Finding Your Style – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 34
June 15, 2022
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
One of the most common questions I get about the art-making journey is centered around style. How do you find your unique style? The challenge with art-making is that it’s so personal, yet we can only look at other people to try and understand where we haven’t been. We see the individual creative flare of artists like Picasso and Van Gogh, but it’s often difficult to see it in ourselves. Join me for a deep-dive into how we find our style as artists and its role in our art practice.
Listen if you are interested in…
- What is style? [2:50]
- Finding what makes you feel alive [4:23]
- Why you can’t plan for an art career [8:01]
- Diving into the process of art-making and why style comes second to the journey [12:05]
- Reflecting on the early stages of the art journey [20:50]
- The benefits of not knowing what you’re doing [23:16]
- What part of you is under construction? [27:23]
- The role of playing in style [31:00]
- The art that everyone wants to buy [35:24]
Lean in to the gigantic question mark
When we begin this thing called art-making, it can feel like a gigantic question mark. We have absolutely no idea where we’re going or how to get there, but we’re excited for the adventure. The best way to start an art journey is by making it a personal one. On a recent episode with Scott Picard, we spoke all about asking ourselves the right questions to go past our minds and egos into the unknown. And it’s in the unknown we find the best version of our art and ourselves! So it’s safe to say that rather than trying to know all of the answers, we need to lean into that giant question mark to discover who we are as artists.
One of the most personal aspects of being an artist is our style. It has little to do with whether we’re abstract or figurative, but rather how we move along the creative path. It’s all about what draws us in and moves us to create. Artistic style develops as a part of the journey because the more authentic we are, the better our art becomes. As you progress, the work becomes more and more your own and its look and feel will be unique because there is no one exactly like you on the planet!
Throw out your planner
You can’t plan an art career. Period. Sure, you can and should have goals, but at the end of the day the only way to be an artist is to do it. When it comes to style, so many people try to figure out theirs before even making something of their own. Before they’ve even felt the warmth of their own creative fire burning within. Art is not a traditional career path. There is no “Five Year Plan” for it. There’s barely a one-month plan, if we’re honest. And you can’t just copy someone else’s answers! You can maybe copy their style temporarily, but it won’t stick because it’s not the right fit for you. It won’t fill you up or make you feel alive. And as a result, your art will lack the energy that makes other people feel alive too.
Create a chain reaction
The first step to honing your style is finding what makes you feel alive. What is it for you that gives you life and energy daily? For me, it’s things like running or admiring all the colors at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It could literally be anything, as long as it lights you up inside. It’s also not something that someone else can necessarily hand to you. You have to experience it for yourself and then decide to pursue it.
Another way to phrase this is to find what stokes your creative fire. I believe our best and most personal art comes from the overflow of that fire. Inspiration is just extra energy left over from feeling alive. All of that energy creates a chain reaction called creativity, which we use to make our art. That’s why our work suffers when we’re bored or stuck at a dead-end job. Those things suck all the life out of the room and our creative fire gets snuffed. If you’re serious about art, you have to optimize your life in a way that fills it with what makes you feel alive. The result is limitless creativity. Check out this episode for more insights on finding your style!
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.