Eleven months after I told myself I was going to start sharing my work via video content, and I'm finally doing it. Better late than never, yes?
I'm not referring to the Netflix show. Or the song. Gazing into the electric eye itself... and then choosing to broadcast your image online; It feels like narcissism in its most heady form. And yet... I see normal people do it every day. Could I ever be one of those people? To succeed as an artist in today's social media driven world... do I have to be?
We're going to find out. This is going to be worse than a dental operation and doing taxes at the same time. Because by this time next month I am setting a personal deadline of publishing a new video, the first one I've done in years. Why? I've come to some realizations recently, and one of them is that I haven't been 'cultivating social media currency' and it seems many places won't even look at your art unless you've got yuge numbers on twitter or 'insta.'
I hate what I just wrote there. I hate that whatever number of followers or likes someone has seems to have become a barometer of what is 'good' in our modern society. And I hate that I'm a hypocrite because I want to have those numbers, and I don't.
As a non-millennial, I've always had a natural aversion to self expression via online video, but as a student of media, I have studied it- what logistics work, what narratives connect, what is authentic versus contrived, etc... mostly while watching lengthy expositions about football or cartoons on youtube.
Well, it's time for me to use that knowledge. I've also read those advice posts about how the most successful youtubers share novel and relevant information to their niche audience. Fortunately, I happen to have something to say when it comes to this thing called art. And I have finally run out of excuses not to share my thoughts. This is going to get weird.
I'm getting back into the habit of putting myself out there as an artist. It's one of those skills that will atrophy from disuse, and I'm afraid my marketing/self-promotional muscle is as flaccid and doughy as Jabba's tail.
So when I saw the open call for Juxtapoz' ninth annual 'Surreal Salon' I was unmotivated to say the least. $30 just to submit images of up to three artworks seemed like a mean way of taunting starving artists. But it's funny how things can turn from a 'no way' into a 'why not...'
Maybe it's just because I'm getting older, but over the years I've come to realize just how much time and effort these deliberations can (and should) take. And considering the popularity of Juxtapoz, I also understand that a free process would completely overwhelm the jury with submissions. This sort of justification was only going one direction. I'm not exactly a starving artist anymore, so I couldn't use that excuse. And... damn, haven't I made some art that I'm actually happy with recently? I might just have the perfect entry...' The thoughts kept coming.
So with a complete lack of enthusiasm but enough certitude to believe I wasn't just throwing my money away, I bought the ticket.
Still deciding if I'm going to take the ride and go to Baton Rouge later this month.
Preparing for the new year means setting up projects now. And finally, I hope I'm able to share my art and philosophy on a level that's worth paying attention to. I've never been so good at documenting my work so much as actually working. But I've realized that part of making art is being able to share it. And I hope to start doing that on a new level very soon.
So... news, right? Let's see here- I was recently selected for the muralist roster by 4culture, sponsored by the city of Seattle. What does that mean? I'll be doing some fun painting next Summer, fingers crossed. Whatever the case, I'm glad that I've developed enough of a body of respectable work (no matter what I think of it) that I shouldn't be too surprised to get into something like this.
I'm going to hope that's quite fortuitous, because I'm reapplying myself to... applying for galleries, artist calls, and shows. I've been quite the recluse over the last several years as I re-examined my craft.
Destruction and creation, the eternal opposites, one ceasing to exist without the other. If you view making art as growing a culture, as you would in a laboratory, there are countless analogies. Maturation processes, introduction of stimuli, culling specimens... basically any manner of manipulation to to promote desired change, And when you're on a journey of discovery, there are no mistakes, simply surprises and happy accidents. The rest you paint over.
What is my point here? The last batch of paintings, Gaea Bellum, took considerably more time and effort than I had anticipated. That's not a bad thing. I've been cultivating (there it is) a new style for months, and this is the first major iteration in what will be a new muralism aesthetic for me in the future. And the chance to include a historical/cultural narrative with commentary on conflict and nature? Well, the goddamn thing practically paints itself.
The real trick was in the laborious layering of these elements on canvas. By constructing an isometric viewpoint for the helmets I can create symmetry, only to eliminate it with the layering of florals. Strangely enough, the 3D design of the helmet pieces was inspired directly by my recent work exploring symmetry and form with wire art. And it meant considerable more thought in placement and rendering for everything involved. For every bit of quality on the canvas, I painted over considerable other beauty whose only mistake was being in the wrong place or depth. I must be comfortable becoming a ruthless executioner of beauty. Only then can I create it. Put the mask back on, prep another slide, grow another art.