Thursday, August 12, 2010

What is Behind Your Art?

Have you ever saw something "really cool" but when you looked again, it was "essentially empty" ? Like an action movie full of explosions, state-of-the art effects, and "cool shit," but with a painfully terrible plot, lines, and acting? Like channel surfing, fast cuts, pulsing eye-catching flickers of spectacle, but you can't remember what it was that you watched a minute ago?

Is your art like this?

Sometimes, people create for mere spectacle. They just want to grab your eye without really committing to stating something. While there is no wrong way to do "art," What is your goal? If "eye-catching" is your goal, then congratulations, you've probably already reached it. If it is something else . . . if you seek questions more than to answer them . . . then congratulations, you've got a whole lifetime to create.

Seal forgot where she got this quote but it has always stuck by her: "What is your goal? Is it to paint better? or to see better?"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Create something worthwile

This guy feels like he hasn't created anything worthwhile

Monkey here:

I have to create. Whether it's making stickers I'll never post up or painting huge acrylics or even just blogging, I have to stay in motion and keep on producing something. The trick is I have to keep making sure that what I'm creating is really creating and not just false ego-building. Bejeweled Blitz (BJB from here out) and other Facebook games are the largest opiates of the masses. I admit, I'm not immune, as I constantly strive for making it to at least the top 3 on my BJB leaderboard. Really though, what does that accomplish?

It makes me feel awesome, when I really haven't done anything to be awesome. Not to trample on the dreams of anyone who makes a living off video games (playing, coding, creating, or otherwise), but honestly I feel like it's just a fake emotional boost that keeps you coming back every week for more (since the leaderboards are wiped clean every Tuesday morning).

Make sure that you're spending your time doing stuff that matters to you. It doesn't have to matter to me, as if you want to be #1 on BJB every week that's your passion. But as I try to wean myself off the addictive teat of facebook video games, I want to make sure that my time and energy are better placed networking, writing decent blog posts, and making art.

As much as we all say we're addicted to BJB, or Farmville, or Mafia Wars, or Call of Duty, or whatever, I don't think a lot of us realize how addicted we really are. By accomplishing something in the game, we are getting really neurotransmitters flowing that make us feel good, and this is reinforcing the action that leads us to that feeling - playing more of these games.

How do you kick the habit? If you try to slowly get off the habit, I recommend kitchen timers so you limit yourself to how much to play. But seriously, going cold turkey seems like the way to go for me. But you have to make sure that you really ditch as many ways of going back as you can.

When I kicked WoW, it literally was me canceling my account and that was that. Do I still miss flying around on my windrider and unleashing flurries of arrows on unsuspecting squishies? Oh most definitely. But if you're like me and can give up entire days to gaming, you have to choose between being great at gaming, and being great at something offline.

I'm not trying to be a downer for any gamers, and for many of you casual gamers out there who can walk away easily, more power to you. But as someone in a field that is so subjective who has to get my art out in front of as many people as possible in order to survive, I honestly don't have the time for that.

Thus, after you read this, I will have deleted BJB from my iphone and removed it from my FB profile, so I can't keep going back. I honestly really, really, really want to change the world, and nobody ever did that while tethered to video games (although feel free to prove me wrong on this one). My goal isn't to be the best WoW PvPer, or the person with the highest BJB score in the world. My goal is to become an internationally-acclaimed artist.

Like I said before, I have to create, and now, I'm choosing to create something that's going to place me one step toward my goal, rather than keeping me nice and docile where I am.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Write that idea down!

If you haven't already, it's useful to keep a notebook of ideas by your bed side and carry it with you everywhere. You never know when a good idea will strike. Most of the time, your mind is most pliable and inventive during "meditative actions" like taking a shower, jogging, or right as you fall asleep. Whatever mind wall or guard that you have up during your active day, is eased and ready to be creative when you quieten your breath. Sometimes it helps to pose a question at night, and by morning write down what comes to mind. Don't think too hard about it. It can be as difficult as "how can I solve my financial problem?" or "what color should I paint that dog?" What you write throughout the day are small clues as to what to explore next. Before our mind fills with life's white noise, before we forget - write it down! sketch it, doodle it, capture it! Then we can always decide to pursue an idea, abandon it, or let it stew for another day. Seal has about 10 of these kinds of books filled up, in the case that she's running on empty, she can refer to her ideation book for inspiration, for answers, or the start of a new question.