Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Risk and Style...Keeping It Real - by Deborah Cuneo

"Talking" / Ransom Gallery Show / Brooklyn NY  - Acrylic and colored Pencil

1. exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance
   At any gathering of  visual creatives, the topic of style usually comes up, with the main question being whether or not an artist should change their style  during the course of their career. I've heard so many opinions on the subject  from both sides of the desk (so to speak) and everyone seems to have a valid reason for or against.

"Discouraged" - Pencil Sketch

   Deciding to change it up was not a decision I took lightly. It would mean abandoning what I knew,  what was warm and cozy and familiar for so many years, but it came down to one major factor...I wasn't getting the employment results I was looking for using my older style.

   I was also starting to let  my internal feelings of discouragement get to me, to where even it was starting to come out in my art. It became a business decision.  It would be a huge, scary risk to change my style, but I didn't anticipate any injury  or imminent danger resulting from the intended change. Other than it possibly not being well received and having to figure what direction to go then, there was really no reason not to I did.

First Step - B/W Promo - Digital and Pencil

First Step - Color Promo - Digital and Pencil

I suppose I could have continued in baby steps,  but to go down that path meant the evolution would be dragged out...and why?  So I could delay the inevitable for another day, a month? How many more years would I be willing to sacrifice to being in artistic limbo, just so I could remain creatively cozy and comfortable in my little box that I literally painted myself into all these years? 

   The answer...none. And, It was already clear ( to me, anyway) that anything I produced that was remotely similar to my old style, would  most likely get the same results. I had to make this change count, it was the only way I was really going to be able to move toward the result I wanted. So, I put my fear aside and just jumped right in. 

Jump! - Digital and Pencil

  I tried something completely out of my comfort zone. I felt that in order to make this work, I had to stretch myself to the point of being creatively uncomfortable and bring myself to a place where I couldn't predict or control the outcome, because in that dark, scary unknown, is where all the wonderful, creative possibilities are!! 

"Little Dragon" Sky Pony Press/Color Sample - Mixed Media

A lot of this new style is tied up in the book I'm still working on, but I will be showing some of the new work at the NJ SCBWI  June conference and then updating my website shortly after that. Will my professional risk have been worth it?... I don't know.  Will  I crash and burn?...maybe. Could I end up totally flopping on my face...I suppose... but,  it could also work out really well too!  I can't predict or control the result, only put myself out there and commit to do my very best, while continuing on my newest artventure! 


  1. Bravo and Bon Voyage on your artventure!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post, Deborah, and can't wait to see you art at the NJ conference! Kudos to you for taking the challenge. I hope you'll share more in future posts about how you developed your new style! Thank you again!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to post, Virginia! I am still busy working on the book and a little stuck in editorial limbo but I do hope to have a couple of pieces that I can share. Thanks for the encouragement and support!!

  3. Be brave, be bold, be a bad ass! Good luck.