Consistency - Part 1
I am calling this video part 1 of Consistency, because I may address other ideas of consistency for artists in other upcoming videos.
If I had to choose only 1 word to describe the work produced by a professional artist that word would be Consistency. Here I want to talk mostly about consistency in subject matter. I see many amateur artist exhibits in my travels - usually each venue where I teach has an exhibit area. What I typically see is a single artist that may have 4-12 paintings together in a show. The paintings are all of different subject matter, different media and framed with all different frames. The result? It appears that 6-8 different artists produced the work. That is absolutely the last thing you want someone to think when they see your show or exhibit. You should want your work to look professional, consistent and tied together as a single body of work done by an accomplished artist.
You say, "Oh no, I'm an artist, a free-spirit, I can't be pigeon holed into one single thing because I do everything!". I don't want to pigeon hole you into a single subject matter or media. As artists I think we should try lots of things to see what we like then begin to narrow our focus. What I am suggesting is that when you are provided the opportunity of an exhibit, choose ONLY 1 type of subject matter in ONLY 1 medium and if you use framing ONLY 1 type of frame style for all the pieces in the show. This approach gives the public the impression that you have it together, and that you know how to produce a consistent body of work.
The ability to create a consistent body of work over and over and over and over is what separates professional artists from hobbyists. Professional artists tend to narrow their focus to a single type of subject matter and approach to painting, thereby becoming an expert in their field, and often develop a signature style, look or feel in their work.
I was recently in Atlanta teaching and had a couple of free days to gallery hop. I hit all the usual places and at the top of my list, as always is Tew Galleries, Atlanta's best gallery (in my humble opinion). I had the opportunity to have a long chat with the gallery director. In our conversation she said that they are having a difficult time finding good artists today that can create a consistent body of work. She said so many artists are all over the place with their art. Why do you think it is important for a gallery to represent artists that can produce a consistent body of work? Because it is their job to create a collector base around your work. They cannot do that if your work is all over the place and not consistent.
I get emails from students on a regular basis that have taken this advice and followed it to create amazing exhibitions. The results? The exhibitions look amazing, consistent, unified and professional. And they SOLD paintings - some for the first time ever! You can do the same thing. Clear your head, make a plan for a consistent exhibition and create it. Choose 1 type of subject matter, 1 type of media, a single type of presentation (all framed the same or all the same thickness of canvases, etc.) and make it happen. I believe you will be amazed at what you can do and how many sales you can make if you try to be consistent in your work.