It's a Niche Thing

It was 2 years ago when he stood just inside the entrance of my booth and stared. I had turned around after helping another customer and saw him looking from side to side before he noticed that I noticed him. He smiled a faint smile and said that he liked my work. (Pause) ...But... (Pause) "Oh," I thought, this is where the silence means that we insert a semicolon before one drops a bombshell of a comment, when he continued, "you know what's missing?" What he was about to say was not what I was expecting. "What have you noticed?" I asked, thinking he might want to see Lighthouses or hummingbirds or particular scenes as others have asked if I have captured. "What I don't see is a niche." he said.  "A niche?" I asked. "Yes," he said, "you want people who stop by to see your work and remember you for a particular style or niche. You want them to see your work somewhere else later and say, 'Now that's a Patricia L Walker piece of art!' And I see many nice things, but no particular style. No niche." We talked for a few minutes and he was very receptive to my questions and polite in his responses. Then as he walked away he said, "The next time I see you and your work, I want to see a niche."

This wasn't the first time I'd encountered the artistic debate of developing a niche vs free style. Yet, of all the conversations I've had with people over the years, there was something about that encounter that hung over me for weeks afterward. I chatted with other friends and folks in the weeks after that and most suggested that I didn't need a niche, that I should be free to create whatever I wanted. (I have such supportive friends!) ...but there was something about that "Niche Thing" that threw my creativity into a major stall. I didn't realize it at first, that impending sense of insecurity about what I produced and if it was my "new Niche"?  I tried to shrug it off. Week after week it just wouldn't be easily shrugged away. Pretentious niche attempts came and went and the struggle deepened. I had to keep reorienting myself to do what I loved and just do it. Over and over. And not cling to any one style. Slowly one began to emerge that I really started to notice and play with creatively. And as I did I began to let it come into focus as a niche form.  

Creatively it has been "a process" of honoring the tension of naming my style. Of exploring what that might mean and leaning into it. Of loving the work of being led into the ways of reimagining my art organically. I'm simply not a painter. I don't work with collage or mixed media. I don't have that kind of "vision". I do love capturing, making photos of flowers still, whether in nature or in arrangements, and standing there before them and wondering - "how do I shoot this? what perspective? what lens?". I approach everything I do from my photographic instincts and then let the work begin when I work to cull through the images later. And then the creative process begins to transform that photographic "canvas" into a different art form using various, and often many, software applications between my iPhone, iPad and MACBook Pro.

I have named what I do by what it is. What it has always been. Photographic Digital Art. Everything I do starts with the click of a camera shutter. And results in wall or wearable art and/or personal accessories in art styling very different from the original photo image. That's the overarching framework into which this latest body of work has developed. I'm excited to share it with you! And to do that, I decided I needed to showcase it through a completely newly built website! I discovered this incredible web hosting company - artstorefronts - who builds a platform for artists and photographers to showcase their work like no other site does. It's incredibly easy for visitors to use and through which to purchase art. And I'm excited to share my artwork so professionally with you. I hope you'll enjoy my Photo Digital Artwork and I'm introducing many new pieces throughout the Floral Collections you'll find here. Enjoy!