Art Style is Like a Musical Instrument

A melody played on the piano is recognizable but different on a violin or flute. Each instrument gives the artist a different form with which to express that melody. In the same way, visual artistic "styles" are like different instruments. The style that I choose to paint in is suited to what I want to say through the image I create. Which is why you see a few different visual styles on my site. What you are not seeing are styles I ventured into that never grew legs. Growing legs is what I call a direction that deepens and widens as I work, causing a cascade of images to flow towards me. 

I don't adopt other artist's style. Artists who are referenced in my styles are numerous and usually long passed. My Paint Happy series is influenced consciously by Raoul Dufy (the French Fauvist 1877-1953); Henri Matisse (French 1869-1964); and Mexican pottery - particularly Talvera and Tonala design. A viewer may find other visual references in the work, but that's for them to see. They may be right. I only know what I consciously thought of when I was developing that style. 

My Paint Happy style began with my ceramic tile line I developed in 1990 and placed with Ann Sacks Tile and Stone as a vendor in 1991. My ceramic design style morphed into my fine art images when my daughter, Isabella, was a toddler. I often painted with her in my studio for 15 minutes or so at a time (her toddler attention span). The tiles on the table next to me entered my easel art through that play. Until then, I had been a serious plein-aire landscape painter with a few turns into explorative mediums using encaustic and metal leaf. Paint Happy was an easy style to fit into my life as a professional woman and mother.

My painting styles prior to Paint Happy pushed me to the type of self-reflection and absorption that was at odds with parenting a young child and keeping up with my business (I was a full-time ceramic tile designer/artisan maker). Paint Happy became my dominant style from about 1995 to 2005. I still paint in my Paint Happy style now and then, especially through book illustration. 

Though I didn't think about it at the time, with hindsight, my current dominant style (my Natural World series) began within a year of becoming an empty nester parent. In all of my art history classes I never read of a male artist trying like hell to balance his family life with his creative work. And consequently, how his creative work changed to accommodate his dedication to his family. Mostly, I was flying blind integrating those two parts of my life. I'm proud I did it. I also recognize how it impacted my creative flow and output.

I'm a Latina woman born in Los Angeles in 1959 to a pious Catholic family. Now, at the age of 60, I see that the shapes and forms my creative output took were always responsive and often reactive to my personal culture, choices and the larger cultural climate. 

The images below are left to right from 1988-1994. From left to right: At the Piano (plein aire from life), oil on board; Paint Happy ceramic plate; Paint Happy painting "Rise and Shine"

Cristina Acosta art style change 1988 to 1994