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specializing

I have thought a lot about specializing.
My father once described a commercial he saw on german television: the commercial asks, ‘which would you rather listen to?’ showing first a plays all musician with cymbols on the knees, an accordian, and harmonica. The second image was a symphony violinist. The point he was trying to make was clear.

To make great things you have to focus.
A lot of marketing advice reccomends specializing. Do one thing, and do it well. Don’t try and be everything to everyone. In order to become a master artist, you must focus your attention exclusively on your craft. Multi-tasking and ‘having too many irons in the fire’ can be counter-productive.

I can’t focus, I want to do it all!
I paint: with oils, acrylics, watercolor…anything!
landscapes, portraits, whimsical, abstracts…depending on my mood. I work with clay and can’t decide whether to work with functional (cups, bowls, etc) pottery or sculptural…so i do both. I tend to obsessively work on one thing until I reach a point where i am burnt out, and then i will shift to something else. It is a good cure for artist’s block.

I am trying to tie everything together.
In spite of my different moods and mediums, a unique voice is developing. My style is a fusion of many different passions. I have been working in series with the idea that each painting will relate to the one painted before and after it. The goal is a uniform look when all the paintings are shown together in a room. It is hard sometimes to avoid tangents, but they can be the next series.

That’s as close as I can get to specializing.
I know that not all artists have a problem with focus, because it shows in their work. I wonder if they had to struggle against the desire to ‘try everything’ before focusing? As I continue to develop, my many obsessions might fuse into one great work. I hope so.

Can anyone else relate to this?
I am interested in hearing any stories and suggestions. Are you a good multi-tasker? What techniques do you use to focus on a project? Do you know any successful ‘jack-of-all trades’? What do you think was their secret?

I really would like to hear your comments…if you aren’t sure how to post to the blog, feel free to email me: usartdude@hotmail.com