Friday, March 28, 2014

"Submit to the Wonders of the Universe"

The title is a quote from me that I've been using since late high school...about 7 years ago at this point. And it's been at the bottom of all these blog pages since around that time as well.

I was originally going to talk about this in a Facebook post, but it turned into something a little more personal. :] So, just briefly:

Last night at work I was talking to a coworker (also a fellow artist) about daydreaming and how creative people are able to so thoroughly retreat within their own minds and indulge in imagination even when others find themselves bored and unproductive. He mentioned how music helps, but said he finds that it aids more in isolation of the mind rather than inspiration.
I had to disagree.
What I said after that made me realize that I've never really explained exactly how music inspires me before, so I felt like sharing:

Our minds have been trained throughout our lives to respond emotionally to different types of music (via movie scores, lyrics, etc). And it's emotion which usually drives my most intense spurts of creativity. So, when I draw/create I intentionally choose a specific kind of music to listen to so that I'm able to channel the emotions I receive from it into whatever I'm creating (be it illustration, design, writing, etc) and make it as successful a piece as possible.

I once had an art instructor who ardently refused to let us listen to music during class while other professors didn't have a problem with it simply because we were supposed to be "creating art on our own without outside influences."
I'm being respectfully honest when I call that a load of bull. I understand our own creativity is important...but where does that come from if not the world around us? Where do we get our ideas and our inspiration? Perhaps some select individuals are born for great purpose and with supernatural mental abilities. But most human beings get their incredible ideas and inspiration by combining all the wonders the universe has to offer ( quote). As long as we're not replicating anything and making sure to use said influences in ways unique to our own imagination...I'd say embracing outside influences such as music should be encouraged - along with anything else we find inspirational.

^ from my college graduation announcement


Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Creative Calling

It's been a good while since I last posted an entry. Even though there is a long list of things I want/need to record here, some of the subjects I have lined up are waiting on project updates and others require a certain amount of time and inspiration to properly convey.

But, recently, I've been thinking about something I've got the time and drive to briefly go over now.

I have known a lot of artistic people in my life who choose not to use their skill. I'm floored every time I talk to someone who has the potential and, for whatever reason, justifies not exercising it. Many times it's "I don't have time" or "I have more important things to be doing" or "it will never get me anywhere."

It may just be hard for me to understand because I eat, sleep, and breathe in the realm of art. I bled, sweat, and cried over it in college earning my degree. The act of creating things satisfies me and brings me peace, comfort, and inspiration. I can't imagine my life without it, pretty much. So when people have the power and the skill to do it, and just...don't...I get really depressed. It legitimately upsets me.
Not to mention when people write it off as a waste of time. Cripes. I suppose it partially feels like they're shitting on a passion of mine...but there's more to it.

I've never had a legit full-time job. I've been in school full-time on scholarship while also being a paid military cadet full-time, and I was also well over full-time in labor hours while at boot camp as an active duty cadet. far as normal employment goes, I've never had anything like a nine-to-five, 40-hr week, career-type job.
Recently, I applied for a full-time position at my retail store where I've been working part-time for going on half a year. I've been getting full-time hours already due to changes in the company, and I'm starting to see a little of how artistic people can lose the drive to create. You're focused on making a living that will support you (and possibly a family), and it just sucks the inspiration out of you, especially if you're just so busy that all you want to do on your off days is rest. The "realist" in a person sets in...which, in more cases than not, is more like the pessimist in a person. They don't see a light beyond the wall of financial restraints in front of them.

Even so, I haven't let that stop me. Even when I go full-time in the near future (either in retail, the military, or both) I have big, big plans to make my creative dreams a reality. It's probably what keeps me going, to be honest. I believe that if people made more extra-cirricular goals for their own pleasure outside of work, they'd be happier.
For one, it eliminates boredom (and perhaps the temptation to occupy oneself with idiotic pass times). I have not been legitimately bored since around middle school...perhaps even earlier, because I've been dedicated to drawing and art projects since I was 6.
Another thing is that it gives birth to hopes, dreams, and inspiration. If there's something you're striving to achieve that only you desire and have control over, it motivates you to push forward and accomplish things you may never have accomplished before. Because it's by YOUR power and YOUR skill and YOUR ideas at YOUR pace that you're making a difference however great or small. The satisfaction is immeasurable. Inspire people! Make some extra cash! Make your wildest dreams come to life! Spill your emotions onto you won't get arrested or some shit...! That stuff is seriously therapeutic.

There is the issue of time and energy, yes.
And those are big issues.

Several months ago I had a conversation with a soldier who does animation work on the side. I was telling him about my plans for the military and my schooling and my artwork and how I had hundreds of pieces and projects lined up that I'll work on over the next few months/years when I no longer have homework to worry about after work. ...After a while he asked,
"Don't you ever think you might be just a little bit delusional?"
I physically slumped over with my mouth agape, and I couldn't believe he'd just asked me that.
"Nope," I said, "Never crossed my mind."
And it hadn't.
There are projects as big as graphic novels and written novels that I've been fleshing out since I was very young, and I will never give up on those. Likewise, I regularly get inspired to create many other pieces of various kinds of artwork that I just can't ignore.
I realize that some of it may not be practical, and I may die before I can get to it all. But I've never thought of myself as delusional for setting passionate goals. That's what fuckin' drives me.
There's living life, and there's LIVING life.
Making the imagined come to life with my own hands, inspiring others to do the same, knowing that I have more than just my day job to look forward to by my own power and will, and making the most of it... THAT IS LIVING.

So, whenever I hear someone with creative potential downplay the art life, or seem hesitant to pursue it, I damn well jump at the opportunity to try and change their mind. It doesn't have to be a sole focus. Of course, pursue it within reason.

But for heaven's sake...don't abandon your power.