One of the things galleries look for when assessing an artist is whether they have a recognizable look. When paging through a portfolio, they want to feel a sense of continuity and a coherent style.
There are a lot of great pastel artists in Atlanta but whenever I see Evelyn Breit’s work, I know it is hers. She does a great job of marketing herself and it seems like I keep seeing her pieces everywhere around town. This is what many artists strive for.
When I started doing my macro photography-inspired flower paintings, I felt like I was doing something new and different. I’ve since seen some other artists that are in the same realm (although, never quite the same). I also started to realize that my work is caught between contemporary and traditional realism. An artist friend gave me the advice to push the boundaries a bit further toward contemporary. I needed to define my own style even more. This led me toward adding more open expanses of color with a smaller distinct area of detailed focus. I’m enjoying exploring this angle and hoping that galleries and collectors will too.
What can you do to make your work unique? Another entrepreneurial friend of mine pointed out that anyone in the South would be likely to recognize the work of George Rodrique…or the Blue Dog artist. Collectors buy up his simple but charming pieces and there is no mistaking it.
If you don’t want to stick to painting one subject…like dogs or cows…every day, there are other ways to make your work more distinctive. One artist I know always uses a sharp red and teal in her compositions, no matter what it is. Another has started creating painted frames around the scenes that blend in and out. Others use a set pallet of distinctive colors so that whether they are painting a still life or a landscape, they’ll all look like a set.
Have you defined your work enough? Do you have a signature element? Can you push the limits of your creativity a little further and find that thing that will set you apart?