Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why I am an Artist. Pt2

I'm wondering why in the hell I am doing this segment in the first place. I've spent some time thinking it is far too self-centered of a task, and at the same time, thinking that it's exactly the kind of thing I wanted to find and read as I was discovering who I was as an artist, and wanted to know more of the experiences of other creative minds. So know that while I feel generally uncomfortable doing this kind of thing, I also think it is impoirtant. not just for my audience to know me and my motivations better, but to share my expereince so that it may help other artists along the way, whether they identify with or against my journey and how it has influenced my work.

So, We left off with me enrolling in Art school... At this time I had felt pretty confident in myself, I felt that I had payed my dues as an artist and was on my way to a long carreer in art. In a few ways, I was right, but I was also very, very wrong. I hadn't paid shit in dues, not in the world of art, and a bit of tragedy in my life was only a prerequisite for the field I was entering, a non-qualifying footnote. it was the first time in my academic carreer that the passing of my brother andsister was irrelevant to the organiation I was engaged in.

Art School wasnt  the rock and roll fantasy that I thought it would be, and at teh same time, it was. Plenty of parties, girls, drugs and strange places to go around, but now it was all in the context of expression and creativity, everyone spoke the same language,and I learned very quickly, that I was not special, nor particularly skilled. Some of the people I met were incredible artists, dedicated to a craft they took very seriously. I met other students that could care less and only used art as a way to get out from under their parents and be "free" without going to a "hard" school.

I was in a much bigger pond now, and I noticed how small of a fish I was, and that I had a lot of work to do to get "caught up" as I saw it.

A few things got me through Art School as far I did get. the most important were the friends and colleagues I made, while in attendance at the Art Institute of Phoenix, Artists of a different caliber, and shared a view similar to mine. we didn't want to just get jobs in our desired fields, we weren't looking for an easy route. You could tell the artists that were beholden to their work as a point of human existence as opposed to monetary or social gain. The kind of artist that will let himself be hit by a car three times in a row to "get the shot" for an art school video assignment. Or the people that helped with so many assignments that they weren't assigned, because they liked the process, and the effort.

It was incredible. and the people I met became far more important to me than the classes or projects I completed. I learned more from these different artists than I did in class. and they became my point of approval that beyond my grades.

I did well in art school. I got pieces shown in the school gallery, and was singled out a time or two for being creative, skilled, or having a uncommon approach. Other students appreciated my work, though I was nowhere close to the upper echelon of skill or dedication. There were a few assignments I turned into  expressions of social, political, or artistic argument, and others I just slacked off. I passed an animation midterm for a fellow student, and lost 50 hours of 3D character modeling and animation work due to a low quality media storage (ceramic platter syquest disks really sucked back in the day) I produced a nice collection of oversized pieces and did a few female nude studies outside of class requirements. also on the list is a 5 second traditional animation I spent 80 hours on, realizing that traditional cell animation was not something I wanted to do. Then the untold hours working a good friend and fellow artist on his videography work, which later led to efforts to make movies, music videos, instructional videos and advertisements. This was also the time that I developed my comic Simple, and the characters involved into something cohesive along with yet another friend of Mine, Kenny, who since high school had been helping me out with comic book and role playing game ideas. That project has since turned into "A Sleight of Mind" a weekly webcomic that Kenny and I are still working together on.

But then I dropped out of Art School. Too expensive, and taking into account my mental state at the time along with working full time, partying full time and going to school full time. I just couldn't afford to keep attending school. Of course I could have, and had I been thinking in more rational way (not something a 19 year old is known for) I would have knocked off my bullshit and finished school.

Instead I dropped out, went to West Virginia for a couple of months with friend of mine, Sean. Which resulted in a short stay in a county jail for the both of us. (An experience that I count as one of the most important in my life, that I wont go into here, this story is getting long enough.)

After my return to Phoenix, I stayed with a few friends and bounced from couch to couch until Aaron, my videography friend from Art School, who had moved back to Las Vegas, offered me an opportunity to keep working with him on some big projects in Vegas he had going. one of which was the plan to make a movie. We worked well together, Aaron and I, and his confidence in me re-instilled a sense of determination in me that has seen me through to this day. Never had I met a person who HAD to be an artist in much the same way that I did, as Aaron. We both work on our art as if our lives depend on it.

.... I had no idea how long this segment would get... I have a lot more to go but I am really getting tired of this bit. I don't mind talking about my art and how I make it. But so much talking about myself makes me a bit uncomfortable, though the point of all this (yes, I have a point to this)  is to connect who I am to the work I do, and share my life path as an artist.

BUT. I am done for now. pt3 will come out in a few weeks. I want to post some pictures!

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