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Finding Your Own Artistic Voice

Finding Your Own Artistic Voice

Eric Maisel

4. Completing for the sake of progress

When you make new work that you think is aiming you in the direction of your genuine voice, try to complete that work rather than stopping midway because “it doesn’t look right” or “it isn’t working out.” You will make more progress if you push through those feelings, complete things, and only then appraise them. It is natural that work that is new to you and a stretch for you may provoke all sorts of uncomfortable feelings as you attempt it. Help yourself tolerate those feelings by reminding yourself that finishing is a key to progress.

5. Thinking about positioning

You may want to develop your voice independent of art trends and say exactly what you want to say in exactly the ways that you want to say it. Or it may serve you to take an interest in what’s going on and make strategic decisions about how you want to position yourself vis-à-vis the world of “hot artists,” galleries, collectors, exhibitions, auctions, movements, and so on. It isn’t so much that one way is right and the other wrong but rather that some marriage of the two, if you can pull it off, may serve you best: some marriage, that is, of the intensely personal and marketplace strategizing.

6. Articulating what you’re attempting

Artists are often of two minds as to whether they want to verbally describe what they’re visually attempting. The paraphrase of a visual experience into a verbal “artist’s statement” often feels unconvincing and beside the point. On the other hand, it can prove quite useful to announce to yourself what you hope to accomplish with your new work. By trying to put your next efforts into words, you may clarify your intentions and as a consequence more strongly value your efforts.

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