Updated: Jun 24
The paragraphs here are purely from my perspective, aimed at the student 'or anyone in their early stages of creating. As I am not represented by an agency or have reached a professional peak yet ( I think), nor I feel I have achieved enough. It'll never be enough. Thats why I will reiterate the importance of finding TIME.
Like everyone, I am on a journey. But journeys and quests have an ending, so i'd rather my journey to change a little. I'm used to it, as my path looking back, has been all over the place. I need to keep a hunger for drawing and writing even in the most compressed of times. Thankfully in my earlier years, I had stable parents with a house I could call base and keep my work at. Over recent years, my wife and family has kept my spirit Earthed. I've written lyrics and sketches on the back of bus tickets, receipts and time sheets and I get terrible frustration if I cannot put these thoughts down. I used to pull into lay bys at 3am on my way to an airport job, to note down a lyric for the band I was in, my mind in those early hours seemed so fresh. I tell people this and its funny. In some ways I laugh at myself behind the wall of seriousness. That's when my personal comedian comes out. In fact have lost count of how many times i've turned into Basil Fawlty in work environments. And to my wife, she has kept my sane light switched on at the right times over the years. We must create, to pass down and influence in this short space of time we have been granted. Time is the most precious thing on Earth.
Having worked in various sectors for 20 years, to 'make money to survive', I have been an airport security agent, grounds maintenance, retail worker, factory worker and now a part time interior gardener. I have never once wanted to forge a career in these paths, because tapping on my shoulder are my design qualifications saying "Don't let go just yet". But they have moulded me and i've picked up the attributes, without any destined assets. But used. Like a lot of people. Indeed some companies have actually turned me down, because I possess a Degree. I have faced the directed mode of a normal worker like the next figure, hence I end up leaving for a pasture of similar green after 2 or 3 years for my own sanity. I have utmost respect for the ones who stick at a position for so long. My brothers and I were never born into money either. It was graft locally and then I had the chance of being a student. That was a different kind of graft. More of a 'Make this year count' graft or 'more important than life' graft. And trying to explain this to corners of society that poke fun at penniless students 'not actually working', inadvertently poke fun onto themselves. When I met this weird criticism, It didn't hurt, but left me baffled and concerned for the human race. Don't use your imagination? the world will come to a standstill. That is a gift like sight, hearing, touch, given for a reason.
Art students, seriously minded ones, are some of the hardest working students among all the others, creating a product alongside other products in a portfolio to show strangers in strange cities at the same time collecting immense amounts of research, and personally changing their own attitudes to life. While sticking to their guns. They want to see the world from further, untouched angles. Find their own 'New World'.
Again TIME is precious. Tiredness of the mind, I realised, was just as wearing as the physical side. In the early 00's I found it hard to put down ideas, and became side tracked into other projects. One of which was redeveloping an entire house from a shell of horsehair and stone while working full time in the day. In 2007 I lived in a caravan with questionable heating capabilities. And stoats. With it, I worked in a beautiful part of the world - Bala in North Wales. The landscape called to me, like it did when I sketched from my local path, Lon Goed in Chwilog, my childhood village. But my future was rocky and uncertain, and I went off the radar. At one point I felt like an unknown to myself. Until I started to write some poetry and eventually the beginnings of a book or some sort of science fiction fantasy vision, where I could sit amongst its characters and think about during the day. It felt like a little escape. And then character backgrounds grew. Then worlds, and moons, and races, and unusual natural forces. It was an adventure first, then horror with a touch of humour. 'Into the Orbomesh' is still being written, and it has turned into a monster. There are pages and books, and pages filled of it. I know where its going, but I dont now its end game...perhaps another five years? It took my mind away from paying bills, the grounds maintenance job, and kept my head in creative mode.
Gradually from then, and when I moved to Bristol, I could finally concentrate on painting. To try and get back at the process. It was in 2010 when I painted 'New York in Gold'. Influenced from an old NY visit with university back in 1999. With those old paints I knew the right way forward with my painting style, and the drawn structure at its base.
Ive always said 'finding the right people at the right time', and usually it happens out of the blue - like being in a band a few years back helped me with writing and poetry - which in turn offered vision for drafting paintings. I have books and books of my poetry and lyrics - happy in the knowledge that, Ive noted those feelings and thoughts down and out of my head, so I can move on. They were like bees all buzzing constantly in my brain until I wrote them down.
I don't really like the term Art, as it is a label thrown around in arrogant ways by some. Its also such a huge umbrella term. I've commented on a few works that, are not an 'Art work' but more a 'Work of Art' that they are so good in terms of composition and mastery of medium ( that's a great name for a band).
As an Art student back in the 90's I was met with backlash away from the classroom - on the fact that I was a local boy thinking and observing things differently. I heard a few times 'what are you going to do with 'that' course?' I could easily of said - Everything you see in this world, was most probably drawn in a sketchbook first. Every man made thing. Drawn by a person who wants to push boundaries. And left it there. But I didn't want to wade into an 'iv'e done this, you've done that' war of words.
After graduating back in 2000, although armed with traditional skills, I lacked digital and business savvy skills but that too took time away from my fingers, by just over thinking of the future. How can I compete? will I get recognised? Are my emails in their spam? That in turn takes precious time away from my /your life skill. Over thinking. Don't do it.
We had twins born in 2015 and my wife, a LEF Nurse and I, knew that planning with segments of time, to cover all things in life, was absolutely essential. Although practice makes perfect in your skill, knowing the right people helps. Fellow connections are a must, as long as they do not pollute the mind. Yet I still have not found the right modern day influencing people. Being a bit of an introvert like me doesn't really help either. But I still look back and realise the importance of being in a landscape, in nature, how it talked back at me when I first sketched my local paths outside of my village. Chwilog on the Llyn Peninsula. The mountains, the sea, the fields and the rivers taught me many things than most individuals cannot themselves put into words. Below you will find pointers and notes, some of which I wish I had conquered at earlier stages;
Behind every great painting, is a greater drawing. With equally good research. And behind every painter, is a story. Push your individuality down through mark making.
Find the power of NOT listening to people. ( Irrelevance)
The importance of sketchbooks. THE most important friend, be it digital, or on the back of a shopping list.
Ways of seeing. And ways of being. Remember, every stroke, digital/ traditional, are threads of your soul on display.
Open all possibilities.
Use imagination. It is key. Never use a stale composition from the living world.
The power of 'line'.
Background, mid, fore, like a stage set - own it.
When looking at other artists and big names, look into their cultures too, and delve back in time. You will see from ancient history, nameless artisans embodied untouched skill.
Do not adapt to trends. Be a trend setter.
Do not steer too close to your influences.
Think about potential tools all around you - like TV, for speed life drawing etc.
A lot of crazy things do actually exist in nature. So push imagination.
Research, research, research.
Dont throw anything away. ( Apart from rubbish!)
Learn from nature and its changing faces.
Perspective, form, shade, texture, imagination.