by Mike McNamee Published 01/10/2015
Chiara Fersini's work tends to be very allegorical and almost always carriesa descriptive title to reinforce this. This is also reflected in her body of work,that has been used for book covers. Most of us proudly show off our singleor perhaps double successes in book-cover usage. Chiara has a list spreadingacross several sheets of A4! Her work is also lifted into the creative categoryby her style. Style is difficult to define but easy to spot. In other words if youshowed an experienced observer a body of her work they would then be ableto pick out more of it from a diverse collection of various artists. If you look atthe 12 representative images from the recent gallery announcement at AFKin Portugal, Chiara's work (top left) was instantly recognisable. This is what wemean by 'style' - a collection of features that build recognition of belonging.
Despite not being able to completely define and categorise styles there arecertain things that might act as marker. Overall colour tone is a classic marker;Picasso went though his blue phase, Monet his mainly blue phase (induced byhis cataracts, but dramatically changed after his operation). Lack of colour canalso be a marker - at its simplest, some work in monochrome photographyothers only sketch in pencil. A desaturated colour look is something of a stylemarker typified by some, but not all, of George Fairbairn's images and certainlyby Jamie Thompson's series (Studio Rouge - http://studiorouge.co). Jamie'sseries is of particular note because it was a style he developed and used for asingle body of work, very much outside of his normal commercial style.
Things in an image sometimes provide a style marker. One photographer weknow has a signature style of fairies and they appear in almost all of her workincluding wedding coverage (which her clients love!). Bowler hats and pipessuggest Magritte; long-legged spindly animals, Dali. Much of Hockney's work ischaracterised by the flat tones and pastel palette. One thing to be alert to whenstudying style is that sometimes a characteristic style object such as Magritte'spipe only appear on one or two much-published images and are thus not partof their style, only part of a small body of images. In fantasy work the style ofweapons is often repeated simply because the props are very expensive!
Perspective can contribute to style, more so if it is distorted to create anexaggerated effect. Totally false perspective and trick effects can also denotestyle as in MC Escher's drawings, although because they are mechanical innature they are easily copied or imitated.
For the creative artists we feature in this issue we asked them how they defined'the creative image'. As you might expect, the answers are as varied as theirimagery. We also asked about how much work they created. This too is varied.Vikki Boulter averages two pieces per day, whereas your editor only managesabout two per year! The number is irrelevant (unless you are making and sellingimages!) and such width of output has been present for all of art history. Picassowas prolific; his output is estimated at 50,000 works although there are anestimated 100,000 prints or engravings. Monet made about 2,500, Mondriana mere 250 and there are only 20 Leonardo da Vinci paintings recognised byexperts.
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