It's been a long time coming. Hopefully committing to this blog will assist with the breakthrough.
Lately I haven’t felt the desire to keep up with my social media or even with friends and family. I've noticed from any online chatter that a lot of people are going through mental lows due to the Covid-19 crap, well this "burnout" is not related to that. Just my own failures. I believe that a lot of the issue has to do with my work, in general. I’ve reached a point that seems...stagnant. Angsty. Needing to do more, but unable to. Anxious to move forward, yet, for unidentified reasons, shackled in place.
You outta know that the majority of my work is commission/request based. Something I've always enjoyed and always lucky to get. Especially when it's something meaningful to someone. Recently it's a lot of pet portraits or deceased loved one portraits. It's always an honor and a privilege to be asked to do so. As if I'm tasked with engraving the personality of the subject onto canvas (or more recently, wood panels). Which doesn't bode well if you become a perfectionist, never thinking the work is good enough.
However, I think over time it's hindered my creativity and ability to create original art. Iconic art. I'm fortunate enough to have any demand for my work, but I can't help but think that something is missing. I am beginning to realize that I spend an insane amount of time on these requests just because of the pressure I put on myself. I'm afraid to do the actual calculations, but I bet I'm making less than minimum wages from this strategy that I fell into. It's silly.
Surely there's a way to navigate the art world and have a healthy and comfortable life--A strategy that will finally silence those voices in your head that whisper things like "you should have gotten one of those real jobs" or "you idiot, get a 9-5 with benefits to save money and buy yourself a house like a normal meat sack".
Remember this thing I started doing in college..
In college I had started doing a drawing exercise that I call the doodle game. To begin, you start adding completely random lines/shapes and then try to turn it into an illustration. But more importantly, pull out a story. Have you ever looked up at the clouds and see something silly? Maybe it's a dragon, or a teddy bear, or whatever. Same concept applies. Best done in collaboration with others.
More and more it has been an escape for me. One day I got to thinking that I might as well try to take this exercise out of the sketchbook and onto a canvas, since I enjoy it so much. So I did.
Well, I am currently.
I have to say theres something very magical about starting a big painting without ever planning it out beforehand. A bit nerve racking. Like slowly immersing yourself into cold water. First your ankles are in...then knees....then bottom of your thighs....then middle thighs....then upper...then...you get it. Best to just rip the bandaid.
Once you're free the skittishness and start flinging paint without worrying about messing up, you'll notice something. An inner piece that gives you confidence because you know that the art will happen. Things will formulate on canvas as if it was meant to be. Almost as if the painting is a ridiculously dirty window into a tale for fairies...as the artist, your job is to just whip of the dirt to reveal the story.
Moping is for lame-o's
Last weekend I was meant to do a live performance at a concert, but last minute plans crapped on half of it. The other half was rained out. Can't say I was surprised. This has been happening a lot lately; prepare and prepare to make the best out of any opportunity, only to have everything fall apart last minute from things beyond my control.
Leading up to it I built a large 4ft x 8ft wood panel that splits into two 4ftx4ft paintings (kind of a complicated build for an artist. Spent time and money for the material. Routed the edges, braced and supported, primed and sanded. Perfect for a new badass art piece, but with no plan for it after all.
Mhmm. I might as well do something. Otherwise it’ll just be sitting my the way. The studio is only so big. Why not try to practice doodle game. Large scale.
Here it is right now, still a work in progress. I think it has potential.
Pretty wild how these unique characters just materialize. One minute there are a bunch of arbitrary lines, the next a wacky character or creature with its’ own attitude and personality. Some characters interact with others that add to the formulation of the story. Again, a story that I could not have known about prior. It all starts to happen instantly, with brush in hand.
So far in the story, there’s a main muscley cyborg samurai dude with a sword. Let's call him Samurai-Cyborg-Dude for now. There's an octopus reaching out while holding a (soon-to-be) trident, and a crazy jurassic fight scene (lower left). More needs to be added to the right side.
I still believe this is too out there, conceptually, for my core fan and collector base. But this is the direction I’m going as I transition out of my current home and studio. Time will tell how many transition with me as I find a way to scale the wall in front of me. If I were able to get this new style/technique developed to a point where there's somewhat of a demand for it, then I would be tickled pink and only be pumping these out.
This one in particular could be sold either as one piece or split in half for two pieces. This has been impossible for people to understand when I describe it. Again, it's two separate wood panels that attach to each other to form a mega painting. Just like the Power Rangers...Yeah. Power Rangers...But not like that one episode....You know the one where they fight a pizza monster and end up getting BAKED INTO A GIANT PIZZA. Absolutely brilliant.
No, cmon, that's ridiculous. Sorry. What I mean is that it's similar to the way they have giant animal mecha things that morph into a giant juggernaut. I digress.
It took me all of 10 minutes before I realized something. An interesting idea to adjust my process. I could build multiple pieces that go together. Then dismantle into separate pieces to sell off each separately or as a whole. In my head this sounds very efficient. Work on one piece that is actually 2 or 4 pieces.
To be continued.
Here's one that is a little further along.
Maybe I'm on the path to becoming a surrealist...?