Finding Your Artistic Voice
By Kerri Williams
Finding Your Artistic Voice
by Kerri Williams
We use tools to create our work, but tools are simply that, tools. They can create, but they can’t express. The expression of our art comes from within, not from the tools of our trade.
This brings us to voice. Voice is a little bit of talent and a lot of internal personal expression.
But the question is not so much what is our voice, I think deep down we know it, but rather how we find and express our voice.
We know what we like, but maybe not quite how to express it. Therefore, imitation becomes the first step to finding our voice. And while imitation is a good start, it’s not what we want. Imitation sorts out our liking and becomes our inspiration to create original work. Imitation may become part of the learning process in regards to the tools we use, but it can never become our true voice.
When I first began listening to my voice, I would look at photos of other art photographers wondering how they accomplished the final outcome. I didn’t want to copy, because maybe it was only a small corner of their image that struck me.
Therefore, listening to my voice wasn’t so much about taking ideas from other artists, it was about playing with my own ideas based on their art. It was a short phase of my artistic discovery until my voice made itself known.
My voice came through from my old world soul, and that’s what I wanted my art to represent. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s also a playful side in me and sometimes there’s just beauty and softness and flow. This is what I want to show the world through my art. But my true voice projects from the old world soul.
I tend to add aging effects to my photos. I like stone and paper textures. I like out of focus images (sometimes). I like edges and deep textures. I don’t always know what image will come about with all of this. I do know that on some images this doesn’t work. I know on others it’s essential.
Because my art photography voice speaks from inside, it’s one of those things that I’ll know when I see. Sometimes it just comes, other times I have to work it.
But it’s not just the photography. It comes about in writing also. I deal with universal concepts that tug at my soul. I go deep in the dark. I wrestle with universal questions that can’t be answered. Old world soul.
So where does that leave us with voice? Voice is something that lives within you. It’s not something that you really discover, but something that unfolds as you continue to pursue your creativity. You know you want to be original and unique, and often the only thing holding your voice back is your fear of believing in yourself.
Ask yourself why you want to pursue this particular creative venture. Are you being true in you creation? Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with your art. Are you fulfilling that need? Ask yourself who you’re doing this for and why.
Another aspect of voice is the constant battle of acceptance. While the brain will tell you to play it safe, show only what others will like (yeah, like we can determine that), you may continue with a struggle to fight your artistic voice for fear of every artist’s nightmare – the laugh, the disapproval, the unasked for critique. Let these things pass you by. Continuing to fight your artistic voice will only lead to disappointment and a sense of failure with your own work.
Voice comes from the heart, from the soul. You have to listen. And when the time is right, you will hear and your voice will loudly proclaim itself to you and the world.
Peace on your journey – Kerri
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