Differentiate Your Art
I'm a big fan of the TV show "Seinfeld" that ran for 9 seasons, from 1989 to 1998. There is an episode about "doing the opposite" that is one of my favorites. There is a scene in the episode where the main characters are sitting in the coffee shop (OK, in most of the episodes they're sitting in the coffee shop, but hang with me here) and one of the characters, George is in a very depressed mood. Mainly because he has no job, no girlfriend and is living with his parents.
Jerry Seinfeld suggests to George that since all of the decisions he has made in his life lead to his current situation, maybe he should think about "doing the opposite" of what he would usually do. Well, George tried doing the opposite and things began to turn around for him, at least briefly.
Doing the Opposite is an approach I have embraced to help set my work, and my approach to making work, apart from others. When I started painting abstracts I looked at what others were doing. They were mostly painting in muted colors and values, so I decided I would do the opposite and paint with vibrant colors and rich values. Most were painting with a multi-layered approach putting layer atop layer atop layer. I'm a bit impatient for that so I decided to paint my pieces all at once. Others were painting slow and laborious, so I decided to paint fast to keep analysis at bay and paint from my heart. In teaching, most were focusing on teaching techniques: here's how to paint a cloud or a tree or a rock, or here's how to use inks, or fluid acrylics, or metal additives or whatever. That, to me is the same as giving someone a fish when they're hungry - it won't help them be a better painter. I decided to focus on the fundamentals of painting, instead providing students with the ability to fish, thus sustaining them long term and making them better painters. Lots of painters in their videos were doing time-lapse videos of them painting (I really dislike those). I decided to talk about subjects that you need to know to build a brand and be a successful artist in the 21st century. In all these cases, I opted for "doing the opposite."
Taking the opposite approach has helped distinguish me and my work from what many others are doing. Today that is a must with all of the millions of "artists" (I prefer to be called a painter) out there. Somehow, to get noticed in the sea of sameness, you have to do things differently. But, being different just to be different doesn't matter much if you are not being you. There is only one You, and You have been given a special gift(s) to use like only You can. The key is to find the real You and let it come out in all you do. When you do that, you are being authentic and real. The more you can use the real You to differentiate yourself, the more successful you will be.
Doing the opposite may give you a place to start like it did for me. Ultimately though, bringing forth the real You is the best way to differentiate you and your work from the pack.
If you'd like to learn how to paint like You, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2018 workshops HERE)
- June 6-9 Peninsula School of Art, Door County, WI. To register contact Elysia Michaelson: firstname.lastname@example.org. See Details Here.
- June 25-27 Associated Artists of Southport, Southport, NC. To register contact Nancy Schulte: email@example.com.
- July 13-14 Art Alliance of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. To register contact Liz Busch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- July 27-29 Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, CO. To register contact Haley Van Camp: email@example.com.
- August 8-10 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.
As always, thanks so much for your support!
P.S. If you you'd like to learn more about the basics of painting design, Design Fundamentals for the Artist is my online course:
Design Fundamentals for the Artist will provide you with a firm foundation on which to build all of your art making activities. For Information Click Here.
Price Reduced $50 through June!