5 Ways to drop the struggle from finding your unique VOICE.Thursday April 12, 2012
It’s the question I get asked most often, and always with much anxiety and angst:
How do I find my own unique voice?
No need to search, your unique voice is present and waiting to be heard.
Michelangelo is credited with saying that he sculpted David from a single piece of marble, chipping away all that was NOT David until David emerged, set free from the stone.
So here is a simple strategy plan to get you chipping away.
Think like Mother Nature.
It’s hard to recognize that your own style has started to emerge.
Work with a professional your trust to tell you what he or she sees in common with different examples of your work. Write it down. Don’t make any judgements. Use the info as insights to your uncovering process. When I first started art directing fashion shoots, I was told that my work was “clean” and “classic”. I would have preferred hearing “edgy” and “trendy”, but I stopped fretting and eventually got known and hired by clients looking for exactly my style, clean and classic.
Fall in Love.
Find an artist who style you love.
Look outside of your field. Study the common threads in every piece of that artist's work. I was proud of myself in knowing I could open any magazine and, without looking at the cover, could name the publication. I was tuned into the nuances of typography and studied how how the magazine revealed itself no matter what page it was thumbed to. "Seeing" what's not obvious, but contributes to the unique voice overall, is a skill worth studying.
To make your voice stronger you edit.
When putting together your portfolio, either online or in hard copy, you need to edit. And then edit again. Even if you are in love with a piece, if it doesn’t make your “voice” stronger, don’t show it. Five strong pieces carry a lot more weight then 10 that are not coherent.
A tricky skill in this day and age.
Everything we do today is "so 20 seconds ago." Immediate results is the norm. So treat your emerging voice like you would signing up for a new class at the gym. Change takes time and consistency, and like any muscle, the more you work it the stronger and more refined it becomes.
You are perfect where you are. You can’t rush a good soup or a marinade. Give yourself the time to let all the ingredients blend and blossom, and remember Michelangelo's David as you too chip away.