On Friday Sharilyn shared The Creative Spark for her piece, Metallo del Fiore. She had one final suggestion that I thought was so important it warranted a post all by itself. As Stampington’s Editor-in-Chief for 9 years, she saw lots and lots of submissions from artists ranging from beginners to experienced professionals. Here’s what she has to say about making your way in the world of mixed media art.
“I would just like to share with everyone how much I appreciate the gift of creativity, and to encourage you all to embrace your own creativity and feed it by spending lots and lots of time alone in your studio, working. It’s a good idea to take lessons from an experienced teacher and to learn good techniques that way or through books and instructional DVDs. But once you learn the specific techniques you need and have improved your craftsmanship, try to forget the instructor’s designs. Go back to your studio and practice the new techniques you’ve learned, but try to break free of the teacher’s design ideas as quickly as possible. There seems to be a very sad “copycat trend” going on in the mixed-media art world right now, and I find it frustrating because I don’t want to see a bunch of copies of art by “Miss Famous Artist” who has been published in all the magazines. I want to see what you can create, not what you can copy. During a class there is rarely time to be creative and come up with your own designs and compositions, so I don’t expect to see that in a classroom situation. But after the workshop is over and everyone has returned home from the art retreat or convention, I encourage you to work at home alone and quietly in your studio, taking the necessary time to ponder what you have learned and to practice your new techniques without any visual reference from your teacher. Sketch some loose and rough ideas in your sketchbook and trust your own inner genius to bubble up with something wonderful. It will happen by spending time alone with your materials, and by working at your art regularly, for this is how you feed your creative self. Copying another artist’s work or style is educational to a certain extent—all the great masters learned drawing, painting and sculpting techniques this way—but it will never satisfy your yearning to be creative and express yourself. It is only by working at home alone in your studio space that you will find your own unique voice. This might take a few months of diligent practice, or it might take years of floundering. But keep at it. You are a creative genius! Believe it, act on it, and you will experience it. Nothing is more satisfying or more worthwhile.”
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS