|Two years ago
||[Jul. 31st, 2011|11:44 pm]
This painting (actually, its digital form) was the center of a discussion with someone who thought they were trying to do me some good. A hammer applied to something less than shatterproof perhaps. Ever since that time, and the eventual utterly un-understood falling out that came from it, the textual conversation has haunted me. Mostly, those things said, stay in the background and while I've had projects to finish, I've paid those words little heed. Now, in the downtime, they come back and I re-read things and go over things said on both sides. I am no closer to understanding what this person was trying to say now than I was then. Is this a lack of growth on my part or a lack of fluency on theirs?
This person said some very blunt things, things not meant to hurt but said in an attempt to open my eyes to a problem they did not believe I had even seen. Things were said such as this:
You can keep using your art to do what amounts to dioramas of your past, either in pure biography like Harlon or in heavy, unimaginative allegory pieces like Tamino, your weak work--stuff that feels cathartic, that makes others who lived your life arc go 'Hey I recognize that!' and thus get it; or you can do something much harder, less gratifying on the immediate level, but which I think is TREMENDOUSLY more exciting, and show in characters, figures and even in narrative how OTHERS, even yourself, struggle with the burden of seeing, such as the barely-contained rage in the Mutley(?) portrait and in the explosive action of Fite! and your best work.
And of course at this point, with Tamino finished and sitting at a publisher with me waiting for a yay or nay, with no project in sight and no particular direction, the words written that night come back like an irritated scar. I pick at them, wonder, worry, poke. "Fite!" is good work, "Tamino" is unimaginative? I might have thought the opposite, that "Fite!" was barely more than a saturday morning cartoon, certainly more marketable than "Tamino" ever would be.
My partner tells me to walk away, to pay no heed, that these words can only do me harm and no good. And he may be right. Like any failure, we all go over and over them, wondering which choice would have made a better outcome. Or was there a failure? Perhaps the failure is having given weight to these words at all, to having remembered them, to having them had any effect on my course.
I've been pretty lost lately as far as artwork goes. The split of "fine art" and cartooning doesn't seem to be working as I feel I'm not good enough to do the former and keep trying to convince myself that the latter is a worthwhile pursuit. It's possible that, because I -enjoy- making the comics, I feel guilty or feel that enjoyment of making them somehow means that they can't be serious 'art,' even if not of the -fine- kind.
So that's where I am.