I wrote recently about trying to figure out how to handle marketing different bodies of work. But now I'm facing a different problem: working in different media.
I used to paint only in acrylic, and I played around with layering colors and trying to achieve transparency. But when I discovered encaustic, it seemed to solve all my problems. I could embed objects, collage materials, write words, scrape, scratch, layer... So I've worked almost exclusively in that medium for almost four years.
But when I started on this new body of work (the Palimpsest series), I wanted to explore the ideas in different media, as I had done with the Seeking Shelter series. That particular series came out of all of the work that I did in grad school. I spent the whole time working through ideas and media, and Seeking Shelter is the culmination of all of that work, and it just happens to be created in encaustic.
I know Joanne Mattera has written about not wanting to be labeled an "encaustic artist," and I can understand and respect that. About not being defined by your medium. And it's never bothered me if someone called me an encaustic artist. [I don't care what you call me, just call me, right?]
But I'm afraid now that I've pigeon-holed myself. I've created a few new pieces in the Palimpsest series that are not encaustic. I've been experimenting with acrylic, oil, and pastel. I think all of the pieces go together as one body of work and I don't think acrylic pieces would look out of place next to encaustic pieces as long as they seem cohesive in style, subject matter, etc. But when I was talking with a gallery owner about sending work to him, he seemed hesitant about me sending the non-encaustic pieces. He said I have become "known for" encaustic.
I'm going to send them anyway and see what happens.
So I'm curious. How do you handle working in different media? Or introducing work created in a new medium? Have you had the experience of being labeled as a particular kind of artist or expected to only work in a certain medium?