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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?

Gallery Representation

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.

Self-Representation 

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?

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2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two YOUs: Should You Create Art In More Than One Style?

  1. I would absolutely die of boredom if I had to choose only one of my styles…..people recognize my work for my “essence” even in different styles. I understand why some artists choose to stick to one style, but my mind goes a million miles a second and there is just no way that I could.

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    1. I am so glad to hear that you have the confidence and creativity to venture out into new and exciting territory. I personally have felt the same way for many years, even though the majority of my work tends to have a science theme. Often we are told throughout our education that there is only one way to do things, but I am finding out as time progresses that is not necessarily the case. Thank you for the great feedback!

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