Try to connect with what you really like both in subject matter and in esthetics.

That usually means accepting things about yourself both as a person and as an artist that you think you don't like or the world doesn't like.


Back in the late sixties and early seventies when I was still trying to figure out how to connect with my most creative self I finally allowed myself to realize I hated the whole style of psychedelic illustration that was dominant then: bright color achieved with Dr. Martin's dyes and big, aggressive shapes.


I decided to accept my natural love of subtle colors and smaller shapes within my compositions.


People thought I was a little crazy to begin to work in watercolors, a medium that many considered to be the old fashioned choice of Sunday painters creating wan still-lifes of flowers, and to expect my audience to be interested in smaller figures in a picture. How could the color in my work compete in the marketplace against the drama of bright, bold psychedelic images painted in Dr. Martin's dyes, or against the big heads that most illustrators were producing? Well, of course, what often happens when somebody decides to go against the grain, happened to me. My work was noticed just because it was different. AND, of course, I could draw, conceptualize, compose, handle the watercolor and understand the assignment well enough to challenge the expectations in interesting ways.


The style of one's work, I don't think is every really resolved. For me, at least, it's an ongoing struggle to find a way to deal with subject matterand to reach my real opinion about what the assignment confronts me with.


I think I've paid a price in being willing to take on more subjects than perhaps I should have. But, somehow or other, I have found among all my assignments, work that suited me and in which i have been able to show my stronger self as an artist.


Posted by michael at 11:02 AM Link to this post
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