How do you define your style?

The Glorious Monster

By definition style is a particular, distinctive, or characteristic mode of action or manner of acting. To me style  is a definition of who you are as an artist. Many things help shape that definition such as where you studied your craft, which artists inspire you the most as well as what constitutes art in your eyes.

Growing up I’ve met all types of artists:

  • The Carbon Copy: someone who mirrors their work so closely to someone else that it’s hard to tell the two artists apart.
  • The Shape Shifter: the artist has spent so much time searching for their own style by mimicking others that they can’t help but shift into different identities in each piece they do.
  • The Non-Believer: this person just lacks confidence in their ability to embrace their own work. They believe that they should follow the path of someone else in order to find their own style.
  • The Old Dirty Bastard: he truly believes there is no father to his style. Says things like “I’m the only who creates work like this. I’m an innovator.” In actuality there many people who are very similar to you.
  • The Vanguard: One who absorbs the knowledge of those before them and leads the pack. Not by reinventing the wheel but by merging what they’ve learned into something that defines who they are.

The thing about style, in order to find your own you have to play the role of some of the personas listed above. In the end, like most art related philosophies, it comes down to confidence. Do you believe in yourself enough to trust your own instinct on what is art?
Personally I’ve followed many comic book artist on my artistic journey because that’s the medium I grew up around. John Byrne, Walt Simonson, Arthur Adams, Joe Madureira & Jim Lee are some of the artists who have influenced and dominated my studies growing as a kid artist. I looked to them because at the time, this is all I knew and I felt they were the best in the business. And in order for me to achieve success I needed to be more like them.
In reality I just didn’t think my work was strong enough. I was self-conscious about my style. But over time I’ve become more comfortable with it for better or worst. Either way it’s me. When you see my work you know that Pope Phoenix created that piece. That is what you want. Instant recognition. No label or copyright needed. That is what style is. Its basically your brand, your logo, your calling card.
I ask you, what is your style? Who were your influences? What’s holding you back from embracing your style completely and utterly? Have you branched out from what you’ve seen and defined yourself as a Vanguard?

The Glorious Monster

These sketches are from 2003



5 thoughts on “How do you define your style?

  1. So, to you, those are the only kind of artists? Interesting point of view. While I seriously love your work and have sided with you a few times in the past, I don’t share in all your beliefs. To each is own my friend. I thank you for having the balls to speak out about it! That’s part of what makes you a great illustrator.

  2. What makes an artist? Are there different types of artists? If so, what? Share your thoughts and wisdom.

  3. AO, being an artists is just about being willing to follow your artistic vision as guide to express your thoughts. As for the type of artists, this is no way the full gamut of artists that exist. There are hundreds of types or artists, the list I wrote doesn’t even include the Egotistical Genius aka the Kanye West or the Tiny Giant, the artist who is incredible but doesn’t think their work is good. The list is massive.

    The art world is a very subjective place and we as artists are always subjective to our own interpretation of what art is.

  4. Pope, I agree with that perspective and was thinking your original post lacked in that it appeared to peg some of us circles in to a square hole. If you catch my meaning. I didn’t want an artist such as yourself to be assumed egotistical or to,good for the people, as it came off in a negative condentation. You are an amazing artist! I personally know several. I see some of them (no mention of name) get to cocky once they have hit a certain stride in thier work. I hate to see it. I didn’t want to imagine that happend to you. Clearly, it hasn’t and you have a firm grip on reality. I apologize if i come off rude or crass in this. It’s not my intention. Sometimes typing words alone doesn’t fully express ones dialect, tone or inflection. I love your work a,d respect you ememcely. Thank you for the heart felt response. Ill see you on Instagram and will be visiting your shop today to purchase some of your works sir. Be well

  5. Josh, I didn’t see it as rude or crass. The internet is an open forum and I welcome debate on the things that I posts thats why I have a comments section. How else do we become better artists and humans if we don’t challenge each others ideals.

    Its sad that some of your friends have become engulfed in the swell of ego that goes hand in hand with our craft. I too have an ego but I try to balance it with helping other artists as often and as much as I possibly can. Being a dick or egotistical is easy since you are basically living without any restrictions doing whatever you want. Its harder to live with guidelines than it is to without them. In time hopefully they will come down off the high of their work and see things differently.

    Also, thank you for all your kind words and support. Hope you enjoy that print.

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