So what is artistic voice? I’ve been on this journey for a number of years and knew that, at times, this concept eluded me. About 10 years ago, I determined I wanted to be an artist and just gave myself permission to make art. All sorts of art and craft. I guess you could say my entire life included expressing myself creatively. But was was my “voice?” I knew I didn’t have one and that’s why it felt like a struggle.
In preparation for the show in November, I put myself to task to “cull” my existing art work. One definition of cull is “to reduce the population by selective slaughter.” Oh. yeah! that is what I was doing. It was time to kill off some earlier pieces. You may shriek at this thought, but sometimes you just have to let go.
When I made these pieces a few years ago, I thought I had “found my voice.” Now, looking at them, I’ve realized I moved on. My voice has changed. Recently someone told me that finding our voices is a process of sorting out what is important to us. This includes artistic style and purpose. Artistic voice becomes somewhat of a brand, you see my work and you know it’s mine without me having to tell you.
Preparing for this show in November, I sense my voice getting stronger. I’ve refined my techniques and I’ve also refined my personal message (a message both to myself and my audience). Some of my old work, just isn’t me anymore.
I suspect that in a few years my voice and artwork will look different. As humans, we’re constantly faced with new life experiences. So in response to these experiences, I believe, our artistic voice is in continual movement. Trying to explain this to someone seeking their own voice is difficult. The secret is to be present and do the work. As you grow, it all starts making sense. You’ll have that moment of “ah-ha, there it is! That’s what I’m trying to say.” Just be patient and expect the process to take time.