As an artist you have the opportunity to create your own unique stamp on the world. This is the artist’s voice and it’s a mixture of message, style, and technique. Everyone has a different process for finding his voice. It’s not something you can simply learn through books or study. It requires you to pull from deep inside yourself to find what moves you and to express that through what you create. Here are some important tips to help you find your artistic voice.
We all want to “fit in”. It’s human nature to want to be accepted and loved by our peers. But when it comes to being creative, we have to find a unique style – one that is true to ourselves and our creativity. Not just because this is where we’re most likely to produce our best work but because we need to stand out and be defined and recognised by our style.
The process of finding your voice is like uncovering your own superpower. Your artistic voice is what sets you apart and, ultimately, what makes your work interesting, distinctive, worthy of discourse, and desired by others. No matter your medium or genre, having your own voice is the holy grail.
You can’t copy others; only be inspired. You have to ignore what other people are doing and listen to your heart. So how do you find it? How do you avoid conformity? This is a process that only you can go through. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.
Understand that finding your voice helps you to survive
If you have, or aspire to have, a career as a professional artist, your voice is going to be your very best friend in that endeavor. While having a strong artistic voice alone doesn’t ensure professional success (things like your desire and your ability to work hard to promote your work, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time also matter), your voice is a necessary element toward sustaining your artistic career. It’s what sets you apart from other artists, which allows others to connect with your work and to find enough value in it to purchase it or pay you to make more of it.
If you want to be professional and enjoy ongoing commercial success, then you have to rely on this cycle over and over again. Demand for your work is essential to sustain a career, and a strong voice is an essential element in the formula for the sustainability of a professional career. The stronger and more distinct your artistic voice, the more likely you will seize opportunities.
Consider your story
Your creative voice is your superpower. When you have developed your voice, you have the power to create – even under pressure – along with the power to influence others and the range and flexibility to express your own point of view with dexterity.
But it’s more than that. Your voice is your story and your story matters. That’s because you need to connect with your audience. Your creativity has to have ‘meaning’ that people can relate to. It’s also about expressing who you are to the world: One of the greatest things about making art – and about finding your voice as an artist – is that it gives you a channel to release what’s inside of you.
For your own story, what could you draw upon? Is it; Love, regrets, truths, obsessions, identity, culture, lessons, memories, differences, morals? – these are just some ideas to help you get started.
Create art for yourself
This is about creating work that reflects the core of who you are and the colours and aesthetic that you love. The marketing side of your business means that it is good to consider your audience and what they will like, but before you think of selling you need to consider yourself first.
What sets your heart of fire, what makes a piece of work uniquely yours? The “why” behind what you are creating.
Find what inspires you
Ok so this sounds like a really obvious statement but how many times do you have a flash of inspiration, only for it to vanish?
The power of a creative journal, a notebook or something you record on your phone, means that you will never loose these flashes of inspiration. The things you are drawn to, that inspire you to create, that feed the fuel of your own voice.
Ignore fads and trends
If your work gets stuck in a trend that has been dead for a while or your work changes only when trends shift, it will inevitably fall flat. More importantly, making work that only mimics external market trends will, over time, most likely leave you feeling bored and uninspired.
Making only work that you think will please your followers or sell or that follows trends or emulates just one artist isn’t just potentially detrimental to the sustainability of your art, it’s simply less satisfying. Diving into your own interests and fascinations will not only keep you more engaged in your work, but it will also increase the likelihood that your work will stand out as different.