I was recently asked to do an interview for the Skillshare blog about being a multidisciplinary artist. For me this practice has come about quite organically. As opportunities presented themselves I made the choice whether or not it felt true and authentic to me and then went in that direction. A by-product of that practice has been a career that is multi faceted. It was a fun experience to reflect on some of these life choices and I wanted to share a little of the Q & A here.
1. How did you establish yourself as a multi-disciplinary artist? Where did you start (what genre, field, etc.), and how did you expand from there?
I realized from a fairly young age that the traditional disciplines of drawing and painting were the mediums that fascinated me the most. It was over time and experience that I started to seek out other art-related fields. An artist’s chosen practice has a lot to do with their overall personality. I say this because as an artist you are strongly connected with the art process itself. Some processes are meticulous, labor intensive, and very detail oriented, while others are fast paced, physical, and involve lots of improvising and immediate decision making. I do not think that I consciously chose to be a multi-disciplinary artist. It was actually a by-product of being interested in all the arts. There have been times I wish I was more laser-focused in my career, but looking back I am now glad I took time to learn and understand the arts as a collective entity. I think it can stunt and stagnate an artist’s work by cocooning oneself in mental and visual isolation. In other words, putting up blinders to all that the arts can offer. I believe there is much to be learned and synergy to be gained across the artistic spectrum.
2. Did anyone ever tell you (wrongly, of course) that you couldn’t pursue multiple things at once?
I think at times I have certainly told myself that! So much has changed in the art world since I started out and most certainly for the better! When I began my career, one was compartmentalized and forced down a certain path and direction. One was either a serious gallery artist, a teacher/professor, or went into the graphic art or design fields. It was very limiting in terms of the scope of what you could accomplish as a working artist. Thankfully, today things are drastically different. It is easy and affordable to have your own website and sell online. Galleries are more approachable and open to showcasing artists of all backgrounds and career levels. Companies, even very large ones, are more accessible and willing to work with artists and designers that are not in-house. Also, via social media, you can promote and market your work to a target audience for free. All of this has broken down barriers in the art world and allowed for some much needed cross breeding. Having different streams of income is so helpful as an artist, and today that is more possible than ever.