Expressionism, Found Art, & Being An Artist In the Modern Age

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As artists, we create to express. That’s the whole point of it. We want to share what we have going on inside of us to the rest of the world. Expressionism is hyper focused that way. Expressionists create to evoke emotions. I create to evoke emotions in my work. 

Sometimes it can be less about what the art means, and more about what goes into making it. The materials used to make a piece of art, are equally important as the end result itself. The materials I use to create are found textiles.

The textiles that are used in abstract art can be gathered from your mother’s closet (if she lets you of course), a newspaper you found on the street, or your nephew’s crayons. Found materials are just that, they’re found. You have to go looking for them. That’s what I do. Each item can either be a random decision or an intentional choosing for each piece. Choosing certain items for a piece can help you incorporate a theme into the piece. Find your theme and style, so it will ladder up to who you are as a brand. When you have found your voice in your art, people will immediately recognize that it comes from you. 

You can use these found textiles in a way to create something organically, where it can inspire the viewer. These items can create a sense of nostalgia. Each person will get something different out of the piece. One man’s trash, is another man’s art. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

Even if you don’t use found textiles to create your work, you can still look at this method when it comes to your creative process. Every action you make is a critical choice on how your piece of work with end up. 

Abstract art is up to the creator and the viewer. And we want the rest of the world to see it. But sometimes it’s hard to get your work seen. The world is distracted and self-absorbed. You need to make you and your work known. Have an online presence.

Showcase your work digitally even if it’s not a digital medium. Create social media content and engage with other artists. People will start talking about your art when you show up with it. You can’t just skip every showcase and exhibition for other artists and expect anyone to come to yours.

If you are a Miami artist like me, then you know just how much the environment around you can inspire your work. The distinct style of Miami itself inspires my work. In this modern world, we are constantly distracted and being drained of our creativity if we don’t pay attention.

We have to feed it. If you are lacking creativity and feel burnt out, take a walk in your neighborhood, collect objects and take mental notes of your surroundings. Then take what you’ve observed and reflect on that through your artwork. 

Remember that to be an artist you just have to create. So create with intention. Create with your own style. Create with a purpose. Just, create. Remember Shateek Loves you!

3 Artists Who Found Success Through Vulnerability

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In a 2013 opinion column for the New York Times, Tim Kreisler, author of “We Learn Nothing,” famously wrote: “if we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.” Although he was describing the struggle of revealing your flaws in a personal relationship, the same remains true for artists and their art.  To find favor with your audience, you must let them know you.

Making yourself vulnerable—especially on a large scale—is one of the scariest endeavors an artist can undertake, but also one of the only ways to create a real connection between your work and your audience.


Here are some artists who made vulnerability work for them, and how. 

1. Marina Abramovic

A notable performing artist since the 1970s, in 2010, Marina Abramovic revealed her most vulnerable work to date.  Entitled “The Artist is Present,” the performance piece featured Abramovic sitting in silence and making eye contact with whomever wished to sit with her. The performance went viral when Abramovic’s former lover, Ulay, decided to participate.  The interaction left them both silently crying, and cemented “The Artist is Present” as one of the most influential performance pieces in modern art. 

2. Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer has made a thriving artistic career through revealing some of her most personal thoughts. Known as Truisms, these phrases have been projected on the sides of buildings, engraved into benches, and used in political campaigns. It’s hard to make the private more public than that!

3. Jackson Pollock

When Jackson Pollock debuted his famous drip paintings, few people knew what to make of them. The chaotic artworks were a physical embodiment of the pent up aggression he felt.  Unable to make himself vulnerable though words, he poured out his emotions through his art, solidifying his reputation as one of the greatest expressionists to ever live. 

Most people associate vulnerability with weakness and do anything possible to hide it. Everyone has soft points, though—that’s what makes us human. Tapping into that vulnerability will allow you to create a connection with your audience that will stay with them long after their experience with your art is completed.