Pros and cons of being a multi-style illustrator / artist / whatever
The curse of a whole lifetime. Wanted or not, sooner or later I use to get bored of spending too much time practising the same style.
It happened when I took the guitar as a child and then I wanted to play the keys, and then the harmonica, then the drums, the flute, the bass…
It happened when I first wanted to be a soccer player with all my heart, then I gave it all to the basketball game until I turned it around towards becoming the best tennis player ever.
It happened when we built our music band along with my childhood pals and we changed the name of the band as many times as we changed styles (no less than six) and when we then toured and had to play the same songs one time and another, despite of me being the composer.
It happened at the university when, while completing my arts formation, I changed my overall graphic styles / interests at least twice a year ending up switching them almost from piece to piece by the end of the degree.
I’m sure that’s a plentifully typified psychological kind of sickness or something so, if you know the name for it I’d be glad to know, just out of curiosity.
And, you know, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be when applying for a ‘fruitful’ artistic career. It’s quite obvious that the sensible thing to do for a guy moving in the uncertain context of A/V expression is to find a style wich suits you (or that simply sells itself well) and then sticking to it until the very end. This way the relationship with the commercial part of it, wich in the end is what’s supposed to fill the fridge in a regular basis, becomes smooth, ‘safe’, predictable and according to the standards. They know your particular style and get in touch when they specifically need the sort of thing you’re widely known for doing decently / outstandingly well. Ufff… Sorry but no, I can’t. I deeply respect that it works for others but it honestly does not for me. Seeing myself in a position like that for the rest of my life really frightens me.
I didn’t pick up artistic expression as a way of life on a whim. I did it from the deep realization that it was the sort of thing I was ‘doomed’ to. And what sort of ‘artist’ (or just human being) would I be if I’d deny my own particular nature in the first place?.
So, as you may conclude, this way of seeing things has made my life harder, that need not only to know how things are made but, driven by pure curiosity / instinct, to also be able to execute every part of the process with my own hands at least up to a certain degree of quality. Yes, it takes A LOT more time than to contempt yourself by mastering a single part of it but, again, by not doing so I feel I’d be denying my particularity and, in the end, what are we but that wich makes us particular?.
So, are there any benefits at all in taking that long way around then, Miku, or are you just stubbornly perpetrating a professional suicide here?. Honestly, I won’t pretend that I know what the answer is for sure but, at least, I can list here four basic positives I feel good about:
- Peace of mind – that being quite a thing to start with. Feeling true to oneself, yeah, I feel comfortable with that.
- Motivation always on a high – meaning every new project being a fresh challenge keeps you awake and aware no matter how experienced you think you are, the feeling-the-abyss thing, facing your own limitations as a boost for keeping yourself almost nervously-attentive to every single detail. That, in my opinion, always brings the best out of you. Maybe a bit exhausting on a day-to-day basis but hugely rewarding regarding the final result.
- On the commercial side of things it has quite unexpectedly turned out to be an advantage as well, giving me the crisis-proof sort of profile wich allows me to undertake projects on my own from zeroes to heroes or, if need be, to build up a small responsive team able to fulfil bigger projects’ demands smoothly.
- And finally, it allows me to put myself in self-production mode with a healthy frequency keeping myself in touch with my essential expressive needs just in case I haven’t had the chance to apply them of late within recent projects. A good way of keeping the passion for what you do up there on top.
All in all, just another charlatan dealing with the misteries of creation I guess, trying to make some sense out of them and, while the Universe refuses to reveal its secret ways, having some humble fun in the meantime.