I don’t really know that style is important to BE an artist, I honestly think it’s far from it. However, if you want to be a recognizable, commercial (ie: make real money), and memorable artist, it’s pretty important. I don’t want to be one of those “consistency is key” people, but…
The furniture painting world is actually pretty small, although those of us in it are usualy in pretty deep. It becomes a way of life. All you think about. All you want to talk about. From finding pieces, redesigning them, giving them a new finish, to staging them, we want to know all about the process.
We cling to the ones who have a style, like they are a superstar. In our world, they are Elvis. We cling to every tutorial, catch every live, and most importantly for them, buy every color, brush, and new tool. We want what they have. A following. Big money. Brands begging for their attention. A future in the painting business. To be a “real” artist.
As we are learning, testing the waters, trying to find our own inner artist, we try to mimic them. The ones that already know who they are. Then, if we’re lucky, or maybe just hardworking and business-minded, we develop a style of our own.
When I am scrolling through social media, I can tell you in a heartbeat if a piece was done by Dionne Woods (The Turquoise Iris), Leah Rex (Leah Noelle Design Co.), Q Uitta Allen (All Shabbed Out), or Sonia Miller (Junk Monkey Paint Company), and Brittany Pistole (Funky Furniture Facelifts by Brittany Pistole) (Their pieces are always unique and fresh, but they still have that same “artist’s style”, whether it be in the painting technique or the staging of their pieces. They have developed a recognizable style, and are great examples of artists to follow.
5 Ways to Develop Your Style
1. Consider your personality. Are you moody and dark, or bright and bubbly? Do you have a favorite clothing style? Tailored and sleek, soft and romantic, bright and casual? Look around your home, in your closet, what style do you see? Take the lead from your comfort zone. Paint in your wheelhouse. The work will flow easily and steady. Sonia Miller of Junk Monkey Paint Company does this beautifully. She is a Shabby Chic kind of girl, and we see it in every piece that she paints. Sonia takes us with her on her thrift hauls, and takes us along as they are rehabbing an old house that they bought. Always different, always shabby. Sonia has built her brand on shabby, and has 2 paint lines within Junk Monkey Paint Company, and sells chip brushes, head wraps, leggings, and other miscellanea that fit within her painting (and decorating) style.
2. What is your favorite furniture style? Do you have a thing for armoires? Are you a Farmhouse table type of girl? Are you the queen of finding perfect Jacobean buffets? Think about the pieces that you really love. Love looking at, love looking for, love transforming. Q Uitta Allen creates beautiful beds. I don’t know if I have ever even seen another artist do one. Not ”do one” like Q Uitta does, anyway. She does other pieces, too, of course, but they still all have her dark, corroded, etherial, yet stately look. Not only is Q Uitta’s painting style recognizable, but she always stages in what looks like an old warehouse, with stucco walls and multi-paned windows, and more times than not, there is an old and tattered chair in the picture, somewhere. Her style is romantic, yet bold, and when you see a Q Uitta piece, you know it is hers.
3. What makes you smile? What brings you comfort? Are you a math whiz who loves geometric shapes? Does chaos make you nervous? Do you believe everything has a place that it belongs? Do you love all things Disney, and thought you were going to grow up to be a Princess, until you were about 12? Choose a theme for your style. Brittany Pistole of Funky Furniture Facelifts by Brittany Pistole creates the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous and intricately detailed pieces that I have ever seen. They are stately and huge, with funky colors and patterns, and look like they should be in Willie Wonka’s house! They are whimsical, but the attention to detail is what makes her pieces show stoppers. She must have the steadiest hands on the planet! It doesn’t matter if Brittany photographs her pieces in her garage, in the yard, or in their final home, you know who the artist was behind the pieces, from the very first glance.
4. Do you have a favorite color? An innate sense of style that grows as you grow? Do you just “know” what will work, or are you willing to try whatever it takes to get the look and feel that you are going for? Do you just want to do art and play around? Do you like “all the things” in the tool department, or do you have a favorite brush and stick to it? Dionne Woods of The Turquoise Iris is a trailblazer in this arena. She knows her style, and she sticks with it. Of course she modifies it, and steps out of the box when she wants, but a Dionne is still a Dionne, is still #dothedionne. Yep, she has a hashtag named after her. We ALL want to #dothedionne.