Art + Style
I will start by asking you a simple question. Do you think I made my style? To answer I believe one has to define what style is. For me, style is the outward expression of that which defines an individual. The body exists simply as a housing for the indefinable entity referred to as a spirit. This is what ultimately creates our unique individual qualities and identifies us each as special. Billions exist yet no two are exactly alike hence even twins while outwardly identical in appearance will remain individual in characteristics and personal expression, style, taste… this simple observation of individuality serves to emphasize the inherent uniqueness in all of us and points us in the direction of truly defining what style is. To understand what style is, one must observe and study how and when we use the word.
Picasso, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, DaVinci, Prince, Michael Jackson, Beethoven, Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe… What comes to mind upon stating these names is a distinct sound or look that identifies each as individual artists. Their means of expression as artists may be through painting, music, sculpting, singing, dance…but it is what we call a style that categorizes these people as individual and unique. These individuals that have become highly recognizable are so due to their exceptional talent in their chosen means of self-expression. What makes Mozart or Prince a genius amongst a sea of talented musicians and composers? Creativity and style are a pair that travel together and work to identify the individuals from which they emanate. A mirror gains no praise for being able to reflect what it sees. Those that “copy” another’s style may gain some recognition for the ability to mimic but the originator of said style remains who is remembered. It is of little value to try to live as someone else in this existence.
We are all unique and being truthful and honestly expressing oneself pays homage to that gift. I have been asked on numerous occasions by visual artists in my medium how to create a style, however, the question cites a lack of understanding of what “style” is. My work has been cited as highly identifiable hence a unique style. Individuals have stated that without even seeing my signature they know it is my creation. What is extremely important to understand here is at no point as an artist did I “try” to create a look that was unique to me. I am simply expressing my view of the world in a visual manner that resonates with my spirit.
To be influenced by the work or style of another is not the same as copying. Michael Jackson, for those who know, was heavily influenced by James Brown and many other musical artists were as well. They studied his movements, command of the stage, sound, etc. and taking from these things created adaptations that creatively reflected their personal view.
Interestingly, my work has connected with individuals who have studied many visual artists who are very well known and have sighted the many similarities found in quite a few. While of course, I am aware of these artists’ work that has been compared to mine, I have in no way tried to copy their style, but their influence, I’m sure left an impression on me. We take or borrow from those whose work resonates with our spirit and in doing so use chosen elements to aid in our journey for self-expression. In doing so, what ultimately happens, while being true to one’s vision, a distinct style or look naturally emerges which becomes a direct reflection of its creator.
I can recall very distinctly the individual whose work influenced my “look” in photography, yet his work and mine have no recognizable quality in the subject matter. Ansel Adams is sighted as a technical master in photography and is highly respected globally for his work. I too marvelled at his technical prowess and sought to have my work look like his in technical execution, but not of subject matter like his images that captured the power and marvel in nature, I wanted my images to capture the power and marvel in human emotion. I realized that becoming a master of one’s medium required a thorough understanding of technical aspects of the chosen medium then applying the individual element of creativity to that. This understanding and execution led to me uniting what was technically learned from Ansel Adams to my creative concepts, thus leading to a “look” or “style”. My desire to express the common thread of human existence, namely our emotions have created a consistent theme throughout the body of my work. I never planned a style.
Simply put, to “try” is to deny. When you try to create a style, you are, in essence, denying your inherent uniqueness as you exist without effort as an individual like no other. Style is not created but rather discovered through self-expression.
MONTANO ST. JULES (theartof1)