People have asked why I go back and forth between the representational and the abstract. Many think I should focus on one particular style, be more consistent, develop my own unique niche in the art market, etc. I always appreciate when people offer comments and suggestions. But the idea of creating a plan for the future style of my art career makes me claustrophobic.
I'd like to offer a different perspective on "style": Consider the careers and work of some of the most important painters in the last century: Georgia O'Keeffe, Richard Deibenkorn, Willem De Kooning, Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Maynard Dixon, Claude Monet, Alexander Calder, Piet Mondrian, and Robert Motherwell. There are many others, but these artists are great examples of individuals whose work evolved dramatically over time. In their minds, consistency was another word for creative stagnation. These artists are important because of their unceasing pursuit of a creative vision. They valued artistic freedom over commercial success. Can you imagine if Vincent VanGoh painted sunflowers his whole life? Or if Claude Monet never got past his charicatures? Granted, in retrospect, these artists had common threads unifying most if not all of their artistic labors. But those threads of "style"were never contrived; nor were they planned. They were never based on a specific motif or brush stroke. Their "style" was always a natural consequence of their artistic journey, of being true to themselves and living in the moment; like the tracks of a coyote zigzagging around patches of sage and juniper. Style should never be the trail that you follow, but the tracks you leave behind.