Sunday, February 15, 2009

The way I are

In the beginning, ‘real artists’ didn't just happen. It started a long time ago with just an idea in their heads and no idea where their art was going to take them or how they would get there. There was a time when I never thought of myself as an artist, and even today when people give me compliments on my work I have trouble accepting it, without making a deflating statement of some sort or another. It’s just the way we are. There are some artists with really big heads and some talented artists with no head at all, and then there’s me.

I have always tried to do the best depiction, sculpture, design that I could muster. In the end, my art always came out more or less the way I saw it, based on my skill level or mood at the time of course. People would ask about finished paintings: "Did you know it was going to look like that when you started?" Never having been the kind of artist that goes back and "dabbles" a little bit more, my motto is, “When it’s done it’s done - that’s it, the end.”

My weapon of choice when I started art was a crap blue ball point pen and whatever paper was handy. If I had time to kill, more often than not you'd see me drawing. Sometimes all I had to work on was the flap in the top of a 25 pack of smokes, and if I was really hard up (had no smokes) I'd draw on the inside of the empty pack. Over time, my choice in pens changed to very fine felt tip pens. I like the way pen & Ink (black and white) looks.

Then one day I broke my wrist. A week or so later, I just happened to be out on my balcony and saw a neighbour out on his deck painting with an airbrush. Intrigued, I made my first airbrush out of pen parts and a hypodermic needle and used an aquarium air bubbler for air. It didn't work very well, but I was hooked. When my first compensation cheque came a few weeks later, I bought a real one along with a noisy compressor. I’ve been airbrushing ever since and upgrading my equipment along the way.

In the early days of art, a ride on a bus could be a great source of inspiration. Life in general, no place in particular was just fine. Incidentally, I don't draw people, I mean I do portraits and special-request nudes etc., but my art is about representing an insight, epiphany, event or thing that I witness. Kind of like a diary of sorts, but it’s in a pictographic sort of code in that all things are related, no matter how abstract those connections seem.

Probably from the first time I showed my work I've had people tell me how good I was. When I look back at some of the strange conversations I've had with people about my art, I really wonder. I still have some of those paintings and drawings and I still don't see it. Good thing I guess, or I never would have kept at it. It’s kinda dumb though, when I was in public school I was never really allowed to do creative things. If memory serves, I think I was always in trouble for not doing the things I sucked at first, so there was never any time left for art, I guess.

When I was 20-ish, I ended up in a trade school taking a badly put together graphics course which I was thrown out of on a couple of occasions in the form of suspensions etc. On one occasion, something that transpired caused the cancelation of three days classes for 100 plus students while the faculty tried to figure what to do about it - oh ya, it wasn't just because of me. But even as an adult (I didn't go to high school but that’s another story) I was getting into trouble for asking the wrong question. For example, when it was time for the school open house their various displays were pretty dry without my stuff. And I said something to the effect of "How can you show my stuff and take credit for it if I have been formally tossed out? That would be a copyright infringement according to what you taught me, wouldn't it?” Needless to say, that was the beginning and end of my (sort of) formal art education. I think all I learned through that was this: ‘Those that teach probably do so as a result of wanting to stay involved but are un-able to actually do.’ I did learn some other interesting things though that I’ll save for subsequent posts.

But now with all that said, I will tell you why I have started this blog. A long-time friend passed on this past week. Prior to this, he set some things in motion and people in contact with me and unfortunately I didn't act fast enough to find out why. Maybe through these musings I will understand and you (the reader) may learn something too from my experience. I will try hard not to rant but art is - after all, a tactile emotion. I will now continue on for the both of us.

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