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Moving from the world of animation into fine arts has its own unique struggle. Most people will never realize just how big of an adjustment it can be.
Working For Others Versus Making Your Own Decisions
I have often concluded that animation was my strength.
In animation, someone else determines the subject, the mood of the scene, etc. They have a vision for what they want to accomplish, and it is my job to execute that. No struggle there!
Now, it certainly requires skill to take someone else’s vision and really bring it to life.
My job is to determine how to give emotion to the scene. To know exactly what it takes to capture the essence of the desired affect, and translate that desired affect with paints, tone, mood, drama!
So moving from ‘I’m good at capturing and translating another persons vision’ to being the one to determine what that scene, subject, and vision should be. Well surprisingly that has thrown me for a loop. I’ve worked for others for so long, that it becomes difficult to determine what I want to do.
Never would I have thought choosing your own subject and emotion could be a challenge. Moving from fulfilling a company’s commission to determining my own direction. Suddenly my income relies on choosing subject matter that captures the interest of potential buyers. It’s a whole new frightening ballgame…
Being Limited In Fine Art
You wouldn’t imagine that fine art could potentially be limiting in any way.
You have the freedom to paint what you like, whatever captures your imagination…right?
Well consider this: I like that animation pushes me in terms of emotion and versatility…for example, if were asked to paint a war scene on Mars; you want to make it raw, scary, you want to push the viewer to feel the emotion of the scene.
Unless you are in fantasy art or are an illustrator, when will you ever need to paint a Mars war scene? Or even evoke the obvious emotions to depicts this scene?
In animation you have to be versatile to paint whatever scene they throw at you, and be excellent at it.
Coming out of animation where the spectrum was so broad, into fine art has actually narrowed the subject matter I paint.
And Then There Was Marketing…
Then to top it all off, as artists we are told we have to find a niche and stick to it to be successful at marketing ourselves.
It would appear the most lucrative artists have found a niche that needed to be filled. Even the artists that are successful small business owners seem to operate within a highly marketable look within their niche. And while there are several trending niches, it has to be one that “IS” trending otherwise you are left struggling as a business.
It’s all about honing that one ‘look’ or ‘style’ that infuses all your artwork and causes people to recognize your paintings anywhere. We call it branding, and that can be even more challenging to the mind of an artist.
I certainly don’t think in terms of where the market is when I am moved to paint a subject.
Sticking To Your Niche, Staying In Your Lane
This is such a struggle for me. I don’t like to be backed into a corner, or narrowed by anything. If I choose to stretch my skill and paint a representational piece with a ton of intricate detail, I want to be able to do it. Then if the next day I want to do a piece that is more impressionistic, why can’t I? Say I want to capture the essence of a design-rich subject matter that is Victorian in style, but the next week paint something that is fluid and abstract?
It turns out that finding your signature style is key to marketing yourself as an artist. If you are all over the place in style, you aren’t branding your company well.
Finding Your Signature Look
Perhaps not every artist has this struggle, but I find myself vacillating.
I look at the style of one artist, and I love it. I look at another, and I love it too. How can I figure out my style or look when I love such a wide variety of works? Below is just a small sampling of that.
I suppose what I’m really loving is the craftsmanship of the artist.
I have to ask myself, what distinguishes me as an artist? Can I vary my subject matter and still maintain a signature look? Can I operate within what is popular in the market and still be true to myself?
I would love to hear your thoughts to this dilemma. Have you succumb or overcome? Why or how did you?