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When I grow up...

The first thing I remember wanting to be--I was seven--when I grew up was...a tattoo artist. Yes, really. And, naturally, my family fully supported me in this. I was allowed to draw on my sisters and brother to practice, even on my mom from time to time. My absolute favorite thing to "tattoo" was cherries, two cherries, connected at the top by their stems, with a single leaf, thank you, not two. And those handy clicky pens with four different colors were perfect because there was black--click--red--click--green. I even found a nice 10"X13" piece of paneling (you know, the kind all trailer walls used to be covered with) and drew my "catalogue" on the back. From memory, amongst the things I proposed my clientèle were a swan, a parrot, a rose-like flower (surely you know the type--the ones that look more like chrysanthemums with squat, pointy petals, somewhat like this--> } ), a daisy, a peace sign, a horse (head or whole body), a Harley Davidson (I wasn't really happy with the lines at the time--thought them a tad clumsy--but it was my first attempt. Being positive that all reputable tattoo parlors must have a motorcycle on offer, I was forced to keep it), and, of course, the infamous cherries. However, I generously agreed to tattoo as few as one and as many as three, depending on the client's wishes.

Today, many years have been ripped from the calendar of my life, and I'm not a tattoo artist. I don't even have a tattoo myself. I'm not sad I changed my mind about my profession, but I am sad that I let my urge to draw fall away and wither. Not that it happened immediately. I had a guardian who was into drawing and I liked to work with her. But I must confess I was daunted by the difference in our talents (natural on one hand since she was in her 40's and I was 11). Then later, my housemother, Robin, stirred the embers a bit more with her portfolio, but she also had stories to tell of how difficult it was to make one's living as an artist (she knew; she had a degree). It wasn't that she deliberately discouraged me; she was just helping me take a realistic view of the field. Since I was in my late teens and needing to start thinking more seriously about the whole "when I grow up" thing, I took her words to heart, along with a feeling that I'm not good anyway (or at least nowhere near any of the best--in hindsight, I see this as probably the first time I loosened my hold on something because I was afraid of failing, though it was a gradual thing spread insidiously over the years), and let the silly fancies go for good.

However, a few years down the line at uni, I needed an elective and chose Drawing 101. I learned quite a bit, did some decent works, and got the itch back. But that same ol' you'll-never-make-a-living-at-this fear kept me from more than intermittent dabbling. And that's okay, I guess. Only, it's not. Art was my first love. It used to impassion me. Until I learned that passions were synonymous with weakness. Again, this is all hindsight and speculation, but I feel like I started sabotaging myself, killing that drive with criticism and pride, until I was convinced I can't be passionate about anything and without passion, what is the point of doing something? If you don't have some fierce, internal, gut-hooked drive to do something, then you must not really be meant to do it. 

Another word for it is obsession, I guess, and I never had that pull (or did I just get too good at ignoring it?) to do something specific with my life. And so I drift. Yes, I write, but not only is that the equivalent of my feeling about art, it is a post for another time.

Nigh on a week has passed since we met the artist and I found out I could take lessons with him. A week gone since I had The Idea for a series of paintings, and I've only gathered some treasures for it but haven't started anything. Instead, I sit here and wonder where the passion for it is. I comfort myself with a load of malarkey that says, "You have a commitment to novel_in_90; once you've fulfilled that, then you can throw yourself into the art." Like I said, malarkey. I know from experience that once I am in an artistic mindset, I start to see things with an eye to shading, color, perspective, light. Like writing or any other artistic endeavor, creativity engenders creativity. 

I think I'm going to shut up now, unplug myself from the net and this pc addiction, and put my brushes where my fingers are...

ETA: I called the artist and set up a lesson for Saturday. Go me.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
frigg
Jul. 16th, 2007 09:22 am (UTC)
Well, in my experience*, I can only do one thing at a time. Either I write or I do art. It's as if I'm using two vastly different parts of my brain to do each and it only works if one is switched off while the other is active.

The fear of failure and not being able to live off your art? I think everyone has it.

I'm probably the worst one to speak about this, but I sincerly believe that sometimes we should just do things because we feel like it and not think so $£**£"$&%$& much about it.
-------------
*and for many other artist/writers as well, apparently.
mnfaure
Jul. 16th, 2007 11:17 am (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement. I seriously don't think I could make a living off it, but really, so what? I write more for the pleasure than any hope of getting published, so why don't do art, too? Especially since I'm lucky enough to have the time and opportunity to really take a good crack at it.
mindseas
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
I do art (computer art these days) as well as writing, and I feel they balance each other well. After plunging into writing intensively, I can exhaust part of my brain. Then if I switch to art, I am renewed.

Art doesn't have to be a moneymaking activity to be worthwhile. Just to create is a wonderful thing.
mnfaure
Jul. 16th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
*nods* Not being able to find that balance in myself irritates me. I know I can do both; I just need to widen the focus a bit, come up for air every once in a while because I'm like you: I'm am renewed after switching gears.

And as to moneymaking, I think I put more emphasis on that than I meant, too. I would love to be able to make money for doing things I enjoy, but what I miss more than cash rewards is that feeling of passion and accomplishment.

Btw, what program do you use for your computer art?
mindseas
Jul. 16th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
I started with Corel Photopaint, then tried Gimp (free download), and now I use Adobe Photoshop. Using Gimp made it easy for me to use Photoshop, since a lot of the commands and the layers concepts were the same, while Corel was too different from Photoshop to make an easy transition for me. I'd recommend Gimp since it's free.
mnfaure
Jul. 17th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
*nods* I have Adobe Photoshop (have had for a couple of years now), but I just now bought a manual for it. I know how to do a few things, but not enough to draw convincingly with it without taking eons.
mana_trini
Jul. 16th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Though I'm not an artist or musician, I understand and agree completely with mindseas.
When I take my guitar and work on a technique or a song, I can feel bored or I think that I'll never make it; but if I let myself go on with chords or riffs, I put myself in my own bubble as we say in French, and it feels good. I guess that the same feeling can be reached when you finish the right sentence, give a good brush stroke or find the perfect color.
mnfaure
Jul. 16th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
Tu sais que je t'aime, n'est pas?
pjthompson
Jul. 16th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
I use art (sculpting, textiles) as a great pressure release. It's something I can just do and feed some part of myself that sometimes gets depleted by The Obsession. Some things we do for the world, some things we do for ourselves.
mnfaure
Jul. 16th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I need to turn that valve and just let all the steam go. I know that once I do that, I'll fill up the freed space with even more good stuff.

I just get so imbalanced sometimes (not mentally :P), and it is good to rein in and redirect.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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