Developing Your Artistic Point of View
What makes a great artist? Talent? Knowledge? Experience? Skill? No. Those things might be important, but what makes an artist stand out above the rest is much simpler…..they love what they do and they know exactly why they do it.
Every great artist, visual, performing, musical or otherwise, has developed his or her point of view. They understand the direction of their work; that direction appears in everything they do. That may sound confusing but developing a point of view is as simple as deciding what’s important, eliminating what isn’t, and letting that guide you. Plainly put, you have to develop your own artistic point of view.
I’d love to give you a cookie-cutter formula to navigating the art world. The truth is there is no such formula. You’ll learn, as many do, that a one-size-fits all approach to art doesn’t exist. Art doesn’t work that way. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something, doesn’t understand, or not being honest. There’s no map. But this website will give you a compass. Start by figuring out what’s most important to you. Think long and hard. Think honestly. When you narrow this down, you’ll understand your direction, i.e. your next move.
Chances are you already have a point of view you just didn’t realize. Can it be found in your past work or ideas? Make a list of your current philosophies, thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Next, break that down into its barest form. This could be a long process, but the words and phrases you end up with will be the most valuable insight you’ll ever have. In fact, this information will be infinitely more important than most of the things you’ve ever learned. An understanding of your creative vision will take form. Some artists are born with this vision. Honestly, I think it’s an understanding that takes practices, an understanding that will evolve, and an understanding that will continue to teach you. Learn from it.
The best artists can evoke strong emotion or thought with their work. They can create a meaningful composition with simple subjects; it’s very deliberate or sometimes accidental. Either way, it comes from understanding their own artistic point of view: of the piece and/or a whole body of work. How do you get there? Start by studying another artist’s point of view, not for the sake of imitation, for the sake of connecting to understand what resonates with you.
Every point of view is probably basic, and it should be. No matter how concrete, your POV should be flexible. Be sensitive to experience, curiosity, industry, religion, politics, nature, culture, and human interaction. In other words, be open to influence. There are only three requirements: an open mind, an open heart, and an open mouth.
In short: Engage with every opportunity and possibility. Think twice before you commit. Don’t hesitate after commitment. Follow decisions to their conclusion. Then, you’ll develop a POV that will make you an artist that stands out above all others. You’ll learn to be more daring and open to creative opportunities. You’ll be an artist with purpose. You’ll notice less and less creative blocks. You’ll be recognizable by your work before anyone reads a label. Most importantly, you’ll ‘train’ an audience to wait anxiously for your next piece or engage in their own discussions of meaning in your work. This, my friends, is the base to building loyal followers, fans, and…collectors.
Theory? No. It works.