As an artist agent I get asked OFTEN about what styles are ‘they’ looking for…what will sell…what subject matter is ‘best’ to do in samples etc. While I can make recommendations, and do (see ‘Articles’ on my site) , I more often will tell the would-be-repped artists to go study the books in bookstores (current) and figure out themselves what THEY ‘should’ be doing. It’s a process that is truly individual…and personal.
This reminds me of a chance comment I made a few years ago while having lunch in NYC with two editors. They were admiring one of my artists and I said that she seemed to create from ‘the inside out.’ As if her artistic inside self was brought into the outside world for us to enjoy! It was this quality that made her work stand out…feel ‘real’ and comfortable and especially ‘right.’ One of the editors immediately looked excited about those words I’d used. She hadn’t known how to express the quality she’d seen in some special artists works that appealed to her. This ‘from the inside out’ comment of mine seemed to make so much sense to her. We went on about other artists who intuitively went deep inside themselves to find their characters, their color palettes, their unique sense of the world and it’s stories. Some times we will see this in sketches, or sketch books…a repeated character or series of things that just jump out at us. Something that obviously speaks to the artist. These are the things an artist ‘should’ be doing because they are from a place others do not have access to.
So I want to suggest to all artists in our industry (or any artists anywhere!) that you need to study books, and draw a lot from life, and think in ‘story’ with your characters and scenes. Do samples that show character development in several scenes of the same characters. Show interaction between characters. Do various aged and ethnic characters. Do adults and animals, interiors and exteriors, different perspectives of scenes. Play with color and art materials and digital as well. But more importantly you need to feel and look and create from your ‘inside out.’ Discover and own that ability to find your personal world view and your work will improve on its own. I and buyers will see that you have the confidence and comfort of YOUR LOOK, and they too will have the confidence to remember and to hire you.