Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Style and Originality

In an earlier post on originality I talked about originality as a byproduct and not something to be sought out for its own sake. As a commentator on that post said, there is a great deal of awful art that has resulted from people desperately trying to be "original."

Another way to think about originality is to think in terms of style. Talking about style seems somehow less intimidating than talking about originality. So I was intrigued by the following statement I found in a recent Art Calendar. The following statement is from an article by Milon Townsend in Art Calendar, Sept. 2007 . "Wholesaling, Part III: The Purpose Driven Artist":

"Style is the natural result of excellence. Style, like happiness, is not attained through a headlong, direct pursuit. Style is an automatic, peripheral benefit of the long-term commitment to a higher good, to a desire to achieve the highest standard personally possible. Artistic style not only is what will make our work recognizable as our own, but is the excellence leading to the result of making our work desirable and inherently valuable."

I'm not sure I agree with the "automatic" part of the statement. I suspect that there are many artists who have struggled for excellence who have not found an identifiable style as a byproduct. On the other hand, there are geniuses in whose early work you can doubtless see glimmers of a personal style. Otherwise, I think what he has to say is much to the point. In fact, I do not see how an artist in any medium can continue in this kind of "long-term commitment" without loving the process he is engaged in. It is, at least in part, the love of the process that I believe must create the drive for excellence that Townsend is talking about.

It takes a child many many years to develop his own unique personality, even though the glimmers of what will be are often present as early as birth. So it is only logical that it will take a weaver many years to develop a style.

Milo Townsend works in glass. He has created books and videos on the art of glass and also on art marketing. To find out more, go to his website.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

I think I'm going to have to re-think my definition of "style." What immediately comes to mind are certain street clothing styles which I would consider anything except original and excellent *lol* Actually it points back to something you said earlier, about committing oneself to extensively studying a particular weave structure. One starts by following the directions and eventually begins to explore on one's own, developing a unique style. If I'm understanding this concept correctly.