coyoe asked: What do you do when you find yourself artistically and creatively bankrupt for longer than expected?
I cry, I frantically drink, I belittle people (deep down, I’m just attacking myself), and then I sleep the rest of the time. :)
What SHOULD I be doing? Haha.
You know I don’t think any artist knows the answer to this question, even though it happens to all of them, all the time. The way I generally handle this situation when I’m not being self destructive is to get as far away from art as I possibly can. And I think that’s the general consensus among artists.
Artists are responding to their surroundings in their work. So, if your surroundings aren’t yielding in responses, you should probably try out some new ones. Get out of the house— go think about something that’s not art. Do it for like a week. (This is coming from someone who doesn’t do illustration as a full time job—- if it’s a full time job and you can’t get away from art? Well, that might explain the boring and recycled art coming from the art industry these days.) But do what you can to expose yourself to new things. There was a really great article I read on this recently… and for the life of me I can’t find it right now.
Some people don’t have any results after getting out of the house. I’m one of those people. But if you look at my most recent text post, it was because I wasn’t taking time to explore MYSELF in art. I was too focused on work, and I sort of ruined myself. Now that I’m focusing on what I love, I feel a lot better.
This post has been long time coming, I think. But I think it’s taken me a while to piece my feelings together in my head. The TLDR? I’ll only be working on one commission at a time after I am caught up with the three I already have. If you want the whole story, let me elaborate.
I don’t know what happened to me. Somewhere along the line, I thought I belonged somewhere I didn’t belong. I believe it happened back in 2008 or so, when I was tossed off the block for working on The Werewolf Calendar because my work was becoming too cartoony. Which, I disagreed with at the time. However, I was concerned in 2008 with the idea of becoming a “Fine Artist.” Looking back, I don’t know why I ever felt that way, because I think inside, that’s what I truly am. So, ever since then, I’ve been pushing away from Fine Art. What a mistake that was.
It’s taken a great amount of effort sorting out my feelings about the rest of my life. About 5 years back I decided to start making my artwork cater more to games, because I feared that I wouldn’t ever find a job painting realistic werewolves. Now I’m fearing losing my soul to this style. What I’ve been doing for the past 5 years hasn’t been art. It’s been a pathetic attempt to cater to an industry that I am no longer interested in.
I’m sick of catering. I want my soul to show through in what I do— and it hasn’t been. It’s no wonder I can’t get any ‘feeling’ across in the work that I do. It’s no wonder that it’s bland and boring and sad. I’ve been so worried about paying for my education and my life that I’ve forgotten what art really is. Everytime I finish a piece, the only question I’m left asking is “Which portfolio can I put this in?” What a sad fucking life.
I open my gallery and I almost have to cover my mouth with my hands. I’m embarrassed, appalled, upset, scared… There are literally only 3 things I’ve uploaded in the last year that have expressed anything about my artistic soul. It’s no wonder why random Sketches and “The Change We All Go Through,” are the only real spectacles in my gallery right now. The passion I have for drawing and figure-work shows through those three pieces like a beacon. Which is upsetting, because I put in about 4x time rendering commissions and personal images for my “Game Art” portfolio. 95% of this stuff I’m looking at and I am so disappointed in me.
That being said, I will be stepping back from “usual” art style at this time, and will be focusing more on re-falling in love with the style that I love: http://dcwaud.deviantart.com/art/The-Change-We-All-Go-Through-415176812. I have 3 more commissions to finish at this time, and they will be finished in my “usual” style. However, the commissioners on the waitlist will be taken one at a time, and can hopefully understand that I am undergoing a style change.
I’ve learned a lot in the last four years at school— but that knowledge isn’t showing. I need to step back, and paint what I want to paint for a while. I’m going back to the gallery-artist mindset, and that’s going to take a lot of reconstruction on my end, because I’ve been wasting several years doing something I have no passion for. I was so worried about money, and not worried enough about being myself. I’ve subjected myself to people who have made fun of me, who have crushed my feelings of the future— I’n ready to say goodbye to them, and I’m ready to say hello to being an artist again. A place where money doesn’t matter, and a place where people love me for what I produce on my own terms.
If you’d like a more vulgar, pathetic read over of my feelings. Feel free to visit my personal Tumblr: http://bad-inspiration.tumblr.com/post/78064059849/i-have-a-lot-to-get-off-of-my-chest-a-lot-over
An excerpt of an email I sent to a struggling Design student
…The biggest trouble with art schools these days is people go expecting to expand their knowledge of something they already know. You have to get out of that mindset. You have to go to art school because you want to learn something you know nothing about. It’s okay to keep your own unique style—- but theres no point in going if you think the teachers have nothing to teach you. And if you feel that they have nothing to teach you, you are probably wrong.
I had one teacher who I thought was a load of shit. He talked about himself alot— couldn’t stay on task. Always said the same thing. Never made much sense. I got into a fight with him—- a big fight. I swore, yelled, threw things, —- it was unpleasant. As far as I could tell that teacher never wanted to see me again.
Two semesters ago I started taking a Zbrush class—- and I had to drop it because it was too high level for me. There was only one other class that was available in that time slot, and it was with the teacher I got into the fight with. I told myself that I was going to force myself to get along with him so I didn’t end up getting reprimanded again.
I forced myself, for the first time in my life, to listen.
I was a sponge. At the time I didn’t think he was that talented—- I didn’t like him. But when I forced myself to listen to him, and to change and do the things he asked me, my art changed. I was drawing better by the end of that semester then I had ever drawn before.
The most important thing about art school, I think any successful student would agree is this: If you think you would benefit from school, go. If you get there and you aren’t benefiting, leave. But don’t leave if you haven’t TRIED to benefit yourself.
I think there is a certain rank artists and designers get when they turn 45 and they can look at a lecture hall of people and say “I’m classically trained.” The college opportunities offered to students now will in fact be ‘classic’ in 30 years. In ten years, a great deal of education will be online. Students will all be taking the same classes, and they will have nothing unique to show for the location they went to school. They’ll have nothing to share. The only thing they will have to pass on will be information that’s available to everyone for $59.99 per video.
So you have to ask yourself— is that the type of education that’s best for you? (For some, it is.) Or are you prepared to open your mind enough to allow a tangible hand to lead you and teach you new, unique things.