I am reposting this from my blog: comingupfrombehind.tumblr.com/… I don't visit dA much anymore but I figured that since this was relevant I would post it here.
design vs art
I've been dying to write this for a while now. It's something really personal to me, and I don't really know how this will turn out. Maybe I should write it down on paper first - but no - I'm addicted to technology
For those who don't know - I'm an almost out of school yet already working graphic designer - but I was also an "artist" for lack of a better term before hand.
From a very young age I showed an aptitude for drawing/painting/doing artistic things, so I pursued what I was perceived to be good at. In high school, I doubled up on my art classes all four years, which allowed me to graduate with an A average after failing out of spanish and failing a year of math. I went away to school to study art with the intention of becoming a graphic designer ashleyhandlin.com/ - so for a year and a half I was in upstate NY doing almost entirely fine arts, and then for half a year I was home doing liberal arts with an extremely intensive painting class, and then for another half year I was doing both fine arts and design in NYC, where I go to school currently for design. For the past year and a half I have been almost exclusively designing with little "fine art" on the side. In high school, I decided I wanted to become a graphic designer because it made the most economic sense to me - I can make artwork (I mean that term and the term artist in the most unpretentious way possible) in a commercial aspect and get paid for it, without the hassle of going the fine arts route and trying to get people to buy my fine artwork which is much more difficult and prone to economic failure. Win-win, right?
Or so I thought. To be honest, I'm ambivalent about the work I create these days, rather than enthusiastic and proud. Everything I create now has a dollar sign in mind, rather than an actual feeling, an idea
anything. It feels so empty. Concept was never my strong point - I was always best at execution rather than the initial work that goes into the creation of artwork. I definitely blame part of this on my lack of culture - I do not read books often or do other cultural things because of my ADHD - I would rather read the internet (mostly news and long magazine-like articles and essays) and browse things of interest (aka TUMBLR!) for hours instead. My eyes are glued to the screen, to the point that it's starting to hurt these days. The ADHD and my brain injuries keep me from remembering most of what I read, it's as if I am an oversaturated sponge that can no longer soak up and retain knowledge and ideas. Needless to say, this has poorly affected my work for years now.
On top of that
I lost my ability to draw freehand because of design. To save time/make more money, I often trace over other (stock) images for the creation of a lot of my work. It's pathetic, considering how good I used to be at drawing something from life or a reference. This is the thing that upsets me the most - while I will never forget how to see, I most certainly can forget how to draw and paint. I even used to sculpt and build stuff, although not very well or often. What I miss more than anything in the world is working with my hands.
Nowadays I sit at the computer from 10-6 at my job designing merchandise for Broadway - and while I am super fucking thankful and lucky to have my job I sort of hate it. The creation of merchandise is minimally creative - most days I am working with artwork given to me by the shows who already had a design/ad firm do the work. Somedays, like today, I get to draw new stuff for shows that don't have a lot of artwork or bigger shows that can have more variety on top of the given artwork. I actually really liked what I drew - I'd post it, but that would end up in me getting fired lol. But, it was a tracing over a stock image. So here we go. I lost my ability, or maybe just my confidence in myself, to draw well.
Anyways. I'm so fucking scatterbrained, if you can't tell by my writing here. I made a promise to myself that starting this school year I was going to take time aside to create traditional artwork BECAUSE I CAN. Not to make a profit necessarily, but to re-ignite the talent I have inside of me. I really really really miss drawing the human figure from life - it was my absolute favorite class ever and I either drew or painted from the human figure for two years straight, nearly every day*. Nothing feels better than the feeling I get when I'm working from life. It's better than sex. It's better than drugs. It's amazing. My mind shuts off - I stop thinking. I just work. It's completely intuitive, spontaneous, impulsive
Whatever I felt before I started working that day is gone. If I was upset, I am then happy. If I was stressed, suddenly I was then calm.
I would take a college class on life drawing this semester, but unfortunately I need to take more important classes so I can graduate already (May 2012!). I think I am going to take local art classes at the art league, where I got my first taste in drawing nudes from life when I was 17 (and in my opinion, created some of my best work). I am also going to draw whenever and wherever I can when I feel the urge to, so I am bringing a sketchbook along with me again, just like I did in high school. And finally. I still need to eat, so I will be creating my personal design work from traditional methods again - not because I can't create what I want on the computer, but because I am painfully nostalgic for the romance I had working analog.
*It just so happens that a while back I collected most of my nudes asher27.deviantart.com/gallery… from my first year and a half of college that I spent upstate, as well as a few drawings from when I was still in high school.
Also, I want to add that Hazel Dooney's writings hazeldooney.blogspot.com/?zx=3… and her work www.hazeldooney.com/ have inspired me to go back to what I love
She happens to be one of my favorite artists of all time, and more significantly, my favorite living artist. Also, she's on tumblr dooneystudio.tumblr.com/ .
- Mood: Shocked
I think many young artists experience the very same frustrations you speak of. Yes - many of us pursue careers to pay the rent and put food on the table while fostering our artistic abilities on the side. The most important thing is that you remain driven and continue to feel that you must produce your own art no matter what. You have time, talent and passion.