Maintaining a love for the arts

Yes, so here I am back again after a brief respite. I have been having a bit of an issue with all things art, and I have been trying desperately to rekindle a lost sense of joy and wonder with art in general. Not to say that i will not continue to draw and paint (I have a few items in the works for my wife and my nephews for the new year). But I have been trying to combat a sense of ennui that I couldn’t seem to shake. It isn’t full scale depression, nothing that serious. I think my main issue was that rather than doing something for the sheer joy of it I was always concerned about the final product, was it going to be awful, would it be a waste of time or a half hearted effort if it didn’t immediately click or work as an art piece. Recently I’ve really had to push myself to just do something, anything, to get back into the swing of things. Perhaps because my day job is producing commercial art for other people, based on their wants and needs rather than as my own artful expression (sounds artsy fartsy I know). This fear of doing something crappy, or not “up-to snuff” has left in its wake a fair few projects over the last year or two ( too many to mention) although my awesome room is littered with half started, partially finished items in a wide range of mediums. Pencils, inks, acrylics, pastels the list goes on.

However, during the summer I stumbled across this website called “Side Show Collectibles” and all of the amazing items on their just got me so excited, but they are also not cheap, so how do you get all of those fantastic items, without paying the $$$$$$? Easy, teach yourself to sculpt free standing figures, and make your own custom version of the pieces you just can’t get out of your head. Sounds like fun, and IT IS!, Although I am so not a sculptor by trade, training or inclination. But I just love the feeling of getting my hands dirty, and working with the clay in my hands. I like this because I work in a digital medium all week long, and as much fun as I have putting together very colourful 2D and even 3D displays, print ads and apparel, it is really something to see a creation come together in real time, in real space, with the work of your own two hands. Not that Graphic Design isn’t a major love in my life, believe it is. I wouldn’t do it 40 hours a week, plus evenings and weekends, reading and researching and refining my technique constantly. I’m far from finished learning about the many facets of digital & print design.

But with private art works i can really open up and tackle things I wouldn’t normally do at work, and that can be very freeing, and invigorating. Which is the point! To be inspired, and excited and to really get zoned in and not realize how many hours are just whizzing by. That is a tremendous feeling, and one that I have been trying to recapture since my days of drawing comic books and when I really got hooked on Photoshop compositing.

A really great sculptor at Stand Winston Studios named Steve Wang said “Art is a lonely life, so if you don’t love it, why would you spend you life doing it?”. I may have paraphrased that a little bit, but it is true. Art, whether digital or hand crafted usually isn’t a team activity, it is just you and the project for hours on end. If you don’t love it, why spend your life alone doing it? So there I was, working day in and day out, being very technically proficient, but not getting that rush, or feeling a zeal for it. You know what makes art more fresh and appealing, tackling new art in a format you are super unfamiliar with, that pushes you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone or “rut”. Now the lessons I am learning about proportion, and posing, and light and shape and form is really adding a new dimension to my design work. All I had to do was reawaken that love & lust for life that had been slowly leaking out of the every day experience. Does that make sense?

So the first three items that I tackled were : a generic super cop (sans head and hands), a Tinkerbell inspired fairy for my wife, and an as of yet uncompleted Ariel from the Little Mermaid®

They are far from perfect, and in most cases they are about capturing the essence of a personality and the pose rather than being show pieces with crazy detail. I only started doing these about 3 weeks ago, so I hope that in another 3 week I will progress a bit more, and maybe just maybe i’ll get to the point where I will use super sculpey and then bake & carve out a finished piece that I can sand & paint and display. Until then i will just continue to indulge my artsy side, and continue to hope that my zest for art will work its way further into my daily projects.

If anyone has any sculpting tips or tricks they’d like to fill me in on then just leave a comment.