Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

pushing myself

This year has been a bit different. The teaching in the classroom is great but the system is driving me crazy. Every year more paperwork, more micromanagement and less focus on the students as people. I was talking to a student today who is in math 3 times a day but not an elective. If I was that student, I wouldn't want to go to school. Of course, none of this is all that new. Probably, I've just gotten to the point in my teaching experience that because I've got "the basics +" down, I now have more energy to notice the rest of the mess. I know I love the teaching part and don't want to stop doing that. I'm not sure of the system. If I ever write a book it will be called "How I Learned to Love Teaching and Hate the System: The Musings of a Slightly Crazed Art Teacher."

To push myself in a new direction I started taking some online classes. They have been great! One has opened up a new printmaking technique to me and the other is helping me work towards a personal goal of illustrating a fairy tale. I can already see ways to use these lessons with my own students as well as try some new things.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Feeling like an Art Loser

This weekend I attempted to sell work at our local comic book convention Omnicon. I say attempted because not much sold. By Saturday night I was in a funk. Over the years I've sold a couple of things through local galleries, traded to a few friends and this weekend I sold a few prints. 

People find my work "cool" and "interesting" but not enough to invest in it. I know if I made work that was more photo realistic, less strange or if I was able to copy other peoples work it would sell. Over the weekend a guy said he would pay me to copy an artist from Japan. I just can't do it. I have to do my thing even though my audience isn't here.

Feeling like an art loser I Googled something about artistic confidence and came across a wonderful speech the author Neil Gaiman made last year at The University of the Arts. He gave advice for having a career in the Arts. This is the thing that really hit home with me.
"...make your art. Do the stuff that only you can do.The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that's not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we've sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." 
I know I'm pursuing my own voice. The work I create is distinctly mine.Now I just have to find my audience, which surprisingly does not live in south Texas. That's going to take more work. Real work. Not just sitting around work but actively sending my work other places, looking for entries to shows, making selling part of my internet presence. It's not even that I really want to make money off my art; it's that I feel compelled, obsessed to create, I find joy in creating, and all this stuff starts to take up space. 

It would also be nice to break even - buy supplies, sell art, buy more supplies. Instead it's work real job, buy supplies, make art, put art into storage, work real job to buy more supplies and pay for storage.

I have always found Van Gogh to be very compelling. His obsession with creating, his willingness to do his own thing, his pursuit of his voice was both a blessing and a curse. No one liked his work while he was alive and yet many of us now find it absolutely fascinating. Whenever I see one of his paintings in person, it takes all my willpower not to reach out and run my hands over it. While I am certainly not in his realm as a fine artist and don't expect museums dedicated to my greatness in the future, I like to look at him as an example of someone who did the stuff that only they could do.

Somewhere there is a happy medium between Van Gogh's 900+ paintings and death the age of 37 and where I am currently.

To lighten things up:
Here's a link to one of my favorite episode's of Dr. Who "Vincent and the Doctor".
At a little part 38 minutes in, The Doctor take Vincent to Paris 2010 to the Musée d'Orsay. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

end of school year update

So I've finished up my 5th year of teaching.

I love where I am and what I'm doing. There are days when I feel like I'm dragging the kids along with me but if that's how it is for art I can't imagine how much harder it is for a class they don't consider "fun."

I am now looking at where do we want our program to go over the next few years. It's exciting!

The Kid graduated from high school yesterday and is now moving onto college in the fall to study Mechanical Engineering and Biochemistry.

My personal goal is to start finding an audience for my art. I'm tired of creating work which either sits around my house or goes into storage. To that end I've bought a booth at Omnicon in July and have started submitting t-shirt designs based on my drawings to Threadless.

I will also be working on new ceramics pieces this year. There seems to be a delicate balance in my brain about making art because I'm compelled and making art as a job. The moment I start thinking about it like a job my desire to do it goes down. I also get bored using the same mediums again and again yet I keep drawing the same characters again and again. It's no wonder artists become alcoholics. Living with an artistic mind is frustrating.