Color Style Kyle

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The Artist’s Spirit: Starting Out – Part 6 – Willingness To Evolve

Posted by Kyle Design on May 15, 2007

So, you want to be an artist. How do you know you have what it takes to make a career of it? This is the sixth in a series about what it takes to survive by a woman artist who has so far managed to make a living at her work for 25 years.

Willingness To Evolve – Be ready and willing to evolve. You might have a great selling line but in time the appeal is likely to fade as tastes and styles change. You simply cannot rest on your laurels. Once people have seen your work around for a while it will no longer be the latest thing, the fresh new look. My path has been quite varied. Handpainted Silk Bracelets and EarringsI started out as a fiber artist, hand-painting large abstract silk wall pieces. I moved on to batik scarves, then hand-painted silk jewelry. The jewelry evolved into combining the silk with etched metal frames so I could break out of the basic round mold. I had a long run with jewelry, coming up with many diverse looks using mixed metals, manipulated wire and Conemporary Nibium Jewelrycolorful aluminum, among other interesting materials. Each look was so radically different than last that customers had no idea it was still my work until I pointed out my name on it. Then I moved into home furnishings – switchplates, Christmas ornaments and night lights. Abstract Shell Business Card HoldersBusiness card holders and personal fashion accessories followed. That is just my experience, but the point is the same for any artist. Don’t sit back and think you can get by through your whole career with just one style. (Some have, but that is the exception, rather than the rule.) You must always be working on something new, have something different ready in the wings. I sold at Arts & Crafts fairs for years, and I found that customers are more inclined to check back periodically with you to see what cool new thing you’ve come up with now if they can count on you to deliver. The last think you want is customers thinking to themselves, “Oh, I’ve already seen her work, let’s find something new.” When a customer asks, “What’s new?”, you do not want your only reply to be, “The prices.” (!)

My work definitely has evolved over the years – I absolutely love designing and inventing new products. In the beginning I worried I wouldn’t be able to come up with any new designs or products or styles that people would Antique Art Deco Tape Measurerespond to or would want to buy. As the years have gone by that fear has receded. I have found that the more you design, the more of a mental portfolio of ideas, lines, color combinations, etc., that you have in your artistic vocabulary. Like learning a language, the more you use it the more comfortable it becomes. You learn as you go along, what works, what doesn’t. It is fun and it comes easily to me. Designing is still an extremely personal experience for me. It is invigorating yet exhausting at the same time.

Some artists warned me that once I had kids, that I would become less creative, perhaps because kids take so much time and energy or because so much effort would be pulled out of my creative endeavors and poured into my kids. But I have found just the opposite. IArtist Kyle McKeown Mansfield and her two daughters have gone through a huge period of growth and I think my girls were important to this. Kids are happy, energetic, and they are a wonderful means of getting out and having new experiences. Furthermore, I so want to share my thoughts and ideas with them, to teach them, and that keeps me in the creative mode. I bring them to my studio and let them play with all the colorful beads, ribbons, fabric, glass, etched metal parts, wires and other interesting bits and pieces I’ve collected over the years. I’m thrilled when I see the artistic side of them come out!

Looking over my life as an artist so far, I can assume that my work will continue to evolve. I look forward to seeing where I end up. I’m a type of inventor. Who knows where my mind will take me next? I have more ideas in my head than time to implement them. So I’m not worried. Life as an artist is an adventure and I embrace it.


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