There are trends in all areas of life, I suppose. Some of them endure and are eventually considered classic. Somewhere in between they are mainstream although quite likely someone will have declared them 'overdone'. I often struggle with trends in that it is in my nature to avoid something once I am aware that it is a trend. I simply do not like doing what everyone else is doing and while I know that sounds a bit snobbish, it's a response I have that comes without thinking. The very fact that it is popular takes something away from it, the specialness is diminished and that can actually be a bit annoying if I actually like the trend.
A sometime experience for me is 'damn it, I like that but everyone is doing it.' The best advice I've read about trends in clothing or home decor is to pass on them most of the time but if you love the trend just embrace it. The challenge is what to do when the trend is over and you are left with something you love that has now been over-done and looks tired. There is just too much thinking and second-guessing going on! I rarely like whatever is the trend in fashion or home decor, often really dislike it, but something that happens to most of us is that our eye gets accustomed to things we were initially horrified by. What looked odd or even ugly at first can come to look good or at least acceptable with persistent exposure. When this happens to me it results in my liking a trend right around the point when it is or should be over.
There are trends in art too, in styles and mediums, and techniques. Right now acrylic pouring, intuitive painting, acrylic pouring, scribbles, drips and blotting out large parts of the painting with white are very popular. When I first saw these techniques I was intrigued but soon saw it everywhere. Now I have reached a point where for about two minutes a day I think, maybe I should do it too. After all, adopting a certain style has historically just identified an artist with a certain period and thus people say 'she is of the Such and Such group or the So and So style of painting which emerged in the 20XX period in response to Y'.
All art is a response. It's a response to what we see around us, either aiming to represent it or say something about it, to embrace or reject what is around us. If we make art we must be true to who we are, in all the various ways there are of making art. We cannot help but be influenced in some way by our environment, our peers and also those who came before us. Often it seems like everything has been done and there is nothing new. This may be true and I think it is, and even our own way of doing things may be similar to the way of someone else. Is anything original and unique? Does that even matter?
This is something I am struggling with a little bit. I want to be original and unique in my art and yet I am not. I look around me and see someone else doing what I want to be doing and perhaps doing what I am already doing but doing it better. It will always be like this. The only answer is to keep going, to keep doing. Everything I do will always be at least subtly my own style even if I imitate another, just like handwriting or singing voices. Besides, stopping and giving up would be more miserable than the endless frustration of striving and never reaching. I must strive. That is part of who I am and in some areas of life it is not a blessing to be that way. In art making it probably is.