Style Diversity: (P)art Of The Process

You can twist and turn it, but a style is attached to an artist, like a product to a brand.
Or maybe not?

Well, there is some exception to the rule, read further for examples about that matter, but the short truth is:
A style is not as important for an artist, as personality and persistence.

A style can change, a trend can change and if as artist you focus on one style only, chances are that there is one opportunity in your lifetime, but you better don´t miss it if you are just working in that specific direction.
For everyone else it is good to feed and bet on several horses to make the race.

I observed some interesting changes mostly in music and later in visual art. In the metal-music-scene, the former gods of dark sounds and death-metal ( at least where I come from) were Paradise Lost in their humble beginnings. Over time they changed their style and in between some songs had more in common with Depeche Mode than anything else. A similar transformation has happened to Tiamat. For some fans this was an unvorgivable act, but others grew on them.

Not everyone has the ability of a chameleon like Madonna to redefine themselves and their style in every decade, but no one needs to. The obvious shift from underground metal to pop seems commerce driven and in most cases it is. Actually there is no problem with that, in my opinion Green Day has clearly benefited from that, while others: Amy Whinehouse and Kurt Cobain were never made to be famous.

I think it is an inside-out thing, it doesn´t help to reach popularity with a rocket-train if your inner self is not yet ready for it.

In a much smaller scale, a dimension where I live in, there are artists who have gone through similar transformations as depicted above. Theodoru Badiu and David Ho are perfect examples, I loved their style when I first encountered art works of these great artists online some years ago. Now they have dramatically changed, maybe because of commercial demand maybe because of personal taste. I will always respect them for sharing their work with others even if I can not relate to the new works.

But right after writing this, I realized that I have changed too, maybe in a different direction, it occurs that we met at a time that was just right and we were going into different directions from there. This happens with relationships as also with taste in music and art.

When I started out doing art, I had no clue what I should do, I always admired the female shape and as long as I can paint those from time to time, I´m a happy man. But now I figured, that starting out with different styles was the best thing to do.

From my time at the art center until now, there is an inner force that keeps me expanding into various realms. I´m not sure, whether if it is a force or a seduction. When I look at other artists work that I find adorable, there is always something I want to recreate. Luckily never the desire to copy, just the idea that I admire how Donato Giancola paints chrome or the way Dan Dos Santos describes light refraction on skin or the way Dave McKean manages to merge different elements into one piece.

This began to get a habit, one that helped me to get better instead of giving up. A habit that allows me to apply an observation to any assignment and not just a certain situation, what a relief! I learned how to analyze certain things instead of just copying the effect to thousand other images that look all the same. It is the aim to stay original. Maybe I´m not making a fortune out of this as artist like others do, but this has its advantages too: I´m there for the long run.

Other major advantages are, that I can embrace a wide variety of assignments, I still have new areas to get better at, and there is always a different demand. As someone being open and known for keeping up on trends it is easy to change a portfolio quickly if a few pieces to that area simply exist and only a few newer ones are required. Another relief.

So I began to realize that style diversity is just a part of the process in the long run.
I have learned to embrace new categories as challenge, as long as I can meet up with my standards and as long as I find myself in the images I create, why not?

Here are some examples of styles I foster:

Anime / Manga colored drawing style

Anthro (anthropomorphic) digital airbrushing

Belles Lettres painterly and narrative illustration style

Caricature and exaggerated portraiture

Children book illustration

Dog (or animal) portraiture

Fantasy art and high-fantasy art

Graphic style photomanipulation

Mythological creatures, mixed media

Organical photomanipulation style

Pin-up digital airbrush style

Plant and trans-genetic (sci-fi) portraiture

Sci-fi (Science-Fiction) illustration, painting and airbrushing

Sculpture, and digital derivative of sculptures

Steampunk illustration, mixed media involved

Milton Glaser brought it to the point:
What is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.

I think as artists our aspirations should always allow for 50% experiment and 50% professionalism, an equilibrium that is acceptable by both, clients and artist is a healthy goal.

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook


  1. A seriously Fantabulous blog post man :)
    I have a lot to think about now :P.



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