Welcome to my humble little studio. This is where all the magic happens…okay, it really happens in the corner of the couch that’s out of view but this is where the magic gets finished. As you can see it’s just a drawing desk and a bunch of my drawing pens in old coconut oil jars and cups along with a couple of other knick knacks. There isn’t much too it but it’s my little sacred space where I’m able to get things done.
One day I will have a beautiful home studio with a big desk, lighting and camera equipment for capturing my own photo references, hopefully a personal model or two and books and sketches all over my walls. I’ve got studio goals. 😊
…when things fall through. But often times that’s what I immediately feel. When I step back, way back, in order to get some clarity, I realize it’s no direct fault of my own but at first, it’s easy to start beating up on myself. As an artist these internal beatings have a lot to do with getting buyers for my work and doing commissions. I’ll go into a tizzy and start wondering what did I do wrong when things don’t work out? Maybe my work isn’t good enough. Maybe I didn’t speak the right words. Maybe I didn’t pray hard enough. Maybe I’m not thinking positively enough or vibrating at the right frequency enough. These thoughts get me all in a knot of anxiety and confusion that sometimes I end up spending way too much time search my personal library for the correct formula to get myself right with the universe than I do in crafting my art. The truth is, which I often have to remind myself of, there are things that will always be out of my hands. I only have control over my own thoughts and actions.
As an artist you are going to run into people who will commission you to do work and then change their minds. You are going to run into people who you will do freelance work for who won’t pay you. You are going to run into people who will get your hopes up and go through all the motions of acting like they are going to buy some of your work but won’t follow through. You may run into a lot of people like this or just a few but none the less you will run into them. This is just the way it is. It doesn’t matter how prayed up you are, how positively you think, how long you sit in mediation, how many candles you light or how many incantations you speak. You will encounter such individuals along the road to your success. Don’t let them trip you up and doubt your aspirations. Keep moving forward because no one is going to care about your dreams, your goals or your craft as much as you or take it as seriously as much as you. So don’t build the worth of your dream upon the words and actions of others. Keep believing in yourself and your vision. Devote yourself to it by all means. As you keep going more opportunities will come. You will meet more people who will actually buy your work, follow through with that commission or give you that amazing gig. All of the let downs are just a part of the journey or as a former love once said to me “You gotta go through the shit to get to the sugar.”. Your main focus and responsible is creating the best possible work that you can create according to your vision and putting it out there into the world as much as possible. The rest is out of your hands.
Stumbled across an unopened bottle of India ink, two brand new sketchbooks and a package of unused pens, hidden away at the bottom of my bookshelf. Slightly dusty, they lie in wait for enthusiasm to take over me and break them in. I’ve long forgotten what I bought them for but I suspect that they were obtained during one of my “dances of avoidance”. That’s what I call it whenever I feel anxious about creating art but instead of pulling out the drawing paper and pens that I already have at my disposal, I go to the art supply store and buy new stuff or read some inspirational literature on art. It’s a wonderful trick I play on myself. Instead of putting my energy into actually creating art, I do anything that gives me the impression that I’ve done something art related so that I can at least feel like I’m being an artist. I tell myself “I need the inspiration.” or “I need the supplies.” but really I just need to draw. Not that supplies and inspiration aren’t needed but the funny thing about inspiration is that it often comes when you’re doing your thing not when you’re sitting around waiting on it.
So it’s a peculiar game of procrastination, illusion and avoidance I play, a game that sometimes I can get stuck in until I remember something I once read about writers. There are two kinds of writers, the first kind reads books on writing, takes writing classes, does writing exercises, goes to writing seminars, collects books of their favorite authors and takes every chance to go to their book signings and that’s the extent of it. The second kind just sits down and writes. The first writer is actually more caught up in being a “writer” than actually writing. This is the illusion. Anybody can say that they’re a writer and do all of the things that can give a person the appearance of being a writer but the real proof is in the work and the working. This too can be applied to artists. It is to this that I am reminded to sit down and focus on creating art rather than doing things that give me the feeling that I’m being an artist. One’s passion for creating art needs to be stronger than one’s romanticized ideas of being an artist. 🙏😌
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
If there is any work of art that is a glimpse into my soul, I would have to say it is The Slav Epic by Alphonse Mucha.
Although Mucha is more notably remembered for his poster illustrations of lovely women with flowery decor and fanciful graphic lettering, as well as being one of the well known artists of the Art Nouveau movement. For me, even though I greatly admire his illustrations, which are often a source of inspiration, it is The Slav Epic that has always captivated me the most. There’s something deeply emotive about the work. And the many years it took to for Mucha create such exquisitely impressive paintings, which he considered to be his life’s masterpiece, is something to be in awe about. I hope that one day I can create something as amazing from my own cultural history.
The Slav Epic is a series of 20 huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people as a celebration of Slavic history. Unfortunately with the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Mucha work was denounced and he became a target during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He died in the summer of 1939…but thankfully his beautiful works live on.
I don’t remember exactly when or how I came across Aubrey Beardsley. Bits and pieces of a high school library on a sunny afternoon seem to be the only clues that my memory can conjure up. But I do remember very vividly sitting in my bedroom and feeling proud of the personal copy of “The Climax” that I had just completed. So I can say with certainty that it was sometime during my senior year in high school that I became acquainted with the fella.
If you have been following my posts over the last year then you know I have a love for the simplicity of line drawings and Beardsley is one of those artists who captures that quite well in many of his ink illustrations. Now anyone who has ever been brave enough to have studied his work is aware that it can be a bit bizarre and risque, especially for the times in which he created. I admit, that was part of what I liked about it back then but now a days, nothing is all that risque. Besides his use of ink and lines, Beardsley was most all my gateway artist into the art movement of Art Nouveau. This was a style and movement that even ’til this day still influences my work and ideas about art.