To diversify or not to diversify

Should I follow the art world’s advice or just do what the hell I want?


I recently visited a very hip art gallery with Dan in Linz, Austria.

The owner, a ponytailed, freshly-suited and engaging young man, immediately started chatting with us and offered drinks. It was early in the day and not many customers/ art lovers were about. We happily obliged and asked all kinds of questions.

It turns out that he opened the gallery in order to promote young artist’s works offering them exposure and art buyers a chance to discover something new. The works were diverse in style and most had a real edge to them. Both Dan and I were quite impressed with what we saw during our visit.

He was friendly and open, so we asked him a few more questions. I was particularly interested in getting his opinion on a few questions I’ve been having about my art. Mainly: should I focus more on one aspect of my art (perhaps one which grabs most people’s attention) or continue to create in my own diverse way?

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know what I am referring to.

On some days I may feel inspired by a few twigs on the floor…


On others I’ll be playing with my food…


Then I may get a little possessed by the colour gods…


Or enamoured with mother nature…


One day I’ll decide that scissors are my allies…


Or even fire may possess my hand…


Or simply doodling away in my favourite style: the “one liner”…


In essence, I’ve never resisted an urge to create. No matter what form, shape or colour it came knocking at my door.

Yet, all the more established artists I “follow” and admire seem to have one thing in common: a centred, focused and consistent style.  

Did they make that decision or was this their style all along? Is this the only way forward or are there alternatives?…

Let’s get back to our Linz gallerist for a minute.

When I asked him what his thoughts were on the subject, considering my incessant need to do “everything”, he very delicately advised that in his opinion one should focus on delivering a “consistent” output, until they became Picasso or Matisse at ehich point they could go crazy on the scissors and conceptual art.

I get his point. And the “art world’s” point too… In order to “get yourself known” and eventually sell a lot of your art you must be identifiable. But also, you must become “master” of one particular style which is recognisable as yours.

I can easily accept the idea that mastering one’s craft is important. Yet a little voice still whispers: “Could you be mastering more than one discipline at the same time?… like the surgeon who masters the scalpel but also the stitches and the new technology…?”

However, in order to accept the rule in full, I would have to accept the idea that every time I sit down to create I am doing it to make an eventual sale. To “please” a potential buyer who is happy that he or she is buying a “recognisable” work, right? Well, to be completely honest, there is no space on my table for that kind of thought! It’s already filled with paper cut-outs, paint brushes, pyrography pens and ink…

Anyone linked to the commercial side of the art world may see the above as fact, but I think that perhaps we each have our own path when it comes to “developing as an artist”. My own path emerged from a suffocating need to create. A place where creative expression became my breath… So there is very little which could now convince me that tightening the noose on this process is the “right way forward”.

As we walked away from the Linz gallery, grateful for the wonderful encounter, I thought to myself that maybe one day I would change my mind about the subject, but until then I will cut, draw, paint, collage and breathe all I want.

On a separate note, at a recent mini exhibit I sold a few works… each one belonging to a different category of my “style”. Different people were drawn to different works and I enjoyed so much telling them about the process of each.

So perhaps I don’t have to choose just yet… Maybe sometimes the rules don’t apply, or it’s OK to break them.

In any case, for now, I will continue to diversify.

Here is a pic which always reminds me to breathe-in deeply, smile and just enjoy the process, no matter what the medium.

tonight's sky


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7 thoughts on “To diversify or not to diversify”

  1. J’adore cet article chérie 🙂 super contente de savoir que t’as vendu quelques morceaux!! C’était au show de Dan? Je suis dans le train en route pour Toronto, it begins! xo

  2. Great post! Keep breathing those creative breaths! For every example of someone who followed the rules, there’s someone else who succeeded by breaking them. When Maya Angelou died her obituary listed the many occupations she had over her lifetime – dancer, singer, performer, poet, writer, speaker, and the list went on and on. I doubt that she would have become the icon she was/is if she stuck to one thing!

    1. Thank you Jeni! I think I always need to return to my centre as well, especially when we hear so many different opinions! In the end, we know what we should be focussing on 🙂

  3. Je pense qu’un medium en particulier va s’imposer tout seul, le moment venu; inutile de t’en faire, le processus sera tout naturel, comme une naissance!

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