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Sunday, May 14, 2023

Learning the Rules to Break them like an Artist

Why even bother with rules if they are meant to be broken?


It is not uncommon for artists to scoff at rules. Artists are here to push the limits, shake things up, and turn them around. Aren’t they? Or at least that is what many would aspire to with their art and one of the top purposes art is best at. So, then, it would seem contradictory, as well as awfully limiting, to ask of an artist that they learn any rule. Weren’t they supposed to be as free as they can be?

You could be that kind of artist. Completely free. Or “free”. It will have its consequences, desirable or not, but it is your choice whether or not you will pay any mind to any rule or simply express yourself absolutely at your every whim. You may get some impressive abstract and even surreal artworks that way, under the impression that you were not following rules even though, consciously or not, intentionally or not, you cannot escape them all.

Paying attention to rules, though, can indeed be crippling and paralyzing for an artist. There is no denying that. Yet, if learned properly and incorporated appropriately, they can instead take your art to different and higher levels. If you don’t let them block you and instead have them work for you, you could use rules in your art and still be making art that is free and that is yours. Probably also saving yourself much headache by being able to tell exactly why something doesn’t seem to be working well within your art.

Certain rules are there by nature and, rather than being made by humans, they were only perceived as already existing. These are, in my opinion, the rules that you should be paying the most attention to as they reveal the secrets behind the magic of great and grandiose art. Human-made rules can also be of importance. Your own, your superior’s, and/or your contemporaries'. They could help keep your artworks congruent and cohesive for what they will become a part of or be in service of.

Once you’ve gained a significant grasp on rules in art, you can begin discerning and deciding which to respect and which to break (or bypass), not being too caught by surprise (and possibly devastated) by the results - for you are now more aware of what they keep together and what falls apart without them.

This is when you can make innovative and revolutionary artworks. And not by accident or “mere talent” that you can’t explain. You can count on being able to do it again if you wrack your brain enough a second, third, or fourth time. Or up until you’re satisfied with a unique style that you bent and broke the rules for.