc. sculpting, all the tools of the artists craft.
And of course, authentic creative flow is not a download, nor can we push a button and instant ju-ju! But if we pay attention, we can trace those hidden pathways that suddenly surface when we are paying attention to nuance, or when we allow ourselves to let go and journey into the art creation fearlessly.
There is nothing like getting to know, understand, develop and use your creative energy in playful authentic and original ways. When You Know, This is It! There is a world of difference from creating What You Think Others will Like, or Things that Will Sell, or puts your Art in the membership of the IN Club. I encourage you to start or re-engage with discovering your voice, your colors, your choices in the possibilities of following your art-bliss and becoming who you are meant to be as a artist creating out of the interior heart space.