By Devin Laster
Who Are You?
You may think you know the answer to this question already. But because it’s such an abstract question, there’s a chance it involves an answer that you’ve never truly reached. Who you are as a person will strongly determine who you are as an artist.
If you’ve always painted, photographed, written or danced what the general public demanded, or what was easy to accomplish, or what you learned in college, then it’s quite possible that you’ve never discovered your artistic voice.
What Moves You?
Think about the potentially long list of things that move you to your core: positive or negative. What in our society rattles your mental state? What about human civilization would you desperately like to change? What makes you the happiest to learn while catching up on current events? The answers to these questions can potentially motivate the discovery of your artistic identity.
Take a painter who is an animal rights activist and cares deeply about wildlife, but has only ever done still life paintings of fruits and flowers. Their work may actually be impressive and gallery quality, but if this person channeled their feelings, desires and beliefs through their artistic craft, it could change everything. Not only would this individual discover their artistic identity, but the outcome of their work would inevitably become better.
Who Are You Creating For?
What some artists struggle with when diving into their own personal work is “will someone else like it?” At this point, you have to ask yourself another important question. “who am I creating my art for?” If your prime objective is to make money, then your first concern should be the public and their desires. If you are doing your art for YOU, then the reward you acquire is the feeling of accurately and artistically expressing yourself through your craft.
Another doubt an artist may have when beginning to discover one’s artist identity could be “is my work ‘good?’” This is an understandable question as the artist, to date, may have only created what they know to be considered “good” according to popular demand or what history has shown them. But “good” is such a relative word. There is nothing factual concerning the art we create. The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is absolutely true. The topic at hand isn’t scientific or something that can be calculated. This isn’t 2+2, always having the same result regardless of who solves the equation.
The art you create in your desired medium exists in a world populated with nearly eight billion people who all have different thoughts, feelings, experiences, tastes and so many other elements that separates one person from the next. There is an audience for everything. Your job is to find your audience, but you’ll never discover them until you delve into yourself, execute the work and put it out into the world.
Now that you’ve gone head first into who you are as a person, which translates to who you are as an artist, it’s time to create. Hit the studio to choreograph your new moves, grab your torch to mold that new piece of jewelry, and jump onto a blank canvas to let your hands fly free. It’s time to discover your artistic identity.