People often ask me where does one get a style for one’s creative endeavors. It sometimes makes me cringe. I do not believe one gets a style. Not, at least, in the sense of consciously setting out to develop one. I believe we all have one in us, and the more valuable use of our energy is in just getting to work and leaving the issue of style to unlock itself. That does not mean we don’t make conscious efforts to refine it or focus it. But I do not feel as though you can put on a style much more successfully than you can fake an accent when you speak. It will always be in danger of feeling somewhat contrived .
The style of my work, if there is such a thing, is the result of more than three decades of working nearly ceaselessly , ( in the early years I often worked as many as eighty, or even on occasion, one hundred hours in a week) to solve functional and esthetic conundrums in my pieces. Spend hundreds of hours with a whole host of specialized tools in your hands, and you will see what emerges in the way of a pattern of elements in your work. It seems to me that is exactly what we mean when we use the word style. Learn about your tools and your materials, and I mean here not a superficial knowledge, but a real intimacy. Without any more effort, whatever it is that the tools and the materials and you come up with will very likely be something special, and there is your style!
Jonathan Jacob Cohen
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