I’ve been thinking quite a bit about artistic voice lately. It’s a popular topic of conversation between artists, and sometimes an area of frustration for many. What is it? How do we know when we’ve found it? Does it change over time? I’ve been struggling with these questions as I revisit old work and attempt to find ways to make it still relevant to the work I’m doing now. I feel like my artwork has progressed significantly over the past year, and I’m no longer focused on the same style or topics that I once was. For me, this old work is still apart of my journey as an artist, but I no longer have any personal attachments to it. I recently revisited a simple black and white line drawing I did of the view outside of my kitchen window. This was the first drawing I ever posted publicly online, almost exactly one year go. I found myself wondering if there was some way I could rework it and feel attached to it again. And I did! For now at least. I think this is a really interesting piece of the creative process! Things can be reused and re-imagined and re-purposed in ways that reflect what we’re currently feeling/doing.
For me, this meant revisiting the design of the drawing, and figuring out how I could make it more visually interesting to someone who has already seen it a thousand times (me.) I did just that by adding a foil press technique to the design.
I was really focused on artistic voice when I first started painting, and really put pressure on myself to make everything look exactly the same. Now I just make things that I like, and I hope other people like them too! Skills expand. Style changes. Both of those things equal growth.