This is a cautionary tale for the downfalls of style

Style and taste are fluid, they are ever changing, what works for one problem might not work for the next. It can be incredibly easy to fall into a rut where you find yourself creating EXTREMELY similar work because it gets a positive reaction, let me stop you right there - style IS the box. The moment you become glued to or known for one style you start to lose relevance, and while there are certainly artists with incredible staying power who harness just one style, they are generally the exception to this rule.

Read about A.M. Cassandre look at his work, I guarantee you will know his work when you see it, but there is a fairly large chance you’ve never heard his name.

A.M. Cassandre basically revolutionized poster design in the Art Deco Era and his work has been copied distilled, translated, remixed, rehashed and whatever other buzzword you can come up with. His impact on art is still felt today and isn’t likely to go away. But in the prime of his career, tastes shifted so drastically that by the end of his career he wasn’t able to give his work away (there was also a world war.) He was eventually consumed by depression and he committed suicide, but not before designing the Yves Saint Laurent logo. These are the trappings of style.

Versatility Over Style

Ok, so I’ve gotten a bit off topic, but when you’re successful with one style, you tend to milk it, and when you do that, you essentially stop being creative, if you do that long enough, your skills get dull, your ability wanes, tastes shift, and voila, you’re irrelevant.

How in the hell do you fight this? Experiment, dabble, seek out versatility over style. 

Experimentation is the soul of creative discovery, it exists at the point where you disconnect your conscious and let your subconscious do the walking. You don’t have preconceived notions or ideas driving you, you just create for the sake of it. This is where the magic lives. 

When you tap into this zone, you discover hidden connections where others miss them, you stumble upon odd and interesting things you’re mind would’ve otherwise never shown you and you truly you tap into your magical creative goodness.

Experimentation has one gigantic spectrum so let me break down a couple of key examples of how I might go about some good ol’ fashioned creative experimentation:

  • Pick up a new tool and see what kind of fun marks you can make
  • Seek out inspiration in another field, like music or architecture for instance. What would a piece of music look like were it an illustration rather than a song? When it comes to patterns and structures, there are some seriously cool things happening in architecture that can help drive your creative mind down a whole new path
  • Learn some new software - The artwork for this piece started as an experiment with SketchUp that I then redrew. But there are some seriously cool things you can do with this software, plus you can download a free 30 day trial and fuck around. Pro-tip: you can export vector artwork as .dxf files and import them into sketches and make really crazy 3D craziness.
  • Jump ship - if you’re feeling stale or stuck, try doing something else to work your creative muscle. Like learning an instrument, if you’ve always been a 2D artist, working sonically can completely change your way of seeing the world. There are so many neat things about music and progression and composition that are fun to explore.

If you want to talk music, and discuss what I see as the real benefits of music for expanding your creative mind, sound off in the comments. Otherwise, go create some shit.

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