Looking for art trends is just looking for inspiration. Chuck Close had a pragmatic take on inspiration. It is how almost every post I publish for this blog is written. So I start with a single thought and let the words come to me through the process.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” ― Chuck Close

Chuck Close
Chuck Close – Artnet.com

Don’t LookDon’tEasy Answers Here

There is no easy answer to whether a particular artist should pay attention and incorporate art trends. Some artists will look down their noses at anyone who would consider art trends for aesthetic or business reasons. Instead, they embrace creativity as something sacred.

On some level, I guess I understand that high-minded stance, but I mostly think it is wrong. As with so many other things, Picasso had it spot on when he said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” So what can”inspiration can you steal from current art trends or cultural trends?

Unless you live in an uninhabited location with no media, advertising, or culture, you cannot avoid influences from what is happening around you. You see your friends, television shows, or movies where specific fashions are on display. For example, it might be skinny jeans, high-water pants, skinny ties, or shiny jewel-tone colors. You could be influenced by a trend toward the retro look in graphic design or art trends that emphasize social change.

Coral - pantone-color-year-2019 x350

If you make graphics, you will be acutely aware of what is in and is not. Trends such as these and many others will filter into other art, design, and architecture areas. For instance, Living Coral is Pantone’s Pantone’sthe Year for 2019.

Maybe you’ve seen color transitions (formerly known as gradients) in product, graphic, and even logo design. Or, after years of flat art, we see our typography everywhere. It’s fun tIt’stice such things. Once you do, it’s nearlit’spossible to ignore them or to keep from adding them to your work.

While coral is not my thing, I’m thrillI’mto see Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern riding high in design trends. They are timeless and classy styles that never get old for me. And, if living coral is not your thing either, don’t we don’t Forget it and move on. So there are tons more trends to grab your audience with something that interests you.

If art trends work for you, use them, don’t abuse them.

Let’sre working in a genre or motif that has or is gaining traction with your galleries and collectors. If so, then bully you for tapping the zeitgeist in your art circles. Your challenge and creativity come in in how many unique and different ways you can riff on and shape what you are doing without losing your audience. But there should be no shame because you are part of a movement.

You are reading this post, so I am going with you, making art you want to sell for a profit. If you support yourself and your family in making art, that is a noble thing. It is one heck of a lot better than starving. I think wanting to be profitable means you should be open to looking for trends and thinking proactively about using them in your work – with one caveat. That is, you have some connection to what the movement represents.

Your relationship could be emotional, or personal, or both. For instance, you observe that religious-themed art continues to sell well, and your faith inspires you to contribute your take on the genre. Conversely, perhaps you have noticed that the resurgence of Vegas as an adult playground resonates well with some art buyers as it does with you. This might be your entrée to create a series of images that reflect that freewheeling lifestyle (at least while you are in Vegas 😉 ).

If you are putting something of yourself into your work, it will be apparent to your collectors. They will not care about one iota if you find inspiration in emerging or current art trends. They buy because your work speaks to them in some way. If your buyers are not bothered by the source of your inspiration, then neither should you.

Making the Best, Most Meaningful Art You Can Is the Best Trend

Use all the available tools to make, market, and sell as much of your art as possible. Consider yourself in an illustrious company. For example, if your art career succeeds because you took Picasso’s Picasso’sd and stole just the right ingredients, including influences from art trends.


art, art trends, Chuck Close, graphic design, inspiration

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  • I appreciate the overview. Much of what was expressed was already on my mind and a good refresher. It’s great to hear it summed up so well. I agree also that one must have invested emotion and a connection to the subject matter for a work of art to come alive to a viewer. It also occurred to me that an artist can’t go wrong when sticking to the classical, as with the fashion and design industry. There’s no substitute for the little black dress or a Monet.

  • I very much enjoyed your article. It was both interesting and insightful. Thanks for writing and sharing it. Warm regards, Dan


    great information..thanks so much for sharing.

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