February 25, 2009

An artist's style


I really wonder what's behind an artist's style. There are artists (like Kandinsky) who changed their style considerably during their lifetime; others (like Dalí) had different styles at the same time. Not so long ago, I read about an artist who revealed a different style during a holiday where he came to other insights, surrounded by other landscapes and colours. He wrote that when he came back , he "returned to the style he was known for"...I thought about that sentence a long time, maybe I was almost shocked...Did that possibly mean that a published artist had suddenly no more possibility to grow further, only to meet the taste of an audience who expected a certain style from him? - In the visitor's book of another artist's website I read an interesting comment, concerning the same problem. The man wrote: "Your recent work is very well done, although I prefer the style in which you painted five years ago." This means that if you are an established, well-known artist, you have created something like a brand with your work. From then on, it is extremely difficult to change your style as it pleases you without disappointing the expectations of your buyers.
Ich frage mich, was es mit dem "Stil" eines Künstlers auf sich hat. Es gibt Künstler (wie Kandinsky), die ihren Stil im Laufe ihres Lebens beträchtlich geändert haben; andere (wie Dalí) hatten verschiedene Stile zur gleichen Zeit. Vor einiger Zeit las ich über einen Künstler, der einen anderen Stil während eines Urlaubs gefunden hatte, in dem er von anderen Landschaften und Farben umgeben war. Als er wieder nach Hause kam, schrieb er, daß er "wieder zu dem Stil zurückkehrte, den die Leute von ihm erwarteten."Ich habe über diesen Satz lange nachgedacht, ich war, fast könnte man sagen, schockiert. Sollte das vielleicht bedeuten, daß ein etablierter Künstler sich nicht mehr weiterentwickeln durfte, nur um den Geschmack eines Publikums zu befriedigen, das einen ganz bestimmten Stil von ihm erwartete?- Im Gästebuch einer Website eines anderen Künstlers las ich diesbezüglich folgenden, interessanten Kommentar: Der Mann schrieb: "Ihre letzten Arbeiten sind sehr gut gemacht, obwohl ich persönlich den Stil bevorzuge, in dem Sie Ihre Bilder vor fünf Jahren gemalt haben." Das bedeutet unzweifelhaft, daß ein etablierter Künstler mit seinem Werk so etwas wie eine Marke schafft. Von diesem Zeitpunkt an ist es extrem schwierig, seinen Stil zu verändern, ohne die Erwartungen der Käufer zu enttäuschen.

5 comments:

Britt-Arnhild said...

Very interesting reflections Claudia.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Its good you have broached this eternal problem - paint for your public (and sales) or for yourself. I often use different methods of painting and different media, as I am sure we all do, but it led to my downfall a few years back when a gallery curator looked through my portfolio and said disparagingly 'looks like there are 4 different artists' works here' and on the strength of that decided not to hang my work as he said he wanted his clients to know what they would get with a 'Sandford-Cook'. !!! How stagnant can you get.

Claudia said...

Thank you both for your contribution; that's exactly the problem...

hedda said...

Good Morning Claudia,
Your reflections remind me of what great muscians/artists have said...That the audience always wants to hear the old stuff and are not interested in the new. However, great muscians are always re-inventing themselves. Think of the BEATLES.
As an aside, I see you like Chuck Mangione. Moi too!!
Hx

africantapestry said...

A lovely snow painting Claudia and very much done in "your Style". I actually think of style more in terms of who we are. Everyone paintsdraws, makes musique/writes in only his own uniqe way, even imitations will wear his/her stamp. And that is waht an artist should stay true to,his own uniqueness, which involves growth and change,in spite of an audience/buyers so fixated on "style". thanks for these reflections.
ronell