Beyond Technique

Cultivating Your Artistic Voice…

Beyond Technique Image, text on Blue Background
Cultivating Your Artistic Voice

We’ve all been there. Staring at a blank canvas (or a digital screen) paralysed by the pressure to create something amazing, something that will turn heads and go viral on social media, maybe it will even become your best selling work, something that today seems almost secondary to the social vibe many want their work to create.

In this creative quest for external validation in whatever form it takes, we often lose sight of something that is crucial to becoming a successful artist: authenticity.

Being an authentic artist isn’t about churning out masterpieces as if you were the sole employee of a Temu production line, it’s about challenging your unique experiences, emotions, and perspectives and bringing those challenges into your work. It’s about creating art that resonates, not with the people, but with YOU first. Do that and you will finally allow that genuineness shine through.

One question I’m always asked by new artists is what the best selling subject is. What genre of work sells better than anything else, what sells quickly, and for a hefty chunk of my career I prescribed to finding out the answers to those questions too.

The answer was always landscapes, abstracts and nudes. They’ve been forever staples of the art world and they do sell in huge numbers, but the honest truth is, if you have asked the question about what art sells best and only pursue financial rather than artistic success, your work probably won’t sell either. Inner expression generates far more success for artists than technique.

There’s a good chance that I’ve never seen your work, but the reason I make the overly harsh point that no matter how good it is it probably won’t sell, is that there are millions upon millions of artists all asking that very same question and then beavering away for years to produce a body of landscape or abstract work that will lead them to the fabled road of financial success. Art careers rarely if ever, happen quite like that.

Selling art without a plan means that your competition becomes the majority of artists who have got a plan and the likes of Walmart, or Amazon or the galleries with the biggest and best marketing teams. If you’re creating art for arts sake, it becomes silenced in the wider noise.

Feeling lost in the cacophony of the art world? Trying to copy others for success feels like a recipe for burnout, you really do have to work so much harder to be better than the artist you’re trying to copy, and they’ll already have the benefit of being first. What if the secret weapon you've been overlooking is right there within you? Being yourself is not just easier, it's the key to creating art that truly resonates.

childrens coin operated horse ride on white background, retro art,
Wild Horse by Mark Taylor


Here's why authenticity is your secret artistic weapon:

Authenticity Breeds Originality: When you tap into your own well of inspiration, you're less likely to simply mimic trends or copy others. Your art becomes a reflection of your inner world, something that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Authenticity Fuels Passion: Creating art that feels forced is a recipe for burnout. But when you're pouring your heart and soul onto the canvas, the creative fire burns bright. Authenticity keeps the joy of creating alive.

Authenticity Connects with Others: People can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. But genuine art, born from your lived experience, has the power to connect with others on a deeper level. It sparks conversations, evokes emotions, and creates a bridge between artist and audience.

So, how do you unleash your authentic self as an artist?

Dig Deep: Explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. What are you passionate about? What are you struggling with? Let your art be a vessel for your inner world.

Experiment Without Fear: Don't be afraid to try new things, even if they feel messy or unconventional. Embrace the exploration of your art, and let it guide you to your unique voice and remember, you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg.

Seek Inspiration Everywhere: Don't limit yourself to traditional art forms. Look for inspiration in music, films, nature, or even everyday life. Whenever I plan out my creations, I like to plan out a series of work and this always means that I have to carry out research because I mostly create works depicting specific periods of technology, popular culture and innovation from the 1970s through to the early 2000’s. The upside of this is not only do I learn more about what I depict in my work, it fuels creativity and gives me plenty of ideas for future work.

vintage vending machine artwork, vending machines, artwork by Mark Taylor
Vintage Vending by Mark Taylor


Create a Mood Board: Collect images, textures, colors, or anything that evokes a strong emotional response. Use it as a reference point for your artwork. Remember when collecting pictures and photographs, it’s important to not only focus on perfection, find photos and images that show the subjects with imperfections too.

Experiment Without Judgment: Don't be afraid to try new techniques, mediums, or styles. The more you experiment, the more you'll discover what resonates with you.

Embrace Imperfections: Perfectionism can stifle creativity. Learn to see "mistakes" as opportunities for happy accidents to coin a phrase used by Bob Ross, and view each mistake as a unique expression. You might be surprised just how many happy mistakes you then consciously go on to leave in your work!

Let the Art Flow: Sometimes the best way to find your voice is to simply create without overthinking. Allow yourself to be guided by intuition and let the art flow naturally. I liken this to meditation, it is very much a Full vs. Calmer Lake: "Think of your mind as a lake. During meditation, you're not trying to remove all the water (thoughts). Instead, the goal is to calm the surface so you can see what lies beneath."

Silence the Critics (Inner and Outer): It's easy to get caught up in the opinions of others, both online and in the real world. But remember, your art is yours. Trust your gut, and never be afraid to create something different. It really is okay to be weird, or wacky, and if it hasn’t already been done, you already own the genre!

retro childrens coin operated ride, rocket ship, art by Mark Taylor
Fly Me to the Moon by Mark Taylor


Limit Comparisons: Social media can be a double-edged sword. While it can inspire, it can also lead to comparison. Take breaks and focus on your own artistic journey.

Find Your Support System: Surround yourself with people who encourage your artistic exploration and celebrate your individuality, but also remember that a support system shouldn’t just be about positive reinforcement. You need to find an authentic support system that challenges you too. Art really is about growing your individuality.

Inner Exploration: Journaling is a great way to delve into your thoughts and feelings. Write freely about your experiences, emotions, and what sparks your creative fire. You don’t have to share this with anyone else, but it sometimes helps. You could create a blog which would give you an incentive to carry on, inner exploration is a tough process for anyone but blogging can give you both a platform and an audience that holds you to account.

Mind Maps and Brainstorming: Visually explore your interests and passions. Create mind maps or brainstorm different themes and concepts that resonate with you. Remember, your theme doesn’t have to fit neatly into a box, you need to be selfish when doing this, this is your story, your art, you need to own it.

Embrace Your Story: Don't be afraid to infuse your artwork with your personal experiences and perspectives. This vulnerability can make your art all the more powerful.

retro claw amusement machine filled with retro toys, art by Mark Taylor
One Claw Go by Mark Taylor


Authentic Isn’t Easy…

Being authentic isn't always easy. It requires self-discovery, vulnerability, and a healthy dose of courage, in fact these are the same things that make an artist an artist in the first place. You need to be both bold and brave, and you need to learn to react to what your gut feeling is telling you to do. To reuse an overused clichĂ©, authenticity is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and practice to truly find your artistic voice, and that’s fine. It will give you time to develop as an artist but also as a person, and you will need to keep doing this over and over throughout your career, people change, that’s fine. It’s a good thing.

In my experience over the many years I have been creating, this really is the best path to creating art that is not only meaningful to you, it allows you to create art that has the power to move and inspire others. So, embrace your true voice, and let your art be a reflection of the beautiful, messy, sometimes chaotic and utterly unique person you are.

retro pocket radio, artwork by Mark Taylor
Pocket Amplitude by Mark Taylor


Where to buy Mark’s work…

You can purchase Mark’s work through Fine Art America or his Pixels site here: https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com   You can also purchase prints and originals directly. You can view Mark’s portfolio website and see a small selection of his works at https://beechhousemedia.com

All artwork and blog posts are copyright Mark Taylor and must not be reused without written permission and appropriate licencing.

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