Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's like ART, man!

Posted by Picasa

Drawing, related, and unrelated matters.

I used to draw a lot as a younger man. I often wonder how I managed to sit for hours on end happily drawing when I find it so difficult to do so now. A diminished attention span is certainly one factor to consider. After graduating from college my interest in creating art seemed to diminish somewhat...we'll not really my interest but my actual output. Art school was a lot of fun, and I produced a fair amount of work but for a variety of reasons I became disillusioned with the "art" world, whatever that is. Apparently things have changed a bit since then but when I was taking art classes the focus seemed to be on conceptual work, and abstract expressionism, which were basically the polar-opposite of what I was interested in producing. In many ways I am a traditionalist, an old-schooler, a luddite - call it what you will. I value drafting ability, and a well-composed and rendered image, though many would be surprised to hear this based on my love of lowbrow, kitcshy and often "ugly" art and cartoons.

Upon entering the workforce and dealing with a full-time plus job and leaving behind my cozy, liberal-arts college with all it's inspiring denizens I found it difficult to stay motivated creatively on my own. Coming from a small town with an amazing music scene like Denton back to Dallas I re-discovered the guitar and without the intimidation factor of the brilliant players I knew I started to progress and play for enjoyment again. One thing I enjoyed about playing the guitar was that it seemed so spontaneous and non-committal - meaning that unless it was being recorded the tones just kind of floated away into the ether. This was so different than the relationship I'd had with visual art. With art you had a permanent record of every success, or failure you produced. Well, I suppose you could destroy the stuff as you go along but it's difficult to part with something you've invested so much time in.

For better or worse the common perception that life's hardships, and trying times foster a nurturing environment for the production of great works doesn't seem to ring true for me. I tend to shut down creatively under that kind of pressure, or perhaps I just feel justified in not living up to my potential. The image at the top of this post is a cheesy collage depicting a quick sketch I did today, and the cover of a new sketchbook I bought recently with a thrown together vinyl image I emblazoned upon it. I gave myself permission to draw anything, regardless of quality or meaning within it's pages. I'm trying to get back to the freedom I once felt in creating art, that is so similar to how I often feel about playing the guitar. Yeah, I know there's a war on - Boo Hoo.