No Longer An Artist
I think it’s time to admit, if only to myself, that I am no longer an artist.
Maybe it’s just frustration that leads me to write this, but it is indeed a fact. It’s not that I have, by some weird twist of fate, forgotten all I’ve learned, lost my talent, or some other strangeness. I simply don’t create much (hardly any) of my own art any more. I look at art, spending hours looking at professional artists’ sites, including (and especially) DeviantArt, but I can’t find whatever it takes to complete anything of my own. I’m just not driven to draw or paint like I was in the past. Obviously, this bothers me. I’m just not sure I want it to change, either.
I’m not sure when this started. Probably around 2006 or ’07. I know I first noticed it around that time. For example, a lot of the imagery that is inspiring some of StarSea was created between 2003 and 2005, when I was working at a call center. However, in the past couple of years, I’ve only completed one piece of artwork, a character portrait for D&D. And it’s not my GMPC that I played in my Invasions campaign that I just completed. I tried to do something for that character, and I could never get things right. I couldn’t find a way to make his armor or his weapons look like they belonged to him. In said game, I came to rely on images from the Internet to show the players, rather than draw my own stuff.
I know that, while working at the photo studio (2006-2011), I noticed I wasn’t completing sketches I started at work. I have a lot of skeletal drawings that I never completed, and probably never will (including that GMPC). In that time, I also cut back on the comic books I was buying, especially the Big Two. I got to reading more, I think, especially on the Internet. I know I was reading a lot of 4e books at that time. But since? I’m not buying any comic books any more. I can’t really afford it, and even if I could, the Big Two have left me in the dust, and only some of the indie stuff really ever caught my attention.
I’ve been asked to do creative work in the past few years (including some stuff for the FLGS), and I’ve let it all fall through the cracks. I’m just not interested in or inspired by the stuff I do, for the most part. I’m to a point where even the stuff I do for myself is generally unsatisfying. I’m just not interested or inspired by my art enough to complete it. Part of me is frustrated by that, and part of me thinks maybe it’s a natural evolution. Right now, I’d like to put pencil to paper, but I have no idea what I’d do other than just scrape a pencil back and forth across the page, making nothing.
Some of this is coming from something that struck me earlier. I found that someone had a link on Facebook to a local studio that has done some really interesting installations locally and elsewhere. I thought “That would be a neat place to work,” and then I thought “But I don’t have a portfolio any more, and creating one would be a big frustration…” for the reasons I’m discussing here. You can’t make a portfolio on incomplete pieces you’re not inspired to complete.
On that idea of evolution, I know that recently, I’ve wanted to save up for an iPad Mini. I want something portable I can carry at work easily. I’ve already earmarked a couple of drawing programs, but what I really want it for it to read and write. Maybe that’s the direction I should be going. Or maybe I’m hiding from these facts I’ve mentioned by trying to be creative in a different direction.
A few years ago, while at a meeting for a Renaissance Faire group, I was sitting drawing and one of my closer friends made a remark that I was denying my calling by not working as an artist. Maybe it’s the monkey put on my back by my father, but I’ve always felt I need a day job while doing the stuff I love. Recently, I’ve been wondering if my art work hasn’t been a denial of a calling. When I was a teen ager, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I sent off a few submissions that got me canned rejections. Within a couple of years, I stopped. It wasn’t until I was nearly 30 that I think my skills got to where I might have been good enough for the industry, but by that time I had lost interest. I think that storytelling is more my calling, and I’m still searching for a way to do that in such a way I can pay my bills.
I’m kinda running out of steam here. I was pretty irritable when I started this, and that’s now faded. I have no idea if I’ve conveyed my thoughts well. That may be because I’m not 100% sure where I’m going with this. I’m going to go ahead and make this public, even though it may be something I should keep to myself. I think I want the reading brain trust to make comments, and maybe the comments you readers make will give me some ideas.
Thanks for reading. Later.