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Let me share some things with you. Grab a cup of coffee. Wait, no, don’t. Get some water. It’ll clear your head. Wait, no. Then you’ll have to go to the toilet during this. Uhh get a piece of fruit. Yeah.



What is art? Take money out of the definition and art is a person expressing something. Add money to the definition and art is whatever the buyer wants it to be. There’s my definition in a nutshell.

“We won’t tell him he’s good. He’ll get a big head.”

Those words were said to me by one who was supposed to be my teacher. I was standing next to her. The words were half-directed at me. She wasn’t joking. I still wonder what she meant. I also wonder if she felt bad after saying that, seeing as how I reacted only with silence.

When you try your entire life to create things according to how you are seeing them in your mind, people WILL try to smash you down.



To Show or Not To Show
By not showing my work, I am being elitist, because I see the world as unworthy. By showing my work, I am being arrogant, because I’m rubbing my “talent” in the faces of others. By not showing my work, I have no feeling of self-worth, because I don’t see my work as worthy of the admiration by others. By showing my work, I’m being stubborn because I should just get a real job like everyone else instead of trying to sell art. By not showing my work, I’m pitiful because it’s a waste of my efforts.

What.

Could someone explain that to me? Please. I’m curious. Enlighten me.



Selfish?
When I started drawing as a kid, I did it for how it made me feel. I really appreciate the comments of others, but that is not my intent. Some people call that selfish. It’s not. Selfishness is putting yourself above all others, regardless of others. I take care about myself for two reasons. The first is so that I am not wasting my life. The second is so that I get to share my life with others.

By drawing for others, I am being selfish because I use their replies to fuel my ego. By drawing for myself, I am being selfish because I am not sharing my creations.

Again. What? People, come on.

It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Drawing is my expression – my therapy, if you will. If I was the last person on earth, would I continue to draw? Damn right I would. Would you?



Pageviews = Power
Someone who is really “popular” has the right to dismiss “advice”, when someone who is “unpopular” does not? Yes and no. An experienced artist knows about art and intent and purpose. If someone suggests something that is contrary to the purpose of the artwork, of course the advice will probably not be taken! It may be appreciated, but not taken. The comment may not be replied to. The commenter may wonder why they did not get a reply. After all, they took all the time and effort to notice that the barrel behind the building did not have a sharp enough shadow! The artist did not reply, therefore, they are dismissing the advice as codswallop. Yes? And from that, we can conclude the artist was being an egotistical such-and-such for not thanking the commenter for their superiorly-artistical-mind-reading piece of insight. Can’t we? What? Sure we can! Who cares what the artist was trying to do!

Well I do. Advice can only ever be an opinion, because you can never truly know the image the artist had in mind. So they went for a realism portrait, and it looks more like a fried egg. In this case, yeah, maybe they could do with some advice, but they’d need attitude advice first. Does telling them everything they did wrong help them? Is it encouraging to hear? Why the hell should they keep trying? Why did you comment?

If you frown because someone does not reply to a comment, ask yourself why. Think about it. Artists are people, too.

What reply were you seeking that you so desperately wanted to hear?



Pride
Is being proud a bad thing? NO. Yes, it has its extremes, but so does everything. To be extremely proud is bad. To be extremely happy is bad. Sore cheeks are the first symptom of severe happiness.

If you are not proud of what you have done, and if you do not feel comfortable with what you are able to achieve, and if you do not believe in your own ability, then where are you going? Can you see yourself succeeding without believing? How’s that gonna happen, eh? Look at how far you’ve come. Don’t say you have not come any distance as an artist. Just don’t.

On a scale of 1 to 100 (100 being your goal), what artistic level are you at, compared to when you first put crayon to paper at level 1. If you say 1 I’m going to slap you. Even if you say 5, you’re gonna find lawn clippings down the back of your shirt. Can you start a straight line and finish it where you want it? Can you do it softer? Harder? Curved? Going up? How about folding over itself? Can you draw a bunch of them parallel for hatching? How about closer together, so it appears darker? Those are skills and techniques. THAT is how you draw. Writing is drawing. You write, don’t you? We just associate letters in groups to resemble stuff. It’s the most abstract art of all! Be proud of what you can do. No, don’t brag about it. Be proud. Just smile and be content. ‘Cos if you’re not content now, when will you be? Hmmmm?

At what point will you be happy with what you can do? What are you doing to reach this point of satisfaction?



It’s Too Difficult
No it’s not. Drawing is not complicated. Drawing is not hard. Drawing is complex, yet fundamental. Break down the aspects of it all.

It’s a bunch of lines and colour that happen to be in a certain arrangement that happens to resemble something to whatever degree of accuracy, and that something reminds you of something which makes you feel something. That’s about the gist of it.

A drawing doesn’t look like? Study each line. Study each tonal plane. There is no easy and hard. There is just time. Give enough time, anyone can draw anything. How do you figure, you may ask. Well, how do you not? Can’t get something to look right? Look at it in person. Look at a photograph. Look at a reference.

If you’re finding it too hard, then slow down and just breathe. It takes years. It takes years and years. If you’re becoming utterly frustrated, you’re ignoring the process and going for the product. That’s like wanting to become a carpenter without knowing how to nail two pieces of wood together. Is it not?



Be Inspired
I get inspiration so often and to such a degree that it hurts. I see a moment happen before my eyes, and the moment strikes me as so pure and so powerful that I try to hold onto it so I can get it down when I get access to paper and pencil. When I do, the image comes out sloppy. I look for similar pictures to search for inspiration and technical reference, but that distracts me, and I get annoyed. I go over the original scene in my mind, trying to remember everything for how it was, without exaggerating. The feeling remains, but the image fades quickly. Sometimes it makes me want to cry because some things are just too beautiful to exist for more than a matter of moments. So I let it go. Some day, I’ll get it again. I’ll be ready.

The question is not, “How do you get inspired?” You don’t GET inspired. It’s not something you either have or don’t have. You tap into the inspiration that surrounds you. When people ask me how I get inspiration, I ask them how they manage to ignore it. Stop talking. Start listening. Stop looking. Start seeing. Start thinking. Dare yourself. Surprise yourself. Amaze yourself, and be grateful.



Optimism
It’s a powerful weapon. Optimism is not blind faith. It is not sitting back, doing nothing, and hoping for the best. I believe optimism should go hand-in-hand with assertiveness and positivism (look them up). You might be thinking, “But the dictionary says th–” *shotgun* It doesn’t matter. I’m talking about my own beliefs, not the technical definitions. Don’t be a killjoy. Like I said before, you really need to believe you can express yourself successfully. Isn’t that a better way of saying, “You need to believe you’re good”? I think so. All the best athletes visualise themselves succeeding in their area of sport. They visualise themselves with the winning medal. They believe in themselves.

But then some might say, “Oh, I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.” So they stop trying. That makes me laugh. The idea is to NOT stop trying. You only fail once you stop trying. If you expect yourself to fail, how are you going to succeed? When you do succeed, what do you pin that down to? Chance? Fate? Reality? Scrap?

No one can be perfectly optimistic, but it’s those who try that best represent the idea.



Conclusion
Okay so if you – for some unearthly reason – found what I said to be useful, but you really can’t be bothered leaving some fancy big comment, simply say “thanks”. I will completely understand and thank you in return for reading. You don’t have to leave a big comment just ‘cos it’s a big comment.

That said, if you want to argue against something I said, or agree with something, or give examples, or tell me where to go, or give me the number of your psychiatrist (that’d be great!), then you can do that, too. I don’t want anyone to think they can’t be honest :]

I dare you to be GREAT

   
Riiga
 
 


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