Art Q&A: where I am right now

28 October, 2019

If I were someone else and I were looking at my art, these are the questions I would ask. Or the questions that I think I have an answer to right now. I also think this will be nice to self-reflect on this in the future and see how my ideas change or stay the same.

I'm writing a manifesto of sorts, the artist's statement I am hesitant to turn into my teachers.  Questions and answers to myself, from myself.  And a few visuals of pieces I've been working on for way too long. Here you go.

why do I make the art that I make?

The art that I make is constantly changing and so are my motives for making it. Creating art started out as an exercise. I would look at beautiful pieces and had a strong to desire to try to make something like that myself, and that feeling still drives me. When I look at artists online I admire their work so much and want to try out those mediums, supplies, and techniques. I wanted to push myself and know if I could acquire those skills, so I did, and I am. Of course I also use it as a creative outlet to express the things I can't put into words and it lets me get my hands on the pens and pencils they itch for. I make the art that I make because it feels right. Because I have my own story to tell and I am the only one to tell it so I am doing just that while I can.

why do I work from photographs?

The most prominent reason is: convenience. I am way too busy so I don't have time to always set-up outside at the same time and spot everyday to work on my art. Usually the only time I set aside to draw is at night time and I want to be able to catch the atmosphere of daytime. People would argue that drawing what is in front of you allows you to put more feeling or energy into your work that gets sucked out of a photo but I think that drawing from life limits my subject matter. I am interested in realistic representations of things and photographs are much easier to draw from than life because they are already two-dimensional and the lighting is also stagnant. Which is to say that maybe I am taking the easy way out or "cheating" or limiting myself there, but I think what I can take from even a photograph and then put onto paper is the real art.

A photograph is also a moment in time and that is what I want to draw. I want to draw moments and memories and drawing from life is a period of time rather than a moment. I can take a picture of anything anytime and make it my own on paper and that I what I am drawn to.

How do I know what to photograph?

When I am drawing from a photo, it is not just a random image that I copy. If you consider photography to be art, then I am creating my own ideas from scratch and engaging in the creative process from start to finish. Usually I start with a concept in mind and think about the composition, props, and background that I want on my final piece. Then I set up a photo shoot in my room or outside and take 50 to 100 pictures of different angles, poses, and arrangements. I'm thinking about how the picture would translate onto the page and how easy it will be to edit.

Sometimes I use self timer to take pictures and I have to spend days trying to get the picture right or sometimes I have an idea in my head for a while but don't know how I'm going to photograph it and the perfect opportunity arises and I take only a few pictures in the moment and work from there. Then I edit the lighting of the pictures until they feel right. I am repeatedly narrowing down my selection until I have less than 5 pictures that I want to use and usually can't decide on the final pick until I have my pen in hand, ready to draw.

The advantage of using photographs is that I am my own reference and since I focus on realism, I don't have to scour the internet for reference photos that are copyrighted and all of the credit goes to me. That's not to say that I don't get photoshoot inspiration from Pinterest, because I absolutely do, but I am not directly copying anything and that feels good to say. I also don't have to come up with thumbnails sketches, which are helpful but I feel like take up too much of my time. I can sketch down ideas just so that I don't forget them and then get a feel for composition and all of that in the photoshoot and photoshop process.

What does the future of my art look like?

I have had a lot of really exciting ideas for this lately. I love buying new paper and I'm looking into drawing on bigger and better things. I also want to experiment with lines over dots or dots over lines but want to keep the busy and full feeling of pointillism. I am drawn to black and white pieces but I'm thinking about experimenting with color dots using markers or acrylic ink and that is so exciting.

Why stippling?

Stippling and pointillism was something that I tried once and instantly knew was both the easiest and complicated thing I could do. I could work from pictures without having to tire myself out creatively in the drawing process because I would know pretty much what the finished product would like before I even started, yet I could put an incredible amount of time and detail into each piece that people would recognize instantly. With pointillism there is so little risk taking and so much room for error, which is maybe not what art was meant for but also sort of is.

Although I've come a long way I also have a lot to improve on and I'm going to do that for as long as it excites me. There are so many different art supplies I want to try out so I'm working on that.


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