We learn a lot of stupid things throughout our lives. Some get deeply ingrained in our subconscious, they become beliefs, and these beliefs disguise themselves as “values” which we wave as a flag as a defence mechanism in order to supress the whishes that we feel go against those values.
Bare with me, I’ll break it down.
I want to devote more time to making things and learning. But in order to do that I need to finance these activities.
I’ve been a long time supporter of everything “indie”. In the 90’s all those indie bands, fanzines and grungy looking musicians who roamed around the world in shitty vans putting up with terrible living conditions in order to preserve the authenticity of their art, were my ultimate objects of cult.
I had a reputation of knowing everything about evey indie band, the more obscure the better. I could get bootlegged tapes sent to me from all over the world, I had status as an indie music connaisseur.
Same thing with publications. I am crazy about magazines. I wish I could publish my own one day. I want to find that writer hidden under a rock, a mythical author and make her a part of a selected collection of publications.
In short, the underground pulls me. Feeling “I found” something that nobody else has found, is my ultimate high.
And so, in my younger years I learned to despise the mainstream for no good reason. It was taste, it was snobbism, I don’t know what it was. The problem is that I have become trapped.
When I started to draw in early 2014, I thougt I’d do it as a hobby. I was confident I could keep this new interest as something to do, it would not boil over. I had focus, I was going to launch my freelance web design business, I was already knee deep in code, in WordPress, in Jekyll, in HTML and CSS. I already had an obsession with front-end development and it was at times quite difficult to curb.
Then we went to France and I started drawing and painting as much as 8 hours a day and I realized that this is what I wanted to do. But as my love of the underground still ran through my veins, when I started to see how many aspriring and professional artists were doing what I wanted to do, I put a lid on it and thought, I’m just going to keep it as a hobby.
But I can’t stop, and I find myself reading more and more about art, art technique and how to sell your work.
I learned Photoshop and Illustrator at an insane speed. I took several classes, I started studing color theory, I launched a 100 day project with a friend where I would draw 100 imaginary animals.
And I still can’t admit to myself that I want to do this. That I want to create that collection of animals, that I want to illustrate the book by my favorite gloomy author, that I got so excited by learning how to make hand made block patterns that it was the best day of 2014.
I went to my favorite bookshop today. I used to hit the literature section and come out with a pile of books. Today, I spent most of the time crouching by the art section and devouring all those abandoned coffee table books.
I don’t need any more signs do I?
But so many questions I do have.
When do you know when a piece is ready to be shown to the world?
Where do you find someone to give you honest feedback in a world where the slightest adivice costs you hundreds of dollars?
How do you scan your work and how to you make sure you are cleaning it up correctly in Photoshop?
Is it allowed to modify your work in Photoshop?
What do I want to ultimately make?
What is my style?
What if I get bored with my style?
How do I stop compulsively looking at other people’s work and feeling like you have three mountains to climb?
But most of all, how do I take the turn into making art that could potentially sell and finance this obsession of mine without feeling strange and treacherous?
And how do I combine it with web development? Do I have to sacrifice one or the other?
From an accidental watercolor class on Skillshare, my whole life has been put into question. All my plans and my focus which had already cost me blood, sweat and tears with web development are going into the back-burner. My husband watches me from afar, how I spend money on classes and books and art materials, how I have to have a scanner NOW, how I can’t sleep because I want to keep drawing and painting and in the deep corners of my mind, I don’t allow myself to dream.
I bought Lilla Roger’s book “I just want to make things”. It was an impulse buy, it was a Kindle deal, but I loved the title so much.
There were two things that struck me right away:
“People buy your joy”
And I realized that though I do enjoy making my things, I am anguishing about how much space in my head the material side of it is occupying.
She makes you dream about your ideal studio.
I live in Canada, I used to live in Mexico. When I came to Canada it was by itself a major upgrade, now, I’m not so sure but I live comfortably. I am extremely fortunate.
So to think about having a studio is like a luxury I can’t allow myself to think about too much. I stop whenever I see photos of studios like this
I keep telling myself how fortunate I am. I shouldn’t wish for more.
But the questions in Lilla’s book were so compelling:
If money were no boject, what kind of studio would you have?
What would it look like?
Would it have a coffee station? How many workstations? What kind of lightning?
Would it have a place for you to stretch out? Would you teach in it?
Would it be in your home or out of the house?
Before I went to bed last night, as I was falling asleep I mumbled the answers to these questions. In the midst of being awake and not awake, my judgemental voice quieted down and I managed to verbalize all the answers.
These included: our of the house, a bean bag and a dog.
So many demons to fight. Lots of choices to make. Financial situations to consider.
I wrote about this same thing in my daily Tumblr (in Spanish) thinking about a Kate Bush’s song Never be Mine.
Meanwhile, I want to stay in the zone of joy while setting brushes to paper.