Art by Whom?

I just had a look at a blog where a number of art works by different artists were being displayed; great work, fantastic finishes, wonderful concepts.... Except that there wasn't a great deal of difference between one style and the next. (bar one artist - and I took a longer look.)
Artists don't seem to be particular in creating their signature beyond their actual signature these days. Having a similar style and finish seems to be coming more and more of the norm in the creation of art. 

When I look at an art work, I anticipate being able to tell which artist it is, just by looking at it - distinctive and telling style is not just a part of being original, it is a part of the artist distinguishing themselves as an artistic identity. 

Sure, people argue these days that there is no such thing as original, it's all been done before - I think this argument is a cop out for people who are angry that they don't have a larger imagination. Every individual who is capable of pronouncing themselves as an artist is capable of combining that which has come before with their own perception and interpretation of their individual experience. It is not just content or subject that is the action of art - it is the revelation and the evolution of the artist as well that creates a work of art that is beyond the crowd. 

I can look at a Turner and know it's a Turner. I can look at a picture untitled, unsigned and know at a glance it's by HR Giger. I can look at a Dali, and know that no matter how many worshippers try to emulate his style, it will always be his.

The Persistence Of Memory - Salvador Dali


The question is, why emulate another artist? True, to be spellbound by the works of our art heroes is inspiration and motivation for we artists to strive and continue to burn for our own work - but that's the point isn't it? OUR OWN WORK.

Art has always suffered the mainstream prejudices of the uninitiated art lover - the works being displayed on social media, blogs and websites are, in the majority, the same flavour. And usually show up next to the kitten in the bonnet with the funny joke. Such is the nature of the public gallery, and we live with it. However it seems to me that artists themselves are buying into the circus of the acceptable artist - I know with certainty a number of artists who refuse to publish what they really think because they want to be acceptable - they want people to like them.

Whoever heard of an artist who wanted to be liked?


A likeable artist never broke the social mould, never put themselves forward as the beyond that they sought to create - artists, burdened by their constant and consistent observation of the world in all its schisms and motivations, haunted by their own dreams and drained by the persistence of apathy that surrounds them, rarely view themselves as anything but idiosyncratic quasi-mythical disturbances in reality.  It doesn't mean that they can't get along with other people - they're just not other people.  I'm privileged to know some of the people behind the mask of their online persona - why aren't you?

So if they're not other people, why is the art starting to look the same? For that matter why are the artists on social media all starting to sound the same? For all that the public are willing to mouth cliches of 'be different', and 'live outside the box', they continue to respond to that which is easily recognized, for them. But an artist should be easily recognized - by their own work.