“…unique, to say the least…”
This is what an artist buddy volunteered about my artwork. All well and good, I suppose. There are countless articles and books written about developing your own, unique, artistic style. Unique is what every artist is after, right?
I know he meant well.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to be unique.
Part of it is that I feel that ‘unique’ has become a throwaway word, like ‘special’.
“Every child is special. What about every adult – isn’t every adult special too? …And if every adult IS special, then that means we’re ALL special and the whole idea loses all its fucking meaning!” –George Carlin
Unique and special is the way you describe the drawing your sugar-infused toddler did with whatever crayons he hadn’t eaten yet. You put it on the fridge, and maybe you genuinely like it, or maybe you’re just tired of trying to teach little Johnny about the rule of thirds.
The other part is that ‘unique’ is just not what I’m after. Don’t get me wrong – I’m OK with being unique. In terms of my art, my writing and my personality, unique is OK.
But at least in terms of my artwork, unique is not my primary goal – it is not what I want to have achieved with my artwork. So if it is unique, it’s accidentally so.
My goal is realism, or at least a pale shade of it (there are exceptions – like that painting). I’m still very young as an artist, and I have very little training in techniques or composition. Most everything I’ve learned has been under my own power and under my own direction, or by pestering better artists to give me tips.
So I’m still working on simply being able to reliably create a drawing that looks like the object I drew. And I don’t feel that I’ve achieved that yet.
To put it as simply as I can, I feel like an original or unique style is somewhere you go after having nailed the basics, which I don’t feel that I have. So I don’t worry about my drawings being too unique or special or original – and when that is their primary attribute, I’ve obviously missed the things I actually was aiming for.
I know it’s just my own hangup. I’ve got a lot of them. People seem to enjoy looking at my artwork when they come across it, and I definitely enjoy creating it, and that’s what really matters, right?
Maybe I should ignore it and just keep on truckin’.
Maybe I should make an effort to develop whatever style or originality I may have accidentally achieved at this point.
Or maybe I should just learn to shut the hell up and accept a compliment.