A Study in Individual Style

My two members never cease to surprise me with their creativity and positive attitudes. The great thing is that that is where the similarities between them end, because they are very different individuals with very distinct styles.

I noticed this right upon meeting them. The first member always takes a moment to pause and think about where to make her mark on the page. After a few pensive and still moments, you can always count on her to say that the image “needs something.” Her work tends to be minimalist, orderly and thoughtful, and she rarely needs suggestions. Her pace tends to be very slow and steady since she balances her creative time with careful planning and thinking.

On the other hand, the other member attacks each new project with unbridled zeal and joy. He often does two or even three pieces in the short amount of time that we are allotted.  He has a little more trouble with fine motor skills, but paired with his outstanding energy and attitude, this often results in very free marks in his work. I’ve noticed that he responds really well to and is open to minimal suggestions, such as how to manipulate media in a different way.

After observing this for a few weeks, I decided to tailor a particular project to the way each of them likes to work. It was a simple Mondrian-inspired piece that involved taping the paper off into rectangular sections and painting with primary colors. For the female member, I made sure to make more boxes for her to fill in because I knew she would enjoy organizing the colors, while I gave the other member larger spaces because he enjoys the act of painting more than planning. I also gave each of them different tools. The precision-driven member was given fast-drying paper and a small brush ideal for the exact marks that are a hallmark of her style. Conversely, the stylistically energetic member was given slow-drying Yupo paper so he could make printed patterns with paper towels and other materials after painting. Both members really seemed to enjoy themselves, and the work they made that day really showcased their respective styles.

-Megan Mulholland, Art & Design student

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