As promised, in an effort to give more of my efforts to DA, please enjoy for your perusal this little editorial opinion piece.
Caution: the following article may contain poorly veiled and vaguely censored curse words and actual opinions. YES, ACTUAL OPINIONS! You have been warned!Lately I've been starting to feel an unsettling lack of fulfilment in my art.
Yes, I'm progressing all the time, which is great. Yes I'm starting to get interest from potential clients, excellent. I get some nice comments, which I love. As much as we all love favs/likes/retweets/reblogs (see how tiring all this social media lingo gets?), I have no words to describe the utter appreciation I have for those of you who leave comments and give feedback, or just a kind word or two. But despite all of that I often have the feeling that something is missing and just lately over an epic struggle to finish a piece I was colouring, it came to me. I've been too scared (for want of a better adjective) to make art that says something about me, my opinions, the way I feel or the messages I want to get across.
As a long time anxiety sufferer who's tackled his own demons in the past, I know that this is the very essence of anxiety; the fear that people won't like who you really are. Won't empathise with your true feelings and beliefs. And ultimately, will shun you as a result. But as an artist, there's a little voice inside of you that rebels against those fears. The little punk rock voice buried deep in me that says "who gives a f*ck what they think? DO IT!" It's the same voice that's probably responsible for leading me astray in my youth as a means of avoiding confronting those very same feelings. Only now, as a mature and passably intelligent man with a great life surrounded by love and acceptance, I suspect that voice is back to say something that can only be of benefit to me this time around.As much as I love drawing fan art of the things I enjoy for example,
or character designs I admire, these things are hollow and meaningless for an artist's soul. I'll never stop doing those things; they're fun, light hearted and allow me to share the things I love with you girls and guys and other folks who share the same interests. Also they're good practice and allow me to draw characters I like in my own style, which is fun. But what would be truly
liberating is to remove the barriers and limitations and just draw what I feel
is what I need to work at in my opinion. As someone who's still a relative unknown in the online art world, most of what I post will be seen by only a few. Why not post something with meaning to me, soul, heart, call it what you will. Essentially, integrity
. Something that resonates with people who share your view or feelings. Wouldn't you rather have followers that get you and enjoy your work all the more? I know I'd rather have 10 people's interest in my integrity, than 10,000 sycophantic followers who nod accordingly like a nodding dog and lap up whatever meaningless lazy crap artist x
produces, "cos everyone else follows and likes it and dey all can't be wrong, right duhhh?"I don't want to start any kind of purile gender debate here*,
but in all of the artists I've studied, admired and enjoyed, I genuinely believe that it comes more naturally to express one's true feelings through art for female artists. Whereas I think for a traditionally western heterosexual male, repressing feelings comes with the territory. I'm not tarring everyone with the same brush, so before the comments start- if that doesn't apply to you then great! But it certainly does to me. As a 32 year old guy who likes to think I'm pretty in touch with my emotional and spiritual self, I'm still pretty fricking emotionally retarded when it comes to communication online. I lean towards the opinion that nobody wants to hear you moan about your insecurities or problems, or how hard life is, or how you doubt yourself and your abilities, etc, etc, et bloody cetera. So I try to avoid it, but of course life gets the better of all of us sometimes; it seeps through the cracks and we need help. It's human! And I would like to think that I'd be the first in line to give a few kind words or encouragement to others when the metaphorical sh*t hits the equally metaphorical fan for them emotionally speaking.((*I should just say as a little disclaimer that I'm pretty much the least judgemental person you'll meet; colour, creed, gender or sexuality is unimportant to me, so please don't take this as anything more than a casual observation! The only thing I'm intolerant of is intolerance, ignorance and general douchebaggery. C'mon folks, you should know how to NOT be a dick. Jeepers I long for an alien invasion so we can overcome borders and just be flipping humans to one another...))
Now I'm not saying I'm going to be starting an online focus group and singing Kumbaya.
Far from it. I can't play the guitar for sh*t for a start. I mean, I do live in sandals in the summer. And I do meditate and drink green tea. Hmmm...
Anyhoo, the point I'm making is that I'm the same guy I was yesterday. The guy who believes in being polite, taking criticism on the chin (even if behind the screen you're about to throw your monitor out of a 2nd story window like Jon Bon Jovi. Wow, that reference shows my age), not taking the flame bait and never making someone feel trolled or otherwise demeaned. None of that will change, but sometimes I want people to realise there's more to me than that. Hell, there's more to all of us than an icon on a screen and a history of polite and non-inflammatory comments! It will take time I'm sure, to allow myself to be served up on an artistic plate for the digestion or repulsion of those vicious interwebs. But it must
happen. Or I face the prospect of building a career that will be forever hollow and unfulfilling, with it's basis becoming a source of resentment and a betrayal of my own inner self. (edit: earmarking that last sentence for some kind of writing award...
I'll still be posting scifi punk elf girls(!), of course, I love that stuff! Just like most of you, I love Game of Thrones, StreetFighter, Mass Effect, Halo, Marvel, (just visualise lots of little TM symbols on those there) pretty much everything written by Jim Zub ( Zubby
for those who're interested) , and the list goes on! These things will still influence me, of that I'm sure. But rather than posting art to please the people, sometimes I want- hell, I need
to let loose and do something else. Something that expresses and gratifies myself.I'm writing all of this because I'm going to encourage you to do the same.
Especially those of you who've worked hard to improve, to get noticed, to make something of your art you can be proud of. You owe it
to yourselves. You've put in the work on technique and the agony of learning (and relearning...and relearning again...) anatomy and all that crap that almost broke your will to ever get better, now you deserve the chance to say something. Voice an opinion, air how you feel, make a statement. Like me, I'm sure you feel you still have a long way to go before you're satisfied with your skill level (if that ever happens, which it probably won't), but your hard work so far and your existence as a human being earns you that right!
Just maybe there's a chance that there are enough people out there who feel the same as you, with whom your message will resonate, that you can have integrity and popularity
, all at once. And trust me, it'll feel a damn sight more meaningful if you do accomplish this most appealing feat of feats. So let us go forth safe in the knowledge that if we put ourselves out there, we may get judged, hurt, trolled, snubbed. Yep, not gonna lie. The internet's a bit like the future as predicted by Totall Recall (not the crappy one with Colin f*cking Farrel). People are cruel, words sting like salty tears on cracked, parched lips (and there is lycra literally EVERYWHERE). But the risk could well be worth the reward. Besides, nothing worth doing is ever easy (it says something to that effect right there in my comment sig. Comment at me if you don't believe me and you'll see it's true in my reply), but if anything was worth it
it was going to the moon! it's removing the 'vs' in Integrity vs Popularity.
I hope you enjoyed the long read, if not then I imagine you've already left by this point anyway. Let me know your thoughts on the subject matter. I'd also love to hear if more of this type of content interests you. This is an all inclusive thang, so please feel free to comment safe in the knowledge that no judgement will be passed on anyone here. We're all equally human and equally Deviants. Hell, even the aforementioned flamers and trolls are welcome to try their hand if they don't mind getting an earful of opinionated Ian in return!
Next week I'm hoping to put together a little regular feature slot to showcase what I've been furiously favving away at in the past little while!