Some would argue that art itself defies categorization. Artwork is intensely personal and many artists hesitate to be grouped with other artists, whether because of aesthetics or the perception that doing so makes it easier to pigeonhole one’s work.
Categorization, however, is a method the human mind uses to make sense of the world. The art market, for better or worse, relies on categories and defining yourself as an artist can boost your career. At the end of the day, do you want people interested in the aesthetics or topics you address to find & love your art?
Especially if you are a budding artist still finding your way in the marketplace, being specific can connect you with buyers by clarifying what exactly you have to offer. It may even help refine your style and your strategy for building your brand.
What Type of Artist Am I?
Writer and cartoonist Scott McCloud has drawn four types of artists according to the goals they strive to achieve through their work.
These are far from the only different artistic styles or approaches, but they do help us understand where we’re coming from. Labeling your artistic style may feel like denigrating your art’s potential, but exploring classification can offer important self-reflection, a crucial step for artists looking to professionalize their work.
Reading artist interviews is another worthwhile way to think about where you fit in or give you ideas of curatorial spaces that might favor your aesthetic.
It all comes down to what you want to do and how you want to spend your time. That doesn’t mean having a strategy for connecting with people who love your art is some type of compromise. Taking some time to think about your goals as an artist may be just the thought experiment you need to connect with the next great opportunity.
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