Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finding your voice...artistically

Regality by Dawn Blair (me)

I think a lot about this topic, because so many people talk about how my work has a certain identifiable look that is mine. I often hear things like, "I wish I had my own style", or "How do I develop my own look". People want to know what my secret is. Well, here it is. There is no secret.This is how my look happened for me, and I believe can happen for anyone. I spend a lot of time looking at what others are making. But not wire workers necessarily. I find it very important to feed my mind with the richness of nature, and with art forms of all kinds. Inspiration 1- Vifilfell Errupting by Orvaratli on Flickr

I don't seek to make this particular thing or that. When I sit down to work, it is always my goal to explore my medium more than I did on the last piece I made. I believe my look has developed out of proficiency with the materials and tools I work with. I don't look at a piece someone else has made and say, "Gee, I wish I could make that". It is more of a question of wanting to know what skill made it possible for that artist to create it. I think it is important to develop a "vocabulary" of skills within your medium before you can express what you want to say in your designs.Inspiration 2- PixilexiP by Xose Zalgado on Flickr

Developing your own artistic voice requires time and commitment to learning processes and learning the limitations of your working materials. It requires practice, so that the "look" that becomes your look isn't the result of not being able to do this or that. Your look should result from wanting to keep doing those processes that you enjoy the most, and the prep work necessary to support what you really love doing the most. It is when we are mindful to pay attention while we are working, creating each piece, that we can observe our skills and seek to improve them, or realize that this part or that really isn't something that will bring personal joy in the process. If there are too many parts to the process that you don't enjoy, then maybe exploration in other mediums is needed. Ask yourself, "Why did I start working in wire to begin with", "What was the initial draw?", "Why have I stuck with it?", "Do I truly love working with wire?" Answer these questions in whatever medium you are working, and answer them honestly. This will be very enlightening. Maybe this will confirm that you just need to get focused, or maybe you will realize you need to try other mediums.It takes time to develop your own artistic voice. It is about practice, practice, practice..... and adding to those skills a little something here or a little something there. Making small changes as you get better and better at your art form. Never a giant leap. With me, it is developing a new weave, using the weave in a different place in my design, adding beads in a different way or a different place, using less or omitting materials for effect, using different colors or gauges of wires. It is usually only ONE of these various things I choose to focus on per piece. This keeps my look very consistent. I use the skills I have the way my own eye finds pleasing, then add a new element to that. It is not about how many skills you have, but rather what you do with the skills you have. The beauty of making changes gradually is that you can look back and see exactly where you used this or that technique for the first time. I helps to be able to see a clear chronology in the development of your skills, and often makes it more clear the direction that might be best as a "next step". Inspiration 3- Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly by Sienna62 on Flickr

I hope this has given everyone some food for thought. It is not difficult to find your own artistic voice, but it does require mindfulness and focus....and most of all a commitment to spending the time exploring the properties and limits of the materials and tools with which you are working. I created the above piece for my grandmother using a technique I had never used before to make the bezel. It was tedious for me because I had to count how many times I wrapped the wire around for every little section. I may not do this again so soon, but I took the time to try it and now have the skill to create another bezel using the technique. It is all about trying. I started the bezel three times before I came up with a pattern I liked enough to spend six hours on. It was worth it, as you can see...

6 comments:

WonderfulWire said...

Thank you Dawn... very insightful,thoughtful and encouraging post!

Two_Claws said...

I really like what you have to say here, sweetie.....you're gradually getting me to actively start to explore more deeply into my own creative process.....beyond the fear that not making something beautiful will cause a delay in my mortgage payment!

abc said...

nice....................................................................................................

Jen in KS said...

This is one of my favorite posts so far...and one of my favorite pieces. Beautiful.

Dawn said...

Thanks guys! It is a topic I think about on a regular basis. I always hope that someone will read one of these little articles and be helped by it. I learn so much for the things bloggers write about. These are also like "place markers", so I can remember what I was thinking about during the time span I was creating whatever I was creating.

Mary said...
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