Artwork by: Marisa D. Aceves. Figurative Landscape 1. enamel on canvas
Article by: Marisa D. Aceves
It’s true that many artists choose to communicate exclusively in one particular style.
This common practice is often suggested by many an art professor, gallery owner and online art marketing expert.
In fact, they are right (well, in a way); your unique style is your brand.
It distinguishes you from other artists competing for the attention of the same established galleries, but what if after years of creating art in your chosen style, you realize that there is something missing?
When your normal burst of creativity seems unfulfilling, should you dare to consider the possibility of another style or medium?
You know instinctively, that you must succeed in marketing one style of work before you proceed, at least that is what the majority of us are led to believe.
An undeniable fear that often creeps up when considering this possibility is the question of wether the art that you are presently creating will suffer as a result of taking that scary but exciting detour.
I believe the answer depends on your answer to a simple question: Are you self-represented or are you gallery represented?
If you are gallery represented, the gallery where you signed your exclusive agreement may not want or permit you to sell or even create work in any other style than the one you have been producing. Remember that style together with content/subject matter equal brand. The gallery uses your brand to sell your work to specific clients. If the gallery is successful at selling your present brand of work, then they probably won’t share your passion for creating work that is unfamiliar to an established audience. In this case, it becomes a financial issue, as galleries only represent artists whose work they feel they can sell. Many commercial galleries must make a certain amount of sales to stay open. Your work then is only relevant if it remains “recognizable” and “profitable”.
If you are currently represented by a gallery, I would advise you to check with your gallery to be sure that you understand the terms of your contract.
If you represent yourself, you are already becoming aware of the “jack of all trades” juggling act that you face as you have to take on both the advertising and marketing role of a gallery and the creative output of a productive artist.
As a self-represented artist, having to market two different styles of work, poses it’s own unique set of challenges. It means that you have to do twice the amount of advertising work as well as create significant bodies of work in each style.
Whatever choice that you make, whether you seek gallery representation or you decide to represent yourself, if you plan to create in more than one style, do your research.
So should you take on two markedly different styles?