My Sewing Project
So what am I doing now?
That's what I'm doing.
I know, I know... it seems as though I flit around here and there, aimlessly trying on this art project, and that art project... letting go of one, only to replace it with another, but I've realized that this is the best way for me to work.
I'm nearly done my sewing class which I've been taking at FIT. My instructor is brilliant; no nonsense and strict, is a champion of hard-work, and softens to laughter; cracking a few jokes of her own from time-to-time. I'm learning an incredible amount in this class, and it's starting to feel as though a dream of mine that I've had since I was a child is beginning to manifest. I have to interject here, that I am not segueing out of illustration to become a Fashion Designer, or Tailor, or Seamstress (Seamster?). I have to announce this because I don't want rumours to spread that I've left Illustration.
I love to draw, and Illustration as much as it my profession, is still a passion of mine.
Don't go spreading rumours.
My studio practice purposely includes doing things, creating objects, and exploring creative disciplines which exist outside of illustration. I've sewn a skirt thus far, and now I'm onto a sewing a woven shirt (photograph above). It's nothing that I could wear, but it's the process of creating something new, which is entirely outside of my element, that continues to support my love in the craft of making things.
I think that some individuals have this fear of concurrently doing too many different types of work. I can understand the reasoning behind this. It means being designated as the Jack-of-All-Trades character-type, and being the Expert-of-None. I see this both as truth and fallacy because for me, at least near the beginning of my Illustration career, when I first gave myself permission to admit that I may have a future in this discipline, it was all that I focused on; which I believe was an important decision to have made. Having my focus on Illustration offered me a kind of direction to follow, which has continued to this day.
Having said that, I find in order to move forward, it means stopping along the way, to rest, to observe, to ruminate over; to do other things in order to be continually inspired.
The variety of tasks that I've given myself throughout the day, doing some commercial illustration some days, and then self-initiated projects on others, has introduced a kind of playfulness within my studio practice. I've written about this before, but I don't know if I've realized just how much it's meant to me until recently.
I was speaking with my boyfriend last night about this thing and that, and he mentioned that my work has improved over the last year and a half.
Without trying to sound conceited, I agreed with him.
It's important to understand how to distance ourself from our own work in order for us to view it more clearly. It's easier and even automatic for us to critique other people's work:
I love this.
I hate that.
Move this more to right.
Erase that area.
Add more of this
It looks too much like James Jean...
But oftentimes when I look at my final creation, I'm not always entirely happy. I guess this is obvious; we are ourselves, the harshest judges of our work. But it's necessary to find a means to move past this, and learn how to evaluate unflinchingly, this work of ours that is in front of us. My artistic exploration over the past three, or four years has become the catalyst for my work's improvement. I have read and listened to other people stories about the choices they have made (sometimes difficult) in order to become happier and more fulfilled in the studio, and as a pleasant fallout from that, have created stronger artwork. Just a few weeks ago, during my time spent at the Ringling College of Art and Design, a seed was planted in my brain. I listened to Chris Buzelli describe his decision (years ago) to spend more time on the execution of his paintings; to let go of those projects which did not represent the kind of artist and illustrator that he wanted to be (although they paid the bills) in order to devote more time on creating work that resonated within himself. And looking at mister Buzelli's work over the past several years, it's no doubt that his pictures have grown ever more lush, and mysterious, and beautiful and mesmerizing.
Distance allows for clarity.
Not the distance that is separated by inches or feet, but the metaphorical distance that we sometimes create to wonder about a particular situation, that allows us to analyze a move we are about to make; that moment when we step outside for a breath of air before going back inside to make a decision.
It's this distance between us and our work which allows for its improvement; staring at it, and embracing those parts of it that are good, but also accepting, reflecting on, and hopefully resolving the areas in the image that are weak. Of course, this can just be personal taste, and opinion; Illustration is, after all subjective. But on a personal level, I'm more or less aware of what I would like my final piece to look like; nine times out of ten, I don't come even close to the image that I envision it to be, which helps me to push further the next time. The same goes for my studio practice, the effort that I've put into projects, and the marks that I've made on those works that nobody will ever see has helped to make my work better. I have no proof, but it's what I believe is true because in the last year few years I have made choices which have been out of the ordinary -- uncharacteristic choices that I thought I was never capable of making; I've taken some risks in the hopes that it would (and will) continue to make me happy.
A happy studio practice means a happy Marcos.
I'm reading 1Q84 right now, written by Haruki Murakami (big fan! big fan!) and I was struck by a conversation that occurs between a taxi driver and the character Aomame,
" And also," the driver said, facing the mirror, "please remember: things are not what they seem."
Things are not what they seem," Aomame repeated mentally. "What do you mean by that?" she asked with knitted brows.
The driver chose his words carefully: "It's just that you're about to do something out of the ordinary. Am I right? [...] and after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before." (1)
(1) Murakami, Haruki. 1Q84. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.