I've never noticed this trend on tumblr. But then again I mostly just follow architecture, natural science and fashion blogs.
In my opinion there's only so many variations that one can do with a portrait....and if an artist only does portraits well they end up getting repetitive.
I dunno, I can't say I'm a fan of Kawasaki and Mark Ryden... to me, it's not that they don't have skill, but that they just slip into a "style" so the consistency bothers me. Think Garfield the comic strip.
A trademark is good but my personal opinion is that it shouldn't be a crutch (and that conceptual trademarks seem to be stronger and age better than visual ones). Again, just my opinion, I did like pop surrealism when it first surfaced but now new pop surrealist artists adopt the visual language without really exploring it.
Personally, I could have liked Kawasaki, but seeing that she paints the same thing over and over just irks me to the point where I don't find that I like it at all. And really, that's why I get a little fatigued looking at pop surrealism now. It seems to be just rehashes of the same stuff. Cool at first, but do something different now! I guess I value a little bit of visual risk.
Edit: bcarmen... so you can paint pug asses? I'd like to see that
The fine art and illustration worlds have always had trends and always will... Often what happens is someone comes up with a unique "look" or unusual themes and gets attention, their work becomes popular, and suddenly everyone wants similar work. So other artists start doing similar work, because hey, that's what sells...
Though personally if I see one more ironic deer/girl with antlers/jellyfish in shades of hipster acid, I think I'll scream.
If you go back in history you will find that most painters/artists tend to explore in series or directions. Some of those directions can last longer than others some can last a lifetime. You need to remember in the scheme of things that Kawasaki is a very young artist and Ryden is not all that old either.
Mark Ryden is a completely different ball of wax than Audrey Kawasaki. For one thing he is an excellent painter. Kawasaki's work, for now at least, is about decorative image and not as much about paint. If you look at Ryden's body of work it is very diverse with repeating images as symbols. He has achieved something far beyond Kawasaki so lumping them together is a mistake.
So give me a genre and an artist you really like and we can find repetition and even mimicry.
And by the way Audrey Kawasaki's work isn't digital. Not sure why she came up other than the portrait repetition thing.Is it just me or do a lot of (amateur?) digital illustrators tend to paint the same blank-faced woman staring straight at the viewer?
Last edited by bcarman; May 7th, 2012 at 11:45 AM.
She isn't digital, true, but I think what I dislike about Kawasaki's work is the lack of diversity... for goodness sake, it's all the same composition! Central female face with lacy bits flowing around. I know that many artists work in series (Francis Bacon being one of my favorites, and lord knows he stuck with a theme for years like the popes or heads) but it's just... repetitive. I dunno. I guess I'm just tired of the mystic female with the bedroom gaze thing. Some of these new illustrators have great skill - just wish I could see what else they can do.
And yes, consistency sells. Being a one-trick pony can be beneficial if your trick is in demand. Besides, it's easier to remember a gimmick than to get familiar with an illustrator's full skill set.
For what it's worth, she CAN do other things. She has sketchbooks on her site which, if I recall, exhibit much greater variety. Similar style, still, but more risky poses and faces and even regular studies and life drawings which aren't so heavily stylized.
She also does a lot of craft projects. I don't think she's a one trick pony, I think she just has one FAMOUS trick that gets a lot of attention. Not her fault. It's a pretty trick.
'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
I guess this is a good ethical question. If you knew that you could make say at least $100,000 a year and achieve a certain kind of celebrity repeating a kind of image over and over, or at least a stylistic approach over and over, would you? Of course the question would suppose that you were skilled and good enough to have the choice.
My career has been a test of this in some ways. One of the reasons I ultimately chose teaching as part of what I do is that I can jump in any direction and still feed the family. I've had opportunities and cues which would have taken me in very lucrative directions but eschewed them. Sometimes I regret it mostly not.
I think many of these very visible artists have learned the marketing game which the internet provides. They have grown up digitally and working cyberspace is natural to them. Even if we see artists whose images seem to never change, we never know if it is the extent of what they can and do do. I said do do. It's easy to criticize but what would you do if money and fame were being waved in your face.
Last edited by bcarman; May 7th, 2012 at 11:45 AM.