Sunday, January 23, 2011

You Never Get Better At Hurting

I'll be honest with you blog, right now I'm hurting. Having an episode, I am down and out except a lot of people love me. This I know.

In a rare move for me I decided to treat my downness with alcohol and socialising instead of my usual counciling and introspection. This does provide momentary relief, but I find myself fearing the alone time which is truly frightening for an introvert. I feel anxious and disconnected, I check my email too often, my facebook too often and I eat and sleep too little.

Yesterday I got around to sleeping, I attempted to try and get a weeks worth of sleep in a night. I napped in the afternoon after work and woke up feeling drunk and disoriented. I stayed up to do some drawings I'd promised people which is good and helps me feel better that I am doing something good for other people.

But really you can get better at forcing yourself through the motions, but nothing, nothing stops hurt from hurting.

And I hurt myself. I lie in a bed of my own making and am amazed at how poorly prepared I am for the fallout. I just feel like a fuckup, a fucked up, fuck up nobtard douchebag.

Then you have to force yourself into the positive self talk, which a lack-there-of is what got myself into this mess, and my gameplan seems to have involved severly handicapping myself in this regard.

But I know enough of the motions, enough of the experience of these funks to force myself to do these things. To be proud of myself. To make myself shave and brush my teeth every day, make myself eat, make myself go to bed, make myself exercise, smile, turn up to work... and all these things work.

I feel better until my body decides to wake me at 5 am to contemplate my hurting. And it goes on, what is ridiculous is that this is the worst I've felt since Claire left me but with the one difference of back then I cried all the time.

Now I can't. Because I'm eating, sleeping, shaving, brushing my teeth, exercising, working, perservering.

I almost think what I need is to be suspended from a tree and immobilised to swing freely in a breeze and just stay there for a week or two so I can just hurt and not try and manage it all.

Just feel.

And I don't mean hanging by the neck but rather Takuan's treatment of Musashi in Vagabond depicted below:

I'm human, I fuck up, I hurt, I feel the full spectrum of emotions despite me having a different spectrum of experiences. My rational mind overreacts perhaps but my emotional state just is, I don't control it, I just feel it.

And right now I feel bad. And it never gets easier.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Best Response Ever:

After reading this in my Google Reader stream I knew I had to share it.

Read it, it doesn't take long.

Now I just want to say, the guy is a total fucking douchebag, nobody in the world is going to look at Dan Hipp's work and say 'that must be Mike Mignola/Ed McGuinness/Ben Caldwell' which tells you he has his own style. They may see the influences, those influences may be entirely coincidental.

They may be coincidenta, because the artist that actually inspired and informed and influenced your style may in turn have been influenced by somebody else.

Scratch that they DEFINATELY were inspired by somebody else. Why? Because you can't be an artist or even a lay pen operator without being exposed and having positive reactions to art in life.

The highest form of flattery is imitation, and aside from tracing faithful reproductions you are never going to succeed at perfect imitation.

Two of my favorite artists - Humberto Ramos and Francesco Herrera are actually a mentor-protege pair. Ramos taught Francesco since he was 16, you could superficially confuse the two as having the same 'style' but when you look closely there is significant differences in their approach to drawing.

So douches need to quit hating, because really they are saying that Picaso's cubist works are a travesty because he totally stole his 'style' from African masks. That the Renaissance works should be burned and crushed to gravel because they were inspired by Greek Classicism.

Get your hand off it douches and embrace the fact that there is a profundity of great art being produced out there. Peeps will pay $400 for a generic necklace but somehow it is a crime for a magazine to pay somebody for a hand made and unique piece of art?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Google Reader

Yesterday morning I had never heard of google reader, today I am subscribed to approx 263 art blogs with 369 new pieces I have not yet checked out. I was put onto it by Skottie Young, artist extraodinaire in the comic world.

Who had this to say:

It's very easy to get lost in all the negative blah blah that goes on around the net and in the world of comics and entertainment. You know, "This books sucks" "This book is GOING to suck" "Company A are just a bunch of Greedy F's and Company B is ruining my childhood" "This press release is so dumb" "Artist X is no good" blah blah blah. You've seen it, I've seen it. If you're not careful, it's easy to get sucked in and fight the battles that will never find a winner.

One of the things that keep me on a constant positive high is the daily art rush I get from checking my Google Reader Blog Subscriptions. Every time I find a new artists blog, I copy the address and drop it into my subscription list. Over the last few years, I've compiled a list of 350+ blogs and it's growing every day. When I get into the office each morning, the first stop I make is Google Reader and I usually have bout 50 updates. That's at LEAST 50 pieces of art that kick starts my day and keeps me in a great mood. It inspires me to no end.

He then lists all the artblogs he has painstakingly collected over who knows how long.

This is a wonderful thing he has done. It is possibly the nicest thing anyone has done for me this year. (last year was all the charity donations, which will be hard to beat ever). The first paragraph I quoted above, I could relate to coincidently from something I saw just the other day.

I like Skottie because he's in the cartoony school of artists working in comics right now. Humberto Ramos though is my hero. I was looking at a forum discussion of his run on Spider Man 'Big Time' story arc and couldn't believe these Joe-nobodies paying him out.

Sure I think Ramos' artwork is gorgeous and others prefer Jim Lee or something, they are entitled to their opinion. But it's amazing how things change for the pro's.
Currently (well as of yesterday's post no longer currently) I tend to pay out my artwork and the friends/fans build me up. It seems that reverses at some point, perplexingly when you become really good, suddenly you need to believe in your own abilities to survive because the vast array of 'fans' out there are overwhelmingly negative.

I'm definitely guilty myself, I'd readily criticise Tool's '10,000 days' album myself even though in reality it is better than any music I will ever produce in my lifetime ever. (It to me was just not different enough to Lateralus). And I always assumed that Tool would never care about the opinions of Joe-Nobody like me.

But the internet is a funny thing, it makes the army of nobodies that populate fandom out there into a huge visable mass. A visable mass of haters. I'm going to endeavor to no longer participate in this mass, because as I figure most peeps who create stuff are probably their own harshest critics anyway and they just don't need to be told what is wrong.

The second paragraph was a paradime shift for me. One would think that getting daily reminders that there are thousands of great artists out there is a depressing reality of how hard it will be for any newbie artist to stand up and be counted. But on the contrary, drawing is so lonely, so terribly lonely that waking up and being able to tap into and see so many people creating such beautiful/perverse/wonderful imagary every day has the exact same effect that Skottie described - It puts me in a great mood and motivates me to work harder.

Thus I salute you Skottie Young, and thank you. This is a great idea, a great, free idea.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In The Gallary

On a sad day late last year I walked past a poster in RMIT and it spoke to me. It was 'Toy to the World' a charity event calling for artists to paint these Popobe bears (vinyl statuettes) for a charity auction with all proceeds going to the Victorian Aids Council.

Because I was so sad that day, I decided to throw myself at my art and volunteered to do it, to paint a bear.

What I didn't anticipate was that painting a small bear statue thing would be one of the most agonizing and depressing lessons in humility ever. I was happy with my design, which was done on paper. But I wasn't happy when it came to painting it.

I felt my brush strokes were too scratchy, the layers uneven, the lines ragged, the colour palette horrible.

The bear stared at me, and I wanted to burst into tears constantly. I kept wondering if I could just throw in the towell and simply never speak to the event organisers ever again.

I've always been particular about commitments though, and I recollected my wits.

The problem was that I had thrown myself into a medium with which I was completely unfamiliar. I'd never painted on vinyl, I hadn't painted with a brush for ten years, I'd never painted onto a 3 dimensional surface.

I learned enough fucking it up though to decide that if I just had one familiar element I could make it work.

I switched to copic marker, and drew on all the linework instead.

What I finished with I felt was a sufficiently rescued piece and only two days past the deadline. It was satisfactorily adequate in my view.

I dropped it off and resolved to never think about it again.

Which I succeeded at for a while because I forgot to roster off work for the exhibition opening.

Yesterday I snuck into the gallery and slunk up the back with a plan to shamefully bid on my own bear to save face and make sure I hadn't wasted the sponsors donated materials. I hadn't seen my bear in two months.

When I saw it it wasn't as bad as I remembered. It actually looked quite good. I felt better, I went to go fill out the minimum bid on it (Item #034) and discovered it had already been bid up to more than I could afford ($50). Suddenly I was filled with a warm glowing feeling and it changed my whole day from terrible to awesome.

Here is what I've learned, at some point you have to accept that you are good at art. Because the alternative means that people who like your art don't know what they like.

Somebody likes my piece and I needed them to show me that, for me to like it too.

I am not going to beat myself up anymore. I am tough enough, and possibly damaged. I am just going to do art and hope it can find its fans. I will do it because I love it. Nothing more.