After graduating last year I’ve been steadily trying to figure out what my natural work process is. I’ve been accustomed to late night art-making followed by an 8:15 a.m. class, the ever present specter of coffee never far from reach, culminating in a frenzy of projects finished with the sort of last minute splendor that was only epic in my own mind.
Having awoken from the haze I’ve been running into the dilemma many other artists and graduates face when jumping into the world for the first time. The question usually being along the lines of, “What am I doing with my life” but I’m not focusing too much on that question in this particular post. I’m happy that I feel like I have some semblance of a purpose now and will accomplish as much as I can. I can only give advice, encouragement, and hopefully inspiration for others to find their way if they don’t know what they are doing. I’ve spent too much time staring into space or staring at a piece of artwork wondering what I’m doing, or often other classmates walk by and ask about a piece I’m working on and I’ve answered jokingly, “Yeah, I have no idea what I’m doing.” I actually have a very good idea of what I’m doing. It may be a modesty thing and being able to verbally articulate thoughts but eventually we need to own what we do and strive for some level of mastery while accepting criticism and finding ways to change and grow.
Now that that’s over…
I tried to map out my brain! Or at least map out my tendencies, interests, projects, and inspirations to figure out where my ideas have come from and where they can go. I did this in a small binder around New Years and this week I tried to expand on it in an 18″x24″ sketchbook. This was also an attempt to organize some of my thoughts since usually my process for coming up with ideas for art and projects is just writing a whole bunch in a sketchbook with crazy handwriting and a good pen. This inevitably turns into a massive word association list. I also have a large number of interests which rotate to the fore of my mind depending on my mood. So some days I’m intensely focused on detail, classic rock, and Samurai; other days I may have watched something on Monet and want to be expressive and free while listening to hard rock looking up Gothic cathedrals.
This is why the past couple months I have been trying to find ways to organize my life more and figure out how I work. Looking up how other people work is also fascinating to me and if you have a chance look up the creative habits of famous people through history. Some are insane, some make sense. I feel like my habits are fairly normal thankfully and I’ve found I like working on art earlier in the morning.
The morning thing surprised me having worked almost exclusively at night listening to metal and emoting as much as I could into a piece of art and I always thought I was more creative at night. This was probably a product of high school. I was that teenager who felt the night was my friend which obviously meant it was safe to write poems and draw. While I’m still on good terms with night and the darkness, I’m much more committed to sleep. That along with photography and painting instilling a love of light in me I was never expecting.
Mochas (as it was in undergrad) are my fuel of choice, the above drawing was made around 2:00 this afternoon with Mocha nearbye (I like working in the morning at 9:00 or so but waking up and moving is still a thing). And while I haven’t been listening to metal much lately I still prefer more driving and emotional music to work by. So morning, mocha, music are my three things it would seem. I’m still trying to figure out my own creative tendencies and look for more ways to make myself more productive. It’s also more fun to do and keeps life interesting.
I hope this was interesting and not too rambling or deep. I’d like to post more on this subject though and get more into creative processes of myself and other artists. I’ll have more drawings on the next post. Until then, thank you very much for your time. Here is a drawing I did of Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe from “Sharpe’s Rifles” (1993). A good indicator of when you have been working all day and have become distracted and probably need to go home. Enjoy.