On Abstract Art

What do you get when you take away all recognizable forms? Letting the natural patterning of the flow of paint reflect the patterning in gases and nebulous forms in the galaxy and the universe? That is some of what I try to explore when I do abstract work.

It is, for me, a huge department from my usual work. How do I reconcile my abstract work with my pop art origins? I always want to compartmentalize: separate certain work from others – ‘anime’ style stuff should be separate from ‘fine art realism’ should be separate from ‘abstract’. But I also wonder what it would be like, and how I could, bring it all together.

Some advantages of abstract art:

  • In some ways, it’s more accessible. I have family and friends who don’t typically like my more figurative stuff be more receptive to abstract pieces.
  • Second part to the above: would be easier to sell at art shows and craft fairs, since it’s much more broadly known than, say, doctor who fanart.
  • No references needed (technically, but photographic inspiration for color/form is good).
  • It’s easy to explain. What do you paint? “Abstract watercolors.” Two words, simple.
  • Would fit better in traditional galleries and fine art shops than something with definite illustrative influences.
  • Saleability should not be underrated: abstract art, with good color and nice shapes, can be a good accent to a room, and a lot of designers and modernists seek it out.
  • It’s faster, which means more art can be made on a regular basis.


Some disadvantages of abstract art:

  • No references needed. I start thinking down the line things like, if I were to just do abstract art, would I need my collection of reference images? Would I still look at a fern and think about how beautiful it is and how much I want to draw it?
  • Alienating my current audience. I’ve spent years waffling around the illustration online community – I’m not known very well by any means, but I’m sure there are people who have followed or added me online who aren’t expecting a sudden turn of subject.
  • Similarly, it doesn’t quite fit my Etsy shop, either.

Right now it’s only been about three days and three paintings into it. I know myself; I am fickle. My work always changes – subject and style. I could get tired of this in a week. In fact I had an idea for a 30 day challenge to do fan art the night before, but got up the next morning and did something completely different. Sometimes I feel there’s a disconnect between what I think is a good idea artistically, and what I actually end up doing. At this point, though, all I can do is keep painting what keeps coming to mind. I have to tell myself not to force anything but also not to forcibly quell any inspirations, either – just let it flow out.


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