Lets play a little game. Let me mix a bunch of people then I will allow you to do some guesswork. Picasso, Van Gogh, Pollock, Dada they are all guess? Artists. But apart from being artists each one has a unique expression of art. In fact if you are a little knowledgeable about art if you are shown any of their pieces you can tell that’s a Pollock piece or that’s a Picasso piece. What makes you be able to nail it to the toe? Each of them has a style that defines their strokes, brushes and grains. So how do you nurture a signature or a style of your own? Lets attempt a short answer.
Before you nurture your unique style let us jump into the term signature. Just as we noted in the previous paragraph about Picasso, Pollock, Van Gogh and Dada they all have a unique signature but what is signature. I want to cast on you at least four things in my view that kernel out the term.
This is a flavor largely expressed by a person’s internal element. This is the true soul of a person. Personality is mostly drawn out by nuances that betray how someone is wired. You have mostly heard friends commenting on the actions of their pal and they go like ‘that is so like Morgan’ they have interacted with Morgan enough to isolate and anticipate how Morgan would react or behave in certain circumstances. Personality is close to how an individual is tempered. The composite elements that make one be who they are, in craftsmanship and art-making style is heavily derived from our personalities. It is that unique angle and flavor that we contribute to life. So by extension we could easily say drawing like Picasso does not make you Picasso. A craftsman should take his art in stride in order to find his strokes, voice or true authority.
This is that isolated flavor that stands alone and apart from all. It is very close to personality because they go hand in hand. Personality is the vehicle that carries uniqueness. It is because a person has a particular personality that we are able to draw uniqueness or difference. Personality is the element you are born with. Uniqueness is personality plus the sum of experiences that have shaped and nurtured you around your personality. Uniqueness is the gradual expression of personality in its response to what life has thrown at you. There are things an artist hones over time from his personality that bring out difference. This would then mean based on uniqueness a craftsman or artist should continually practice and make art. When he does so he may begin to form a view or eye of craftsmanship that defines who he is. Uniqueness is a function of personality plus practice. Your uniqueness forms with use and encounter. Art making is the substrata of Uniqueness. It is in the practice of art that we may begin to notice whether a craftsman is being rooted uniquely in his art or is lost in imitation and has surrendered the privilege of earning his own difference.
All of us admire seemingly gifted craftsmen. We want to be like them. Giftedness is attractive. But pure giftedness is also rooted in intentional work. That seeming invisible or intangible sheen of craftsmanship is what I am calling mystery. Mystery by simple definition is an encryption or an entity that is unopened. People often ask what is your secret? Mystery is that which seems or looks like secret in craftsmanship. Many people have mystery but do not understand what it is let alone how to manage it. Mystery might be hidden but it is not complicated. I know a friend who enjoys a lot of privilege and opportunities in life. Having studied him a bit I have discovered it is because he is so selfless. He is blind to this fact. But that is it. Most craftsmen may be blind to the mystery of their life’s doings. I am yet to qualify my hypothesis concretely but I would say again mystery is seldom known but is made active by those around you and what life throws at you. A craftsman is squarely placed in community for mystery to thrive.
A signature is also a summary. When we are tasked to append a signature to something most of us sign documents with this handwritten mysterious, personality twined unique inscription of our names. We essentially summarize ourselves through the inscription. A signature encapsulates our whole person that is why we value it enough to inscribe it on documents or matters of value. When you study the summary of a signature you are bound to find particular stand out features that identify the signatory. In works of art after a craftsman has practiced enough to have a concrete body of works you will notice specific recurring elements. You might point out three or two things that always appear or show up in their work. Again like mystery it might be clear or hidden. I have a friend of mine she is a novelist. It took a lengthy discussion about her initial three novels for her to discover that the main character was always an outsider. You can imagine when it became evident that as a person, it was lend to her personality that she always thrived in places where she did not belong. Places where she was an outsider. Her personality unknown to her was feeding her protagonists. That was her signature, her personality and her uniqueness and the why of all that, would then easily point to the mystery of her signature. What summarizes your art?
Last modified: March 4, 2022