Are visual artists "type-cast" like actors? I wonder. If we become successful at something or known for working in a certain style, is that all people want to see from us? What if we want to try something new - will it be accepted?
This is on my mind after a presentation by an artist at a local art organization. The artist is very successful, has work in galleries throughout the world and has been known for 30 years for her florals. Her work is in demand and sells for thousands of dollars. She has been drawn to a more abstract style, yet feels some barriers in getting this work accepted into galleries. Because her florals are so successful, that is what the galleries want. She exhibits her abstract work under a different name.
There are so many ways I can process this information. Is she selling out by continuing to do florals? I guess if she likes doing them she isn't selling out. But if she prefers painting abstracts, painting florals takes time that she could be spending on the abstracts. On the other hand, if she can get $5,000-$9,000 for one floral, she doesn't have to make as many, which would free up time for working on abstracts.
And there is also the emotional issue. How does that feel if the work you prefer to create is not valued in the marketplace? It can take a thick skin to deal with that.
I suppose there really are no answers to a lot of my questions. Each of us has to make that decision for ourselves. This does tie in with recurring thoughts I have had about my style. I don't feel that I could work in the same style or the same theme for 30 years. This isn't a negative judgment of those who do, because others may have more focus and be able to explore a concept more deeply than I. But I struggle with how to keep things fresh, and also maintain a recognizable style.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.