maniera in Italian and manière in French: Manner, style.
When used as a term in art criticism: certain stylistic characteristics that are recurring in the artists work, sometimes up to a point that these characteristics consume the work and divert the attention from the work's main subject.
This criticism was directed at my work all trough my Art-School courses, at first I straggled with the critic and tried to get read of this unnecessary maniera thing. which made me miserable and unhappy with my work. I realized I don't want to give up all those little extra detail I like to dwell in. I came to accept the critic. Instead of scrunching every time I heard the word "Maniera" directed at my work I embraced it and took it to be a good critic from my point of view.
My maniera is like a big old luggage that I carry with me in to all my projects. Its filled with my childhood memories, my dreams and life experiences.
Have a look... I'll spot some of them in my work:
1. When I was little I used to pick a few long stem flowers from an open field near my home and bring them to my mom. She'd put them in a big fancy vase as if they were the most wonderful big bouquet. There's a bitter sweet and yet funny feeling to that image of a few stringy flowers in a big vase, I like it.
I've Lived in a lot of crummy apartments as a student and got a lot of inspiration from all of them...
2. At my first apartment I shared with my boyfriend (husband now) we had a storage space problem, so we adopted the solution of the former tenants. we went to Ikea and got ourselves a super slim cabinet that barely fitted in the non-working shower space (don't worry there was a working bathtub as well), at just the right height to fit under the shower head.
3. In almost every apartment I've lived in, there are evidence of plumbing repair. They (the repair guys) never seem to be able to find the exact tiles for replacing the ones they broke to make the fix. The funniest attempt I've seen was that they were able to find the exact pattern of the tiles but in different colors, hee hee.
4. In my husband's first student apartment, he and his roommate had a kitchen space problem. so they placed the microwave on top of the fridge, which unlike the one I made was a very big one. I needed a chair to use the microwave. In the kitchen I made I've decided to add the top kitchen cupboards that lean on the microwave that's on the fridge, which is starting to "crack" under the pressure.
5. Another feature of that apartment was an unbelievably narrow and long toilets: you opened the door and you had to walk more then a few steps to reach the toilet sit. There wasn't a lock on the door. In case someone tried to get in while you're there... stopping the opening door isn't within the reach of your hands or feet!