Finding Your Style

Most artists have their own particular style. This style can be defined by the subject of the art (landscape, abstract, portrait, still life, etc.), color schemes (Picasso’s Blue period, Rothko’s different color fields, and the like), or most likely a combination of both. Great artists define or expand art with their style. Dali is instantly recognizable, but many are hard pressed to name many more surrealists. Landscape painting has been in existence for most of history, even if they were primarily used as backgrounds for portraits (look behind the face on the Mona Lisa), but it wasn’t until the Hudson School of painting that it really hit it’s stride, at least in my opinion.

As collectors, it is important for us to identify our style. It can be as diverse as we want it to be, but the best collections are generally centered around some sort of theme. Dorothy and Herb Vogel primarily collected Minimalist art, but also supported conceptual artists. Are you interested in landscapes, the color purple, wildlife scenes, or something more specific like Mormon art after the pioneer days? I find that I am attracted to groupings of small works to form a larger, overall work. My first commission was based on this idea.

The artist who inspired me in this concept is Shawn Wolter ( When doing research about art, collecting art, and local artists, I found his web site. While looking through his work, he had a picture of a grouping of many smaller works. Right after, I read about a showing at the Museum of Modern Art where an artist made a large work that was a grid. Each grid was a different color with a slightly different painting style with lines connecting all the sections. It hit me that here we had two ideas, a large work made to look like it is small and small works that are arranged to look big. My favorite works in my collection have been influenced by this idea.

I recently bought several pieces from Shawn of many different sizes, colors, and even styles. As someone passionate about his art, and generally a very helpful person, Shawn helped pick the pieces and arrangement for the work. Using small pieces in a random looking placement makes the space and the overall effect look huge. The “spill over” effect onto the wall and to the other side of the fan shows that the work is too big to be contained. To me this is an interesting idea for paintings that individually are small.
Near this work is a piece I commissioned of 24 small works in a grid. This gives a dissonance that I find not only eye-catching, but playfully ironic. When I purchased this work, this is exactly the effect I wanted.
Find your style. It will not only make each piece more meaningful to you, but the collection itself will become greater than the sum of its parts.

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