I've spent ages trying to define my own style, trying to find that one perfect way of working that gets me noticed and leads to an abundance of work.. sadly I dont feel I am skilled enough in one area to do that... Instead I can successfully adopt many various styles... I have enough technical knowledge that I can almost turn my hand to anything and pull off a half decent job. The phrase 'Jack of all trades, Master on none' springs to mind, but I need to stop doubting my own abilities... after all, I must be doing something right to win the D&AD competition this summer... I've often considered working as a freelance artist and using various alias names so I can happily create artwork in any style I choose... (i know I want to work in studio environment though, i like socialising with others and bouncing ideas off of them)...
Picasso is one artist in particular who truly encompasses the meaning of the word 'prolific' as he turned his hand from drawing and painting, to sculpture and pottery... spanning many various styles/movements... but another artist who I look to, who has helped me realise that I can have my cake and eat it.. (as in I can happily use various styles and not lose myself)... is Frank Kozik..
He has designed gig posters for numerous famous bands touring across America, he produces vinyl toy characters and limited edition busts/statues, he had his own record label and has also landed commissions from clients such as Nike and MTV... so it cant be a bad turning your hand to various methods/techniques.
Some of Kozik's posters make use of comic/cartoon styled characters which is what first brought my attention to them... the old visual style of a thick black outline.. but he also used more realistic/traditionally styled comic illustrations especially seen in the punk, tattoo and HotRod scenes (Coop)... The colour palettes are also limited, most likely due to printing costs but the main thing I notice is the dominance of the artwork over the text/type.. as if the bands/events advertised arent as import as the work created by Kozik.
When comparing these posters to his toys... the styles vary dramatically. Looking almost vector-like and cute, I wouldn't at first imagine they came from the same artist.
Following on from the vinyl toys, Kozik has recently turned to more limited edition products varying from resin to bronze casts for his busts...
As well as the Smorkin' Labbits, he has another signature which is often seen on some of his work or at least on his customised versions of other peoples art toys. Keeping with his origins in the punk rock poster scene, he often decorates pieces completely black with the anarchy 'A' sign and slogan ' The Future is Stupid'.
I guess the moral of the story is to just do what you love... and do it how you want to. If it makes you happy using one style or several then go for it... after all if you're not happy with it, how do you expect anyone else to be?
now just jumping back to something I said earlier in this post... I mentioned the use of a thick black outline... A few artist I like have taken their 2D images into the 3D realm, but each has needed to figure a visual language to express the same quality in their illustrative work as in their three dimensional stuff. One artist in particular is Joe Ledbetter... ( yet another artist whose toys I try to collect when possible)...
with this, what I'm trying to show is how one particular style is still maintained but progresses as it moves from one medium to another.