As some of you may know, I’ve raised myself to be a designer & an artist. This can be problematic.
I went to a charter arts high-school and focused in studio arts, even joining an established local art gallery as a student member. Then I attended a crazy-challenging liberal arts college, studied printmaking and Renaissance rendering techniques for a year in Italy, and graduated with a major in studio art. Again. This sort of lifelong focus is rather threatening, for it endangers a hemming-in, or, a feeling that I must continue along this path. If I love making art so much, if it comes so naturally and is so healing, shouldn’t I keep doing it?
A printmaking master, a man who had dedicated his entire life to his work, once reflected in a letter of recommendation that I could make printmaking my life but that I was too distracted. He is totally right. That is what it boils down to, and that is why I’m in Japan right now, doing things completely unrelated to my schooling. Part of it is due to fear, and part of it is that I’ve thoroughly done my research and have not found the perfect niche for myself. There are plenty of young artists trying to make their way and a name for themselves but I want to be part of a greater movement, a movement that is far less ego-based and far more set on making positive social and political change.
Most of my reticence in completely applying myself to art is because I doubt my current attitude towards the act of creating and propagating artwork. I find there are way too many artists that want to show their work in galleries as a way to move forward but if you really think about it, these small-time galleries offer artists little financial compensation and oftentimes little exposure. On the other end, there is a communicative gap between art and audience and I’m really not sure most people come away from gallery shows having been moved sufficiently to do something, think in a new way, research. Art can be beautiful, horrifying, repulsive, curious… art can be a lot of things but where does art begin to become a tool rather than a result? I like the idea of artwork as lever, as a kind of metaphoric seesaw to propel something sedentary into a higher mode of existence.
There is a fundamental discord between message and audience – disabled by the means of display. Basically galleries and museums are fucked up. So often artists display their work because they want to socialize, not to make a social impact, so institutionally displayed art never makes sense in the way that it can be helpful.
Making art is my bliss. I’m essentially a narcissistic creature, and I think that is a requirement of most all artists; for narcissism is an incredibly effective way to understand what one is made of both on the exterior and in the interior. While these tendencies affirm my artistry, it also poses a challenging problem: how do I begin to create work that will actually change perspectives, help to solve societal issues, broadcast political statements, to actually do good in the world? Until something clicks in my mind, or I begin to seriously make artwork 24/7 (work that contends with the aforementioned issue), I will continue to “play” by drawing postcards, expand on my Photoshop & Illustrator skills, and wonder what it would be like to be a tiny fish in the huge ocean that is the competitive art world.
On that note, look at these e-sketches I’ve made recently!