"The Signature Style"
During the course of my development as an artist I have used many styles. As students in Music & Art in the 1940s we worked from life; we were all realists or social realists. In the fifties I studied with Hans Hofmann, grasped the validity of analytic and synthetic cubism and became an abstract expressionist. Unsatisfied with non-objective abstraction I turned to gestural drawing. Realism became a default style. Then, in keeping with Bronx culture, I became a graffiti artist. Now, I combine all these styles into one that is uniquely my own. I work boldly and swiftly from life, draw gesturally, shift planes, recompose negative and positive space and look for meaning in form. It is my signature style if I have any. I celebrate life and the highest skills of an artist.
What is called a signature style is a marketing device. A work that is easily recognized as the work of a particular artist, and becomes a public favorite, is more likely to be sold. If it can be remade in large numbers with some variations, its art dealer becomes a financial success. If it can be published in multiples, so much the better. However, this is not in the best interests of the creative artist who may be expected to continue doing variations on his most successful work for the rest of his career. One artist, upon retirement announced, "Thank G-d, I am now free to be creative.
Some styles are more marketable than others. Impressionism has had a remarkable run. Cubism did very well once it caught the public interest although Picasso did not sell a single painting in his first cubist show. Hans Hofmann rejected non-objective art because The artist is painting from inside himself, without reference to anything outside himself and repeats himself endlessly. Such repetition is lifeless.
A painting must have a sense of life to feel right. Without that dynamism it will just be a decorative piece, not a true work of art. Hofmann was right. He hated decorative art. I want my work to be interesting to any viewer who may see it hundreds of years from now and will find it meaningful, satisfying and in good shape.