What if no one even likes – or, maybe worse, no one cares – about your art?
You laugh if you can. You cry if you have to. Then you decide whether or not you need to have your work liked more than you need to create the work that no one likes or cares about.
If you can create what you want and aren’t crushed by the reception the work gets, then you make more. Otherwise? You find out what you need to do to please people and then make the work that will bring you the notice and/or approval you want.
Or maybe you fling yourself back and forth between these options? Trying not to care, trying to find out what people want, trying not to care…trying, trying, trying.
Or maybe you pack it all in and stop trying so you can stop caring, until you realize that won’t work because you reallyneed to make your art so you start all over again. Trying, caring.
Then, in one of those cosmic bursts of magic, someone loves your art. Not everyone. But someone.
“We Never Saw Eye to Eye” began its life (in 2011) as a casual sketch of Boris Karloff’s face from one of his movies. His expression wouldn’t leave my mind so I drew it.
The face doesn’t look like Boris Karloff but I did a decent job with the expression so I kept the sketch to incorporate in a digital compilation. The other components are a formerly-trashed acrylic painting and an acrylic ink drawing. I made it using a flatbed scanner and Photoshop Elements, several years ago.
This year I decided to make it available in my Redbubble shop on their “graphic” tee shirts – along with the usual prints/products – because the expression resembles mine too often these days. It has a strong “GRRRRRRRRRR!” vibe.
Several years ago I made “Politics Is Messy.” I knew there was something “off” about it (the nose, mostly) but it was a piece born of anxiety and anger. Once I let the feelings out through the image it was…ummmm…irrelevant. I filed it and walked away.
But its eyes are still worth doing something with. So is the graffiti-like overlay. The nose, though, needs help. It’s not horrible but it disrupts the composition.
Easy to fix! (I hope.)
In a day or so I’ll dig out the original digital file, open it in Photoshop Elements, and reshape the bridge of the nose. If all goes well I ought to be able to do that with a soft brush, “burning” lightly in the bridge area to create a shadow. Maybe I’ll work on the mouth, too, because right now those lips look like two amorous worms.
Wish me luck!
For those who are interested, “Politics Is Messy” is made from a pencil sketch, an acrylic painting, a digital painting, and scans of a magazine article and furious ink scribbling.
Are you wondering why she looked the way she did? She lost her hands and hair, and gained a headscarf. At the time I thought she had a sporty vibe…maybe she was on her way to the yacht club to go sailing?
Anyway: I found that photo this weekend, filed with this one:
That’s one of two sketches I did of her. Haaa! You can see how wildly enthusiastic I was about doing it. The hat’s from another of her outfits. I remember thinking that if I put enough clothing and accessories on her she’d be more interesting draw. Too bad that didn’t work. All I actually drew of her was her head, a missed opportunity given the fact that the reason I made her to begin with was to practice drawing bodies.
Ahhh…the artist’s whiny inner voice. Maybe you don’t have one? I do. It’s the foot-stamping, tantrum-instigating voice of lunacy that tells us the current work we’re doing is nothing less than genius and deserves to be in a museum RIGHT NOW, in spite of the obvious fact that it’s lukewarm crap.
The face above is my latest “masterpiece.” It’s still sitting in the Sketchbook app on my iPad. I know it’s objectively not great, probably not good, maybe bad, and certainly not worth being seen in public. But I can’t trash it. Can’t force myself, at least while the whining’s at peak volume.
There’s something about it that might be worth saving; it’s not all bad. But each time I change it I un-change it. It’s still too precious, this masterpiece, to fiddle with (according to that pesky inner voice).
So it sits, clogging the workspace of the app.
I’m done for the day. The face gets to stay overnight. Maybe I’ll save it to use as a template for something else. A painting? Or – better yet – a cut paper assembly or a collage. Another masterpiece!
Yesterday I sat at my Mac and reworked the digital version of the face above. It began life six years ago as an acrylic sketch on a piece of discarded corrugation. Later, I fiddled with it on the computer but never finished it the way I wanted to. That happened yesterday when the face came to life. He looks grumpy, doesn’t he? Well, he has a good reason: he was relegated to the bottom of a storage cabinet all those years. I’m happy he’s finally complete and ready to meet the world.
Another rework (in progress) is my social media “presence.” I still have some work to do behind the scenes in my Redbubble Shop (tags, descriptions, etc.) but Twitter and Instagram are sorted out.