Thursday, 20 January 2011

Giving Myself Some Good Advice #4: Originality is Golden Commodity (IF - Chicken)

I don't know if you'd agree with me, but these days I see art as a vast market with diverse sellers and buyers. Who ever said first that artists are doomed to live in poverty is probably biting their fingernails up to their elbow now! I know that success is a relatively flexible term, but be honest with yourself, would you feel the same way about entering this field, say 10 to 15 years back? Where I come from, especially when I was young, artists were equivalent to street painters who only made very little income compared to other professions. The successful ones underwent the same phase and typically found their fame in later years. I myself had a hard time having my parents to agree putting me to college and study art. Their skepticism was bitter and it haunted me for many years to come.

So what do you do to excel in the new world of art? I've been asking myself that very question every single day and one thing that keeps staring me right in the face is "originality". It's definitely one tall tree to climb because with the open realm of internet, you can view artists' work from A to Z and back, allowing ideas to run free from one corner of the world to another. Hence, the "right-click", and saved for inspiration. Not that it's a crime to look for inspiration, but sometimes too many can muddle up your mind and lead your imagination astray to all sorts of direction. Often, making you to lose focus, like I've done so many times before.

If you're familiar with Illustration Friday, you'll understand my point exactly about the obstacles of trying to be original. Especially when the set theme is an unglamorous, ordinary and plain word such as "chicken" (yes, bockbockbwockkk!). So anyway, this is my attempt and the process of creating it. I don't know about being original, but I sure had fun imagining it!

Left - the black and white graphite drawing as a start
Right - the finished acrylic painting

The finished work after a little digital touch up. The Traveling Companion, mixed mediums

Well, I hope you enjoyed my rambling this time. Hopefully it gives all of us something to think about the next time we face that blank piece of paper!

Hugs, Amalia, oxox


  1. I love your take on "chicken". The girl's riding outfit looks wonderful and I really like how you've rendered the clouds...

  2. oh, she's awesome Amalia, the chicken and the girl, actually I love everything about it!

  3. I adore the clouds and mountains in the background of this (as always) gorgeous painting, Amalia. And your thoughts about originality of style are much the same as's easy to be overwhelmed and paralyzed. Blinders, anyone? Best wishes! Susan

  4. Your work is amazingly original - and you have your own lovely style. The chicken theme worked extremely well - it's original and fun and truly you. Great work!!! Theresa

  5. Oh Amalia I love this!
    It is so original and so awesome. She looks like an Amelia Earhart type, an adventure/explorer.
    Just beautiful!

  6. OH! Absolutely stunning work!! I Love it!

  7. I love this! It's much more refined version of someone riding a chicken compared to Chaggal.

    Ah artist! That's why I never call myself an artist. These days it's mostly artisans calling themselves artists. There is nothing wrong with anyone creating something they will call "art" for the purpose of earning a living. There is a market for them. Someone will always love the painting of the poker-playing dogs or wants a funky cover for an iPhone designed by an "artist". We all have to eat. A lot of kitschy creations too. The landfill is looking pretty colorful these days. Anyone who can slap paint on paper or gather lint and spray-paint them call their creation art. There are a lot of Marcel Duchamp followers especially in the blogs. Too many bored people trying to express their boredom. Very few with innate and raw talent. Artimesia and Michaelangelo shudder in their graves. Those two never called themselves "artist." They called themselves painter or sculptor. My blood pressure rises when I see the anti-art movement followers when I scroll through Illustration Friday. It's a pleasure when I see one with real talent, like now.

  8. my goodness you are talented!
    I so agree, originality is so valuable. In this life we must find out own voice, this is what will give not only peace but grandeur and energy to our lives and perhaps incomes too.

    I can only imagine that art school must be a wonderful thing to experience!

  9. Every new medium creates its new art and has an impact of the existing mediums wether good or bad. Since we are in the middle of the process it is hard to judge about that and I am really excited what the future will bring us and how art is transformed by the internet!

    Thank you for your lovely compliment, I just can give it back to you! Your work is very elegant and feminine and is very unique!

  10. Your work is ALWAYS original. That's why I love it. You have successfully developed a unique, appealing, awe-inspiring style!

  11. Dear Amalia,
    I so love this idea here in your illustration....your work is definitely so original and full of emotion. that's why i love it so much, i come here and I feel something - through your illustration, it tells me a story and i love's soft and beautifully done, AGAIN! xxoo
    great one!

  12. My wanted
    to read your text is one delights.. it is as having a conversation side by side with a dear friend and a great coffee cup.
    Your representation for the chicken is very beautiful.. something steampunk that I adore.
    Really the internet can and it is an inexhaustible inspiration source.
    The times I feel also that I lose the focus in the attempt of learning more and to try to do something really original.
    But does we have something what have to admit, is to do something what totally unpublished.Never before done imagine and free from any it does influence.. does it belong to the great old masters or of the contemporaries an arduous task is.. am I maybe wrong of thinking like this?
    I particularly always recognize in the works that I find some element that sends me the other ones seen already.. all this without the work of who wants that it is because I think that living in a world without borders where there are no visual borders and being the same human being in their basic feelings and looking for the same things to accomplish.. it is natural that all almost live us this same moment that at the same time.. leaning to be the aynchronization.

  13. I'm very impressed: love your painting technic!!!
    I have to learn how to!

  14. Amalia~~

    I love your illustration and take on the word prompt! Sometimes I think all artists ride a magnificent chicken through our creative lives~~one that is stubborn and makes abrupt turns clucks, squawks and more than a few wing shakes!
    This is, to quote, the best of times, the worst of times, to be an artist. The best by far in the ability to connect all around the world with people and share/sell our creations. The worst in that it is easy to have art lifted and then reprocessed slightly into something else with someone else's name.
    Artists step up to the plate and put their soul on the line for the whole world to see and judge. It takes guts to send work into the world and not coddle it at home where it is never seen except by those who will praise it, all safe, feelings totally intact. Easy to critique others from the safety of the computer screen. I don't put much stock in any of it.
    Today's artist really has the world as their oyster, and the thing keeping them true is their conscience and drive to create *their* work. As in *your* work. Your soul speaks through. It is new. It is not something done before. You are aware of the challenge and meet it.
    Cheers to the era of Steampunk chickens and the lovely women who ride them into the fray of the art world!!! ;-D


  15. Oooooh, I am SO totally overwhelmed by all the kind, wonderful comments left here by all of you! Thank you, thank you, for responding to my thoughts and work. I will go around and visit your blogs soon!! oxox

  16. You really nailed it~it could NOT be more original and a joy to see. I understand the struggle to stay true to the inner voice and one's own vision. Like an actor making a remake of an original to do a NEW take on something-a FRESH take. You really did it-and it is admirable!!

  17. Yeah, what Heather said! Really like your style and originality.

  18. Well you certainly showed your originality here Amalia! I just love this, I can't help but wonder where she'll be going on that chicken and the kind of adventures she'll have :)
    You have nothing to worry about when it comes to originality, I have never seen a drawing style quite like yours! You are one of a kind Amalia!

  19. Love her and she is definitely original!

    This is something I struggle with all the time as I look for inspiration, but try to keep my own artistic identity intact...something that can be a real challenge!

    Definitely food for thought!

    Your art is inimitable! I just love it all!


  20. amazing, I just love this. so very creative : )

  21. absolutely brilliant! I love everything about this, you are super talented!

  22. Hmmm...I don't think "those" people necessarily thought we'd be doomed to a life of poverty (ok, some probably did!) but just thought we might not be able to make a living doing what we loved! I went to college for illustration (00-04) and although the ability to network has changed dramatically, I still think some of the same old school rules still apply. You need motivation, persistence, and yes, originality to be an artist...some business smarts don't hurt to have either! It's a process though, and sometimes a struggle, to be creative (especially when there's a "million" other artists illustrating the same topic!) I think your good though Amalia...actually, great. :) Keep on creating on!

  23. Hello Amalia!
    I must apologize to you. I was so busy trying to finish the sketchbook project that I forgot all about the award!! First of all, thank you for honoring me with the award and I will try to get to it soon. Secondly, I think your chicken illustration is quite original indeed! I also think you have a very consistent style, so no need to worry about losing focus. Your art is very recognizable. All my best to you! And thank you again!!
    Ann Marie

  24. Hi Amalia, thanks for your comment! Love your illustration too! Very original! ( I wrote that even before reading your post so that means you definately succeeded!)
    Priscella Manon x

  25. hi Sister Tree!
    I love when you have fun drawing :) I want to ride a chicken like the lady in your drawing!

  26. Gorgeous!! Originality exudes from you!

  27. BOK BOK BOK BOK!!! No cluck-ups here!

    Waaaaaahhhh, Amalia, I LOVE this! I wants a big red chicken. And her outfit. And her hair. I love the curved horizon which give the impression that their journey spans the globe. I love this!

  28. Oh Amalia thank you. As for achievement measured by children, I hope my children will be healthy and happy. I am in America, so you have to give me some slack. :)

  29. Wonderfully executed!
    and really enjoyed your thoughts :)

  30. This was a very thoughtful post. I heard the same spiel, when I was young and wanted to be an artist. It seemed like I was turned away at every corner! It took a lot of years to leave all that garbage behind. Thanks for your honesty and sharing your amazing work with us!

  31. Exceptional drawings! All of them!

  32. She is off on an adventure to be sure! Gorgeous! Blessings.


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