Posted in Art and Artists, Notes, Practice, Research & Reflection

Developing Artistic Style, part 2

What are the things I like?

I’ll start with some of my own sculpture that I actually like. I’m sticking to pieces that are my design, rather than copies of someone else’s work. When on courses at the Austria wood carving school one of the major teaching devices is to get you to carve from others designs. Although I like many of these, I don’t really consider them my work.


Next some sculptors I admire – limiting the scope to contemporary artists:

I’ve referred to other websites rather than including the images here for copyright reasons.

Drawings, Paintings and Other Media:

What don’t I like?

  • Work created for shock value, which is what I consider Damien Hurst’s picked sheep (et al): to be.
  • Avant Garde where the experiment is the purpose of the art. It like a product that isn’t ready for use but the manufacturers get it out there anyway. This feels like the hype end of art, and makes me think “Emporer’s New Clothes.” I’m deliberately not including examples here.

Schrodinger’s Clothes

There are large tracks of art, especially “High Art”, where I don’t get it and so can’t really decide about it. There is even more where I just haven’t really been exposed to it properly. Here there might be clothes there, and then again maybe not. The box isn’t open yet and so I just don’t know…


This is a high level summary of my sculptural experience:

  • Subject:
    • Mainly Animals, some of which are myth/fantasy based
    • Some people, mainly with interesting poses and/or characteristics rather than individual likeness.
    • Fewer landscapes
    • A spattering of ornamental etc pieces
  • Concept
    • Primarily representational
    • Mainly private collection, rather than public display
  •  Composition
    • I tend to quirky and interesting poses. The challenge here is they aren’t necessarily as marketable as iconic poses.
    • Mostly free standing sculpture, with some “wall art”.
    • Mostly indoor, but some garden
  • Scale
    • Mostly around 20cm to 1m or so.
    • Never attempted life size or monumental.
    • Tried working at small (Netsuke) scale, but its not really for me.
  • Techniques and Materials
    • So far worked primarily with wood
    • Some work with casts, so far “Cold cast bronze” using various approaches
    • Some ceramic
    • Very small amount of stone
  • Surface Quality
    • Mostly some detail, without attempting highly realistic.
    • Prefer textured to smooth. (Tooled finish)
    • I very rarely attempt colour in my work

Sculpture Direction

Considering all of this, what do I think the main elements of my “artistic style” should be? In considering this I am partially thinking about my ability to build an artistic living off the back of this, and so the ability to generate an income from my work is relevant.

The following would seem to be the best direction:

  • Subject:
    • Mainly Animals – I need to select animal subjects carefully. It takes time and effort to build knowledge on doing an animal well. I’ve been “skipping around” too much, doing on subject then moving on.
    • Some people – I need to consider this in more detail. It may need to be driven more by what people appreciate, and so would have a propensity to pay for. What appeals to people? What catches the eye? Lots of scope for further consideration and research here.
  • Concept
    • Representational
    • Tending to more stylised forms
  •  Composition
    • Less quirky poses for the moment
    • I need to work on more appealing compositions. How to approach this? More research needed.
  • Scale
    • 20cm to 1m or so
  • Techniques and Materials
    • Ceramic and Cast for commercial work
      • Consider others casting from an original model
    • Wood for ‘specials’  or an original model for casting. Too expensive for general work.
    • Anything else only as a ‘hobby’
  • Surface Quality
    • Working towards interesting texture
    • More use of colour

So what have a learnt?

This has been an interesting process, if something of a side track as far as the course is concerned. It is making me consider my strengths and weaknesses as a sculptor. It is making me consider and make choices about the direction I would like to take. Now I need to make some things and refine my vision, and iterate a few times. I am optimistic that the result will be a more considered approach to what I make, how I make it and the quality of the result.

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