Perhaps yes? The truth is, there isn’t really a definitive answer to that question. But what I can say is that the students can most definitely work towards it. I recently read Katy Cowan’s post on Lisa Congdon and her new book – How to Find Your Artistic Voice: An Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic; and I have to admit that Congdon’s advice is gold!
As an educator, I’ve noticed the desire of students in their teens to feel like they ‘belong’ or they ‘fit-in’; more so in social circles than anything else. But that desire follows them to their lessons and translates into – Do people like my work? What do they think about it? This eventually clouds their judgment and affects their confidence as well as their ideas. Research gets limited to the various boards on Pinterest and the room for exploration or experimentation narrows more than ever. How do we get these students to breakthrough their cocoon?
Congdon says that ‘conformity is for the birds’. ‘When it come to being creative, having your own unique style is your ammo. She also says “the process of finding your voice is like uncovering your own superpower. Your artistic voice is what sets you apart and, ultimately, what makes your work interesting, distinctive, worthy of discourse, and desired by others.”
So what defines your artistic voice? In simple words – it is your personal point of view comprising of your individual style. As Condon writes, this means your “color palette, symbols, lines and markings”; also “your skill, your subject matter, your medium and the consistency with which you use all of these things.”
At secondary school stages, with a thousand things that children have to do – oh the plight of an Indian student – it is difficult to find time and inspiration to consistently work towards finding one’s voice. What I’ve seen work at the academy though is the constant motivation and support through one-on-one conversations and tutorials that encourages students to embark on a journey of self-discovery (and the journeys are quite satisfying). Now I’d love to go on writing about what Congdon says and what I’ve observed but what’s the point? Read what Condon says at your own convenience. Read Cowan’s post on Creative Boom if you want a snapshot. And if you are even more interested, go ahead and buy the book. I did and I am certain that I’m going to enjoy reading it.