How I’m Breaking the Mold as an Artist

how I'm breaking the mold as an artist

Hey guys! Today I’d like to share with you a little bit about how I’m breaking the mold of being an artist in the 21st century.

Throughout history, artists have had to fit certain molds to have their work accepted by galleries and the art community.

But the greatest artists were the ones who broke the mold.

In Medieval Europe, art was controlled by the Church. Artists had to create work featuring religious characters and stories in order to sell. Artists found ways to work around these limitations by inserting the faces of their patrons into religious scenes.

The great art of the Renaissance was a rejection of these restrictions. In fact, there has been a constant back and forth throughout history, with each art movement being a reaction to the one that came before.

Impressionism was a reaction to Realism. Monet and the Impressionists were originally shunned by the art community in Paris. Of course they are now widely loved and celebrated (not to mention, the art is worth millions).

In 1917, Marcel DuChamp submitted an upside down urinal as an affront to the so-called “Society of Independent Artists”. This move has gone down in history and gave rise to Dadaism.

Marcel Duchamp Fountain 1917

The greatest historical artists we know today were the ones who broke the mold and pushed back against the establishment. These artists were ahead of their time, controversial, and often under appreciated until late in life or even after death.

Artist Gustav Klimt The Kiss

So how can I follow in the footsteps of the great artists of the past?

Today, there are once again pervasive ideas about what being an artist should look like.

Many of my professors at University scoffed at the idea of selling art online on fashion and home decor products. They held the belief that a true artist should suffer for their work, and should only show in established galleries, otherwise they’re “selling out”.

Another pervasive idea is that art should only be understood and accessible to an elite few. I think that idea is bullshit and needs to be smashed like the patriarchy! I hold the belief that art should be accessible to all.

The internet and the ability to self represent has completely changed the landscape of being an artist today. We can spread our work around the world all on our own, and become business men and women in our own right. We can create any kind of artwork we want and find a market for it.

All artists should be taking advantage of this and starting a new movement. Our movement doesn’t have a name yet but one day people will be reading about this time in history. Just like we read about the “Renaissance” “Impressionism” and “Dadaism” movements of the past.

This is how I’m breaking the mold as an artist and doing what every other great artist has done before me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what being an Artist in the 21st century means to you. Leave your comments below! Please note: I’m not an art historian and have definitely over-simplified some aspects here, so feel free to point out if I’m completely wrong.

Thanks for sticking around long enough to read my rant! I really appreciate it. Head over to my gallery to check out my artwork, and make sure to subscribe to my blog if you want to follow along on my journey.



8 thoughts on “How I’m Breaking the Mold as an Artist

  1. So true! So of the famous artists of the past I enjoy and others I ask why. Like the Ready mades by Duchamp, a upside down urinal and a shovel… why??? Seems to easy. I had art teachers do the same thing. My college art professor thought it was soo cool that I started my own business while others looked down upon it and told me “you cant make money with photoshop”…. even now my family still doenst approve of my art career. They see it as playing on the computer… their is my rant. Great post!

    1. As with a lot of historical artwork you have to understand the context in which it was made. DuChamp’s fountain was actually kind of a joke. He submitted it to an art show as a challenge to what was deemed “acceptable” at the time, and just went as outlandish as possible to make a statement. It’s actually very clever. Would I want it in my house? Hell no! But it was the gesture that makes the piece an important part of art history. You can read more about here, actually quite interesting:

      As to your comment about people looking down on digital art, I think that is where our challenge lies as contemporary artists. Like the artists of the past, doing something different and new is looked down upon in the beginning. Eventually it will just become another medium like drawing or painting but it will take some time for it to get there. But it will, eventually :)

      1. As far as famous artists go I prefer Monet or Van Gogh. Everyone has their own idea of what art is or what good art is. Some like Duchamp’s work, I first saw his work in my Art history class and laughed. I asked the professor if I bought a $20 snow shovel from Home Depot and called it art if it was. She said yes but it’s been done before.

        1. Oh for sure, I prefer a Monet or Van Gogh too. I think the urinal itself is not the art but the act of defiance, which the object has come to represent. It took me a while to understand and appreciate that piece ๐Ÿ˜‚

  2. This is such a great article I think that every aspiring artist should read it, though its good to have pointers, most often we lock ourselves into someone else’s way of doing things and never develop our own because we think that their way is the only way or the right way or we try to please others, art then becomes a laborious task rather than an expression of creativity.

  3. Interesting read – I used to study art history myself and found it fascinating how movements were made and how much has changed from then to now. I think now the movement would be called ‘cyber age’ or something due to the fact we’re able to sell online, haha.