In college, it was implied by some professors and stressed by the art world culture to find a style, or even more specifically, a schtick. For writing and research assignments I had to filter through countless contemporary artists who had a cute coiffured little herd of marketable recognizable work. They had a distinct brand.
A regulated, and unwavering style is a great way to make a brand and move work, especially if it fits nicely in contemporary culture. creating work like this, however, makes it harder to produce powerful significant relevant art in the long run. Over time, a stagnant style turns stale and brackish.
By no means am I saying one should not make consistent work, or meta reference. It's a strength to be able to make multiple pieces which dove-tail neatly with one another and hark back to past work. Though the ability to make a cohesive series can be strongly related to the ability to turn on a dime and deviate. I do not reference the sporadic college freshman who throws out unrelated random paintings that all vary in quality and polish. I reference an artist that decisively moves and navigates to new realms ever expanding their oeuvre.
This is the artist I strive to be. I wish for my bodies of work to be visualized like a map of city states connected by strong trading routes. Unique entities with purpose but all are connected and inform one another.