Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Gotta be Me


If you've spent anytime on Etsy or Pinterest lately or just follow design/fashion trends, you've probably noticed that the chevron pattern is really hot right now.  Its on clothes, pillows, prints, walls, furniture and floors. Everywhere!

You may have also noticed that yellow and gray are especially trendy colors at the moment.  I mean look at this Etsy search! I didn't search for yellow or gray, just typed in chevron and this was the first page of results.

I like the chevron pattern, and I really like yellow and gray. These are colors that I have used many a time in my work. So I decided to embrace/capitalize on these hottest of trends and create a yellow and gray chevron piece.

This is what I came up with first.........Ugh.

I sort of like the texture that's created with the application of the white gel pen and the playful imperfection of the stripes (I wasn't patient enough to plan or measure). Still, it seemed flat and unimpressive overall.

I decided to add a little dark with a black Micron pen. That did help to give this a bit more dimension and finish, but still, in my view, this piece is a yawn.  What do you think? I looked at it for a day, and decided just to move on for now, and I made this.

"Gotta be Me" utilizes the same color scheme and angularity of the chevron piece, but is indeed more "me".  Is it my most favorite piece I've ever made? No, but it seems more authentic and a whole lot less forced.  I'll probably make a few more like it to really get it right.

There are most certainly some lessons to be had here. We as artists want to sell, and make things that others want to buy, but it shouldn't be our sole reason for creating. Your art needs to make you happy too!  Yes,  it is good to branch out, try new things, and find inspiration from the work of others,  but it's not smart to hop on a bandwagon just because it's hot. We end up making work that seems forced and pedestrian.  And if there are pages and pages of images featuring this hot trend, why make one more?

So friends, do you have any similar experiences/lessons learned from hopping on the bandwagon? I'd love to hear about them!

Ta-Ta for now.


  1. I work through this all the time, Jen...I sometimes feel the wonderful access to other artists' work online is both a blessing and a curse. It's amazing when you find something you love- be it a pattern, a color scheme, a whole piece. I often find though, when I'm back in my studio, too much of that work is trying to force its way into my work. It's a careful balance- taking inspiration- but not letting it overshadow your own inclinations!

  2. ps: I absolutely respond much more strongly to your second piece here- it feels much more authentic

  3. I really connected with this post! I straddle the 'line' between creative and analytical and constantly struggle with this issue!! It is SO tempting to say "that's selling right now and I can make it - so let's do it!" It never works out well though - I truly believe that if you want to sell your art then you have to make your art. Not someone else's! :) Customers seem to be able to tell the difference! I loved your last paragraph and would like to post it onto Pinterest (with your name for credit) if that is alright with you? Let me know! :)

    1. Thank you much Diana! I'd be happy to have you post that to Pinterest. Just please link back to my blog, OK?

  4. Thanks! Just pinned it! Check it out on my board "My Inspirations" - user name: JamesandDiana Burk


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