What defines you as an artist? Is it the short poetry you write about random objects? Is it the monochromatic shades you use to define a mood around the subject of a painting? Do you use dance to show the fluid motions of air and water in human form? Or do you design websites that stun with only beautifully-chosen fonts on the page?
No matter what art you choose to do, if you try to stray too far from the things you love to do most, you will find yourself easily running out of steam. Stretching your creativity too far, into things you don’t particularly like creating or thinking about, will inevitably lead to the well of creativity drying up for a while.
Making “Fresh” Art Doesn’t Mean Trying to Be Someone Else
Artists should not be bullied into doing art that isn’t natural for them. Take a musical artist who is encouraged to “find a new sound” because his/her old sound is “tired.” If that “new sound” differs too much, the musician may not feel as connected to his/her music as before, leading to a less inspired sound. The same could happen to a painter who is told he/she needs to change the style and approach to painting–too far away from the natural style, and the subsequent paintings could end up looking and feeling like so much tripe.
Trying new things in art is great–it stretches your creative “wings,” and can allow you to become a better and more experienced artist. But that evolution and exploration must be a natural process. Artistic style evolution cannot be forced along by anyone’s good intentions, not even our own.
Art: A Growing Process, Not a Personality Change
For instance, I’m a little bit different composer and poet than I used to be. I used to write long tirades of poems going on about my inner life, school, and the junk I was going through; now, I write shorter poems about the life going on AROUND me. I used to write huge, long piano solos, and now I write piano/vocal music, mainly Christian in theme.
And yet, this evolution was not forced. It happened gradually as I grew up. No one shouted over my shoulder and told me I “shouldn’t be writing this way” or “shouldn’t make music like that.” I was allowed to grow as an artist naturally, by both my parents and my musical instructors, and I feel that this made me a much more balanced experienced artist later.
Experiment With and Explore Your Chosen Art, but Stay True to Self, Too
As artists, and as friends of artists, we have to be similarly supportive and understanding of our own works as well as others’. Being creative means we allow ourselves to try new things without fear of rejection, either self-rejection or others’ rejection, just to see if it works. Heck, at least half the art I do starts out as a silly experiment, something along the lines of “Hey, never tried this, wonder if it works? Ah, what the hey, give it a shot.”
But we should never pursue “different” and “new” art so far that it becomes alien to what we believe in and what we love. I cannot compromise my taste for symmetry, lovely blended shadows, and flowing, lyrical melodies, not even long enough to make a little money, because if I tried my hand at sharp, angular, and irregular art, it would feel fake. It isn’t my style, and it would show.
So, even though the sharp, the angular, and the irregular modern art are “all the rage” these days, I stick to what I love and what I can do best. I may never shock anybody or create headlines with my music and my writing, but since it is in my natural style, it will be better art.
Your art is your own, and don’t worry about it not being “the current style” or “what anybody’s looking for.” Create it first for yourself, to reflect your own tastes, and you might just find more people drawn to it for its authenticity.