Keep It Up!

I don't quite know what this is referring to, honestly. Teaching, studio, art-centric activities, friend/family relationships, dating... this title may as well refer to everything that pertains to my present life.

Insofar as teaching goes, I have yet to internalize that careful balance of accomodation and distance. "Work/Life" balance manages to say so much yet convey so little when applied to this context. Consider the consequence of neglect in either case! If I neglect the work, I neglect the feedback, the student experience and their aspirations related to the subject matter. I (without being overdramatic about it) am the eye through which future engagement is a risk, through which some will snag and others will coast through without working. The consequence on life is simpler, but perhaps more... dire. This neglect neglects opportunity, relationships, and self improvement, I suppose. It's all encompassing, and really highlights how dumb my "3 class + 30hours/week" idea was.

Still, even as an eye of a particular kind of needle, I'm not a super conductor. Pedestal aside, I'm a fairly inert material. I may lend a spark, but that kind of thing is off-the-cuff, really. Narrowness or openness, too, doesn't affect the student working.

The studio has been an interesting percolator recently. Some conceptual work; some exactitude of measuring; some cartooning, too; I'm apprehensive of the framework behind it all. Some of the concern is ideologically ("What am I saying?", and other boring questions), while most of it is monetary. What do I sell? To whom? How do I accomplish as much in an ethical way? What does that mean, anyway?

The exciting bits keep those questions at bay, though. I work to financially afford this kind of thing, no? Keep working, then. Satisfy yourself with the suprise inherent to paper layering, to veering off the reference path and into painted territory. Have your comic pages ready and, while you may know the jist, just... draw intuitively! Define the black/white as you go along. Practice on the page instead of in the brain, dumby. Keep those deadlines in mind.

And now I'm winding down! So much left to say: open studios give me pause (I'm out of shape in multiple ways); my work/life balance extends to encounters with family/friends (I don't establish calendar dates or boundaries and feel betrayed when others don't do that work for me!); intimacy feels less and less... I don't know! It's like relapsing into a place of yearning, without the bulwark to define and to restrict my incentives. I downloaded Tinder again... for what purpose?

Keep it up, I suppose! The rut stays put, and I am not a rut! I've got a lot of work to do.

December 6th, 2021

"Figuring Things Out"

A historical survey is a proposition, one that ties diverse moments into a (argued) seamless thread. They oftentimes go like this:

"The expansive historical sruvey, which opened in late 1968, began with a drawing of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine and went on to feature of Rauschenberg's so-called combined sculptures..." - Video Art: The First Fifty Years, p. 22-23

The statement above is very much in reference to a particular moment, which in turn retraces the trail of thought first made back in 1968. It's a recollection to a prior thesis, and a recapitulation of said thesis. The former is immensely valuable; the latter is where I hitch up a little bit.

Propositions like that are like foul words or misteps: once you say them, they linger in the mind and bounce around throughout our lived experience. Maybe the idea will be contested, supported, reintroduced in new clothes and be outted all within the same breadth. Life has only gotten faster, which has less to do with productivity and (arguably) more to do with intellectually processing. At this stage, the lingering implications can be anticipated, can they not?

There's more to say on the matter. The general consensus is a simple one: a faulty proposition is found to have a fault or two, and is thusly debunked. Yet here it is! Misguided as always yet readily available to discover once again. Committed to print; a pokmark on the consciousness.

What am I getting at? Perhaps it's just the "stepping away from" that irks me so, a consequence of a life where ostracized family members continue to be given a pass and a reprimand from one member or another. There's no way around it; the opposite is ignorance. We chose between endless consciousness (and, what, statis?) or woeful repetition (finding god, the string, the narrative elsewhere). Postmodernism was never safe from this. Disrobed or not, these statements, schools, fraudsters, shooters, etc. still occupy a space in our books.

A last minute inclusion: after some time to think about narrative yarns and counter-yarns, I am reminded of what yarns I adore and thus wonder how I rectify the two. Rosalind Krauss comes to mind; I love her work of "Grids" and such, or those that are less pointed toward the histories proposed prior (distinct from neighboring interpretations, mind you; to offer a lateral counterpoint is a matter of community, I think); I read a review for "The Optical Unconscious" and read nothing but venom and dispersions. What is she if not preposing an alternative that is more agreeable to my sensibilities? How can I be a disciple at all when she is attempting to accomplish the same thing as her predecessors?

That question may be the point.

December 8th, 2021

An Instantanious Comic Observation

What drives a person to accomplish the thing they desire? Conversely, what causes such passion to stall out, never to start again?

These are quetions with basic answers, and to reiterate (while a penchant of mine) would be a waste of time. Instead, there's an aspect to the creative process that comes up time and again while making that is strangely absent from "the conversation" on the topic via the general ecosystem of tutorials.

Tutorials, after all, take place in the market realm; while a new skill or proposed habit or life lesson is common fare, it is all subsumed under the guise of a sales pitch. The audience-as-salesman is based on the "Like and Subscribe" model, the "Try it free and sell it for me, thereby avoiding the ethical quandries related to advertising it myself" proposal.

All advice needs you to be lacking. Or better yet, no advice (especially when lacking the specific interface between speaker and listener) asks about any kind of innate compitence.

This is where the comic connundrum arrives. I sketch, draw, detail, and generally enjoy the work as long as I don't distract myself from it. Whatever time is spent elsewhere is something to own, but nestled within that anxiety is a perpetual "getting better" amid the creation process. The sketch/ink process becomes a nesting doll of opportunities (good) and hinderances (obviously bad): I constantly trip over tiny aesthetic problems that I didn't anticipate.

A more thorough planning stage is only half the solution, I think. To identify how space/light/texture is treated semi-consistently saves headache and delay on individual pages, but it also can easily veer into dawdling. "I can only continue until I solve these few esoteric visual problems..." repeated over the course of hours, days, weeks, years. That's the consequence of consistency, I suppose; to train and never slack on behalf of the larger story.

I suppose that remains true, regardless, and perhaps the initial "observation" is less a trick and more a coin, one that demands consistent engagement with material on the one side (trial and error, consistency through experimentation) and... "just going for it" on the other. It's a simple thing, but there is no stylistic concept or obtuse metaphor waiting on the other side of a mental wrestling. Instead, it (like this clumsy writting) can only be discovered by plowing through the anxiety, through the visual problems that will appear and reappear during the process, through the worry over too many pockets or belts or lack of visual clarity or whatever. A convincing shin or prestine action lines, in theory, do nothing! It's the drawing, regardless of anything else, that means anything. The rest, the praise or the backlash or the contextualization or what have you? Those are for the peanut gallery, and artists need not fill those leaden boots.

December 8th, 2021