Caffe Trieste was crammed with people when we went to sketch and listen to the wonderful Randy Craig Trio—probably double the little café’s legal limit. The title of the post: “Your Style is a Mistake…” comes from a Robert Genn quote that I noted in my journal below:
How to Find Your Style as an Artist
In an interview, Robert Genn was asked, “How does an artist find their own style?” His answer was brilliant. He said (paraphrased here) that typically what makes your style yours, what makes it unique, is the thing you do “wrong;” it is the way you break the rules intentionally or just don’t do something “correctly” that defines your style.
In other words (mine), quit hating and start embracing those wonky lines that won’t behave, that paint applied differently than those artists you aspire to emulate or the hard edges or soft focus or pale washes… Keep studying and learning and practicing, but appreciate what you can do now and cherish those quirks. (Talking to myself here!)
You don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful and neither does your art. As a matter of fact, “perfect” art (in my opinion) is boring art.
When you make mistakes, think about how you’ll do it differently next time, but also look for the bit that worked even if it’s just a small passage. For example in the sketch above, the music stand didn’t work at all, nor did the singer I cropped off on the right, but I did a much better job with the guitar this time than I did last time I sketched at Trieste.
6 replies on “Is Your Style a Mistake? How to Find Your Style as an Artist”
But Jana, what if “perfect” is one’s style?? And isn’t Robert Genn just brilliant? He is so succinct, pithy and poetic, practical, and just interesting!
Hmmm. That’s a great question. Do you know anyone who believes their work is perfect? That’s probably the mistake that makes their work unique too. I don’t think I’ve ever done *anything *perfectly![?] Jana
You write that you are talking to yourself when you say “appreciate what you can do now and cherish those quirks” but you certainly are talking to the rest of us, too. Thanks for this great post. I’ll go back and embrace some of my wonky lines. And keep on learning more and practicing more, too. Love your blog and look forward to following you!
I agree with Katherine, thanks for the encouragement!
What sound and happy advice! We can just do what we do, learning, thinking and finding our own personalities in art — works for me!
Fabulous thoughts. I agree “perfect” is boring. Lovve this guitar