Becoming an artist: Lesson 3–Take it personally

Ok, now you are painting, you are convinced that this is the right path, you enjoy doing it and now you are developing your own art… that’s all wonderful, and if you notice it is all about YOU. So what is so unique about you and your art? What is so special in your art and your way of doing art that deserve to be out there and for people to spend time and money with it?

When I started I joined the online community of Art Empowers Me, created by the wonderful team of Cory and Melissa, and they insist in finding your own “uniquity”. This is not an easy question, believe me, and I am still trying to answer it.

Lesson 3 (work in progress)

Take it personally

 

What I’ve realised is that my art is an extension of me. It is what I am and what I believe in. My art shows who I am, there is not filters here, and indeed, this is mostly why I do it. I feel that my art reflect my passion for the good life, for beauty and learning. This is because every project I’ve done I spend a lot of time researching. In Our Garden of Everyday Series I  could paint a flower and that’s all, but it is not enough for me, I want to find out and share what that flower means, what its her history, how we can re-signify and re-value the treasures around us, this beautiful planet in which we live. I have said many times that I want my art to enhance people lives, I agree with Matisse’s in aiming to do an art that “comfort” people, like a comfy armchair embracing the viewer in colours, softness, beauty.

It also shows my passion for sustainability and all things green, and perhaps the botanic paintings are the most obvious example of this passion. While directing the GoGreen Project I’ve said many times that beauty will save the world, and I truly believe in it.

So the question is how to put all these things together in finding my own identity, my own voice, my personalARTy? And why does this matter?

Well, I am going to use a term that may sound odd in this “poetic” context, but perhaps will help me to clarify why is this important. It is all about branding! I want to create something memorable, I want to be recognised as a “Beatriz Acevedo Art” style, I want that people engage with me through my art.  This has two sides, on one hand, it is all about finding this identity, but also, it is clear that people buy from people. It is not always price what makes people buy, perhaps this is the 4th or 5th reason, but it is the emotions that something can create… pride, remembrance, identity, nostalgia, values, beliefs… and this is where is a relationship can grow.

For instance, Apple has a clear identity as a brand: the name is easy and fresh, their products are slick, and apple is synonymous with great technology and design, it is creative! Early this year I decided to have a sort of brand or image: I normally sign with a curly smiley face, thus, this little drawing could be perfectly my “icon”. It refers to drawing, it is friendly and sort of simple.  That’s what I thought this can be my brand.

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This can be applied also in the field of arts. Ann Rae -in one of the abundant artist podcasts- talked about Andy Warhol and his unique celebration of “celebrities”. So how can I find my uniquity?

Well, these are some ways to find that uniquity, or more precisely, to make it “visible”. Here are some that work for me.

What is what I enjoy more of doing art?  Normally what you enjoy more is reflected in your paintings. I love botanical drawings for many reasons as I’ve explained in this blog. I love to investigate what is about plants and gardens, what do they mean. It is not a traditional botanical drawing, indeed, I would prefer call it contemporary botanical design, a way of telling a story.  I love telling stories: as an educator I am aware of how a good story has more impact than all the facts in the world. I can talk about climate change, but it won’t really count if the story is boring. I also enjoy colours. I like playing with a vibrant palette, creating combinations and textures. That’s what I love more. I also like the fact that my art is clear, not terribly messy but slick, and that it has those meanings that relate with ecology, sustainability, conservation.  These are words I can use in the description of my art…

botanical fucsia chilli and fungicolourful, botanical design, cheerful, vibrant, eco-art,

Ask somebody about your art? This is a very nice exercise because others can see more things than you can possibly do. I asked my gallerist Emmeline Webb about a short statement about my art. She kindly gave it to me and mention issues as a “cheerful” “energetic” and “colourful” art.  I also asked my coach Dawn Jordan, who came with ideas such as “humorous”, “colourful”, “vibrant”. And so on… I think this is a very good exercise that has helped me a lot to see things in my art that I normally take for granted.

By the way, please leave your comments about my art, I appreciate that very much!!!

Give interviews.  This is an excellent exercise, even if these are friendly interviews. For my first exhibition I had a little film explaining what was the exhibition about. To be able to put in words why I did this exhibition and what I wanted to say through it was very helpful. At the end it was articulate and clear and helped me to see more about my art. Later in the year I’ve been doing this same exercise with my fellow artists: I think we can share a lot about our work in relation to simple questions: (1) take me through your art; (2) where do you get your inspiration from; (3) what is next in your art.  With these questions I think it is possible to have a good idea of your uniquity, also it is good from time to time just to stop and reflect.

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Cherish your art. I think that it may obvious but sometimes we think that what we do is “easy to do”… I mean, the fact that we enjoy it and that somehow we are trained to do it, does not imply that it is not special. All the oppossite. As female artists and as women in general we tend to overdo the “self-deprecation”. If somebody compliment on my dress, sometimes I get apologetic and say that I bought it in a charity shop… why not just to accept the compliment. The same with my art, so many people say that they love it, and somehow I remain insecure, apologetic… well, I am sure that people do not really need to lie… and indeed many of my friends are too honest and say whether they like it or not! So that’s something to consider. Of course, it is good to keep oneself pushing and pushing, but there is also times just to cherish and be so happy to what I’ve done!

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I am my best art subject!

So what is next? I think that I am still working on what exactly makes me unique. Once I have some sort of clarity I need to shout about it, I guess, put it in the website, the blog, the cards, and also to work with my strengths rather than my weaknesses… watch this space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Becoming an artist: Lesson 3–Take it personally

  1. This is lovely. I think that sometimes we think that it is not quite ‘nice’ to think in business terms about art, but the brand has always been a stamp of identity – even when it was about marking capital. I think that you are right that it is worth spending time trying to think what is the essence of your work. But I sort of hope that you can never quite explain it away – or you wouldn’t need to do it!

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