23rd August 2015

There’s a movie on Netflix that I liked. It’s about creativity, and what drives the creative force in some of the world’s emerging and leading artists.
Time is a natural filter. It clears all the noise and allows the ‘signal’ to remain. In truth, I can only remember one thing about this Netflix movie, even thought it’s less than a month since I viewed it.
‘Sleeping on it’, it transpires, is not the act of reflection, it is rather the act of forgetting. If, by the time you wake up, something still leaves an impression, then it’s time to take note.
I have slightly meandered. Let me tell you that thing I remembered: great artists become so not because they are endlessly original, but rather because they have developed an indelible signature style.
When I look at a Warhol, I know it’s both fascinating and that it’s Andy. That’s greatness. When I listen to Mozart, I know damned well it’s both heavenly and that it’s Wolfgang. I just do. That’s damned greatness.
Great artists are fabulously original within their own constructed boundaries, because they also know their market; their consumers. They know that many patrons of art buy for complicated reasons: for investment, for bravura, for pride, for boasting, for speculation, for love. The buyer of a piece of art wants – perhaps needs – its famous author to be recognisable. If not, what in God’s name is the point?
Grayson Perry, a British artist as talented as he is famous as he is down to earth, considers himself one of a league of ‘pure’ artists who refuse to create to signature style.
Which makes me think about how we, in marketing, should innovate with our famous brands.
Do we know our signature style? And do we know about how to be wonderfully creative within that signature world? Does originality, without a signature anchor, have a role?
To test Grayson’s assertion, I googled his name. There, dozens of works of art of a similar pretty, intricate, beautiful nature show up. The artist may not think he has a signature, but the art world and art consumer sure as hell do.


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