Friday, November 11, 2011

Some serious soul-searching...

I was discussing art with a client once, and I was showing her the different things I'd done in the past. There were huge abstracts and floral works on canvas, delicate watercolours on paper, graphic black and white pieces, and a few figurative bits and bobs. She commented that she'd never guess they were all done by the same artist. Which, if I'm honest, threw me a little bit. Did that mean I was too scattered in my approach? Did it all look a bit hit and miss? Should I work on developing a particular 'style' and stick with it? I'd never really though about it too much before, and had always just painted what I liked, whatever that may be. Which seems completely natural to me, but maybe that's not the best way to approach this business. I mulled it over for a while, trying to decide what to do.

Then, a discussion with a friend put things in a whole new perspective. We both often joke that we really need a good half-dozen houses, just so we can decorate them in all the styles we like. Breezy and beachy, clean and modern, heritage, country....they all hold a certain appeal, and I could quite happily live in my version of any one of them. So why not art? Who's to say I need to stick to one style - surely there are no rules? I like to rotate my paintings with the seasons; darker, moodier pieces for winter, fresh and bright for summer. And why not combine lots of styles into one glorious mish-mash? I decided to go in search of the best examples of this approach, and think these pics prove without a doubt that 'eclectic', although done to death, really is rather fabulous when done right.

So, I'd love to hear what you think? And if anyone is a marketing-guru extraordinaire, then I'd also love your thoughts from a business perspective. But at the end of the day, I am who I am, and this is how I work.

Thanks guys, you're the best. Hit me with your best advice...I'm ready.

sorry, but lots of these images were saved ages ago...long before I was savvy enough to record the source. I know a few are courtesy of Lonny and Rue magazines, and some via If anyone knows more, please let me know and I'll credit accordingly. Thanks!


  1. As another artist, I think it's fantastic to be so diverse! You must paint what inspires matter the style in which the art would fall under!

  2. Kerri I say that it's fabulous that you are able to be so versatile, it's what makes! The fact that you are able to create many different styles of work makes you the unique and very talented designer that you are. We create and design how we feel in the moment and isn't it wonderful to be able to find inspiration in all areas of life as well as design.Have a wonderful weekend kerri xx

  3. You've said it yourself my are what you are. Authenticity beats limitation any day of the week don't you think :) And I love everything you do. Eclectics of the world unite!

  4. Kerri...I have often thought this about myself and the way I work...paint..create. This is an interesting topic because funnily enough..I was in the same kind of dilemma earlier on in the year when I first launched my etsy store..the advice that was given to me was to take my strongest piece/s of work and stick to a similar range, that is best because the more styles you have it becomes confusing to customers, when they can recognise your style of work they will remember you, when you have a few different styles it all morphs in their mind and they are more likely to forget you.

    This was the most valuable advice given to me...and I have made a point of being very aware of this with each new artwork I create for my store in particular...BUT...and this is a big BUT...this also goes against what is instinctual for more artists...or creative minds for that matter..generally when inspiration hits like a lightening bolt to the head and we are suddenly flooded with a huge surge of creative energy to CREATE...but what we create all depends on where our inspiration has come from or what sudden ideas pop into our heads. We source our inspiration from almost anything and everything...SO...the struggle then is..what do you do? do you say...Oh no ...that doesn't tie in with the theme I have going in my store at the moment...and put that idea to rest. you just...DO what naturally comes to you..with soul and passion..and hope that your piece of artwork resonates , connects, speaks to others ..that they find themselves gravitating towards it because it evokes certain feelings in them.

    Something that I still struggle with constantly. store looks a million times better when there is a theme or series of painting happening.

    My advice just to put it all out there....see what comes back..if you get a lot of positive feedback..then that can only be a good thing..right? and if not much response or feedback at all...then this is also good to lets you know what sells..and what doesn't.

    It doesn't mean that your work is just means that..right now...this is whats hot...and whats not!

    I don't think my comment has helped much...but all I can say is that everything you have ever put out there Kerri I have loved...for many different reasons...and just like the seasons...we evolve..and change and grow..and looking back at your artwork is a great way to see how you have evolved, changed, grown.

    No different to say a top model suddenly coming out with her own range of lingerie, or a cook book , or music...the world is your don't hold back all that creative talent you have...its a gift and it will give back to you when you share it with others.

    Anna x

  5. My sister-in-law's cousin is a very successful artist in Germany - but she is frustrated by having to produce what people know her by to make money. Maybe the moral is that business advice would be: be consistent, and artistic advice is to follow what calls to you. Which is no help at all!

  6. I think art is about expressing a feeling. Because our feelings change from moment to moment, it makes sense that your art would take on different moods.

    I agree that there is something to appreciate about every different style.

    Your art is lovely.


  7. Kerri, I have this same problem all the time!! But I decided a few months back to stop trying to put my decorating style into one look and stay true to myself which is eclectic, I love the way an eclectic house speaks to you, it has stories to tell!

  8. Hi Kerri, love your blog and your art also:)

    I write novels and we are always told to write in the same style over and over to build a 'brand'--like McDonald's--people know what they're getting when they pick up a book by Stephen King or Dan Brown. It's why a lot of us write different genres under different names, so our readers won't be disappointed when we try something different. I think it's not the same with art, though, because presumably your clients won't buy everything you do -- different clients buy different pieces that appeal to them.

    Why shut yourself off from variety if it gives you pleasure and keeps your creativity fresh?

    Just my .02

  9. Kerri...this is coming from one who lives in, what I refer to, as an indigenous eclectic world. It has rhyme and reason to us, we love it all. I say, approach the same with your art. I would be disappointed if you just stayed with one style of work... shouldn't we always be stretching ourselves, exploring and thinking outside the box? Your work is lovely, and genuinely appreciated by all. Paint with the seasons, paint by the brightness of the day, paint by the moonlight, paint to the rhythms of the guess is that each time you will find something new and different. That is what I love about painting and are so lucky to be such a gifted artist. I say..Go for it! x:)

  10. Hello!
    I don't ever comment on your blog because I never feel like I have any authority on decorating/art/beautiful stuff to contribute...but I have to tell you that I adore your art and I love it's eclecticism.
    If a rainbow was only one colour it wouldn't be a rainbow anymore would it? You are a talented artist and exploring different mediums and subjects makes your art and you more interesting :)

  11. I feel like that about design as well, why be put in a box? You have to be true to you - whatever that may be at a particular time! It just shows you are multi-talented - variety is the spice of life as they say! x

  12. Kerri...this is a great post.
    I am a gallery owner and this is a common dilema among my artists. My major piece of advice to them is to always paint with passion. For some artists a style emerges from the experimentation of trying different things, for others it is a more cathartic experience of letting the moment capture them and their choice of subject, medium etc. I would say as long as you have passion for what you are creating then you are good.
    When people buy art (those with a true appreciation for art) they generally buy because a piece has spoken to them in some manner. Sometimes they collect a particular artist but even so they still buy work from other artists in often in other styles, therefore their art collection becomes by nature eclectic...eclectic is good in my opinion and if it comes from a single artist so be it.
    These are just my observations from my perspective as a designer and gallery owner.
    Thanks for sharing and Happy Friday!

  13. This is a great thought provoking post!

    I'm not a marketing guru and not a formal artist but my honest opinion from a purely creativity perspective is that you have to express your creativity and bring it out in every unique way that your creative mind wanders. Yes, you might be all over the board but who knows where that might take you and how you will grow from it and potentially be very successful at it. You may THINK that you need to narrow to a certain style and look but what if that is not your creative destiny?

    I always really think it through when my mind starts going down the road of "narrowing" my focus or creativity to better define or create a niche to be more successful. I think about it a lot! When I start asking myself those questions about narrowing, I always seem to get to the point of realizing that harnessing or trying to control my creativity is in essence bringing something synthetic into my totally natural creative world. I think creating more of something that is successful is always a great solution and idea from a business point of view, but if your creative mind wants to go somewhere new, be cautious in not exploring it, it may be your creative destiny.

    People that really understand and appreciate creativity will love your work even more in seeing how vast your creativity is. From a business perspective, by having a more diverse collection, you can appeal to wider audience as well!

    Ok, off of my soap box now. I am sure you will receive a lot of opinions and suggestions. I hope something I say will help you in your soul search. You are so very talented and I just love everything that you do!


  14. I am with you Kerri I love so many styles I need a million houses! I believe it is ok for you to do all different styles, after all you do them all so well and that is the main thing! xx

  15. I am so jealous that you are capable and flexible enough to be 'scattered in your approach' as you say. I would love to be able to embrace different aesthetics... but I am always drawn to one style really. Your art comes from the heart, that is why it is so popular and loved. Embrace your wonderful, varied skills Kerri. You are so talented. A-M xx

  16. I'd love to have houses in different styles. That would be fantastic! Have a gorgeous weekend, Kellie xx

  17. It's such an interesting question you ask, Kerri, and one i do think about often. I think it all depends on what you're in business to achieve. If success is to be measured in terms of revenue, then I think there's an argument for putting a lot of effort into finding out what people will buy more of and just keep producing that.
    Or success can be measured by how much satisfaction you get out of both producing the work and seeing others enjoy it. In that scenario, then it's essential to produce what comes to you naturally.
    For me, creative pursuits are all about the latter. Doing what you love invests your work with passion and energy, whatever the style or subject matter- that's worth its weight in gold. Xxx

  18. I think your incredibly talented and I love that your flexible with your style, why change a good thing, be true to yourself, I often get confused about my own style because I love so many different looks too, but then again doesn't that make a good decorator? one that can adapt to a clients desired look, I think the same applies to art! xx

  19. Kerri it's a bit like owning a clothing boutique - if you only stocked one style or colour of clothing then you have instantly alienated more than half of your clientele.

    I love how diverse your work is & don't think you should change a thing!

    Love K

  20. I'm with you...I get bored of the same style and love to experiment with different styles & mediums. To me that's the fun of it!!!
    Suzie xx



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