Why Do Artists Work in Series?

Many art lovers recognize the work of an artist by artistic style or the recurring themes that the artist continues to explore. Some may even refer to these things as part of the artist’s brand. More often you will hear the term series used by artists. Many artists who do work in series that explore variations of composition, repeating pattern, recurring design elements, signature color palette or technique, will say that they feel fortunate to have a series going. This is what every artist hopes will develop as they work in their studio.

Artworks in series have become a standard of art-making practice among successful artists–so much so that many gallerist and art collectors expect to see artists’ work available in one or more ongoing series.

New York City artist Barbara Rachko describes working in a series as feeling natural and authentic to her.  She shares some perceptive insights– “working in series mimics the… gradual way that our lives unfold, the way we slowly evolve and change over the years.”  She describes how every paintings that she works on has a lesson to teach.  Once completed she can look at each finished piece and see how her ideas have progressed a step or two further. 

Big Wow, Barbara Ratchko

Big Wow, Barbara Rachko

Intruder, Barbara Ratchko

Intruder, Barbara Rachko

Quartet, Barbara Ratchko

Quartet, Barbara Rachko

Visit Barbara Rachko’s website to view more images of her work– www.barbararachko.com  

Read more on why Barbara Rachko works in series, on her blog Colored Dust, at:  www.barbararachkoscoloreddust.com

In Barbara Rachko’s Domestic Threats series of pastel-on-sandpaper paintings, the artist uses Mexican folk art—masks, carved wooden animals, papier mâché figures, and toys—in a lively blend of reality and fantasy. 

Other blog articles on this artist:

Dolls, Masks, Zombies, Devils, Skulls and Day of the Dead Skeletons in the Pastel Paintings of Barbara Rachko

2 thoughts on “Why Do Artists Work in Series?

  1. Working in a series with personal icons
    allows a vision of how experiences and
    thoughts are digested and now exposed
    for further contemplation.
    Barbara’s intense paintings with their
    strong images and colors literally grab
    you – startling and forcefully confronting.
    The images are primal and part of the
    ancient memories that are part of us.


  2. It’s good business to do a series as it guarantees a consistent body of work that galleries find easier to sell. I think it’s important to admit that money often drives these “artistic” decisions (though not always). I myself have done a “series” alongside my usual work, and I thought it had its upside and downside. The upside was that I could make many permutations of something within the same format, so I didn’t feel that I was reinventing the wheel with every piece. The downside was that I was a bit burnt out on the concept by the end and wanted a greater sense of discovery in my work.


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