Friday, February 11, 2011

Artist blocks/breakthroughs &disapointments/encouragements

After working on part one and two of this animation project for about 5 months, using  most of my waking hours and many of what should have been my sleeping hours, I have a little post creative letdown of sorts. That is sort of natural in the ebb & flow of things. It has happened before when I've worked on a body of work for a show, or even a end of semester critique a million years ago in college.

Here is the general pattern. When working, I am very happy in my bubble. I'm in the flow, in need of little company, but am excited about sharing the outcome with people in my life at it's completion . Then comes the exhibition of work, or in this case the premiere of animation (a pretty new experience for me). More often than not it gets a lukewarm reception (though the videos have received a bit of press which is appreciated), cooler sales (if applicable) and is quickly forgotten. That, combined with silence from those I consider colleagues/friends, and others close to me is a pretty crushing experience. I feel foolish for the letdown, and ashamed of what must be egotism to have expected a better outcome. Sometimes I've froze up at that point. Other times I've worked through it. It has depended on my own weakness or strength at the time.

I'm 41 and don't have the luxury of time wasting to wallow in hurt feelings or worrying about displeasing/not entertaining/ not impressing my friends and peers. Being overlooked by those whose opinions I've valued hurts, but I have to move on.  A stingy silence may be their own disappointment in letting go & fear to get back to their own work. Or they just really don't care. Shrug.

I'm not going to worry if my work  is the "right" medium, approach, tone, level of seriousness, or whatever other factor--unless it doesn't feel right to my own instincts for the type of project it is.

 I don't expect anyone to "like" what I do at any given moment. However, to anyone who is, was, or has been close to an artist, they know the EXPERIENCE to throw oneself into a project with abandon can a be a rare and treasured one. It isn't always possible. Job demands, family, & other issues (fear a huge one) can get in the way. (Most artists would rather have papercuts on their eyeballs than admit they are stuck or held back --either by internal or external forces. But most of us battle them. We lose some battles. We don't admit it because we feel like we are losing our identity, our secret weapon, our magic when we do. Or someone more productive in the moment has something "on us" and take our invisible crown away) When an artist manages to get around that and dive full force into  project, either by forces of luck or will--it should be something to celebrate. By those who love us, because they should love what puts passion and color in our life, and from other artists. Because they can see a possibility their opportunity can come too.

My previous job was very demanding. It required me to live where I work and be "on" 24/7 , but I know my help was appreciated and I was treated/compensated well for the work. I eeked out some painting here and there but there were long stretches where the time or low mental/physical energy defeated me. When it came to its sudden but natural end after a year and a half, I was on unemployment, something I never experienced before. I had always worked or starved.

I still am on unemployment right now. Job searches have been long fruitless (There might, might be a change in that soon......., but nothing I want to elaborate on. Yet.) Once I got past the shock of it, and realize for once-- time is NOT a barrier, for now ..I started to battle my internal considerable blocks in making art ("not good enough", "slacker", "not REAL art ", "lame", "a setback...you were better years ago", "as soon as you get started you'll get employed at something that will NEVER let you paint....and it is going to hurt, badly.") and started a small thread of work . I made some glorified dootles with decent pens and a good watercolor kit. It's funny how its the seemingly insignificant work that leads to more more challenging and substantial projects.

My newfound cousin, Paul one-upped me & asked me to make a video for a song when I said I would draw to his & my buddy Jaylinn's new album for fun. I had very little technical knowledge, a few concepts of animation I retained from college electives 20 years ago, but thought "what the hell". I always wanted to make a music animation since I was 12 and discovered MTV, but other musicians I've known were never focused enough on their own stuff or was interested enough in my own work to seriously offer a collaboration. Paul & Jaylinn have been rabidly supportive & it has been so energizing. Maybe I'm an intellectual lightweight, but a studied cooler than thou vibe, withheld emotion, arms folded, skeptical eye squinting "....and what were you trying to accomplish by this...?" sort of approach to input about my work can be far outweighed by a well timed , direct and sincere"whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" from a passionate and creative friend to help keep my momentum going.

With the momentum comes a cheerful cockiness, and almost manic sleepless optimism by the project's end. Though I should really know the pattern by now, I shouldn't be surprised when greeted with silence anymore. From friends who, ironically, will be those who will point out my stuck times with concern, to those close enough to know the time I have invested in whatever project. I know, everyone has their own mountain of stuff to deal with.

To those who took the 5 minutes to view part 2 of this project & gave encouragement, or to have even just acknowledged the effort-- thanks so much.

Paul,  who is far more talented and persistent at reaching out to the masses (and has a far thicker skin to boot), just sent me these varied responses in an email which made quite a difference in my day. For the most part they are lighthearted and fun, but that is what the video is supposed to be too, despite the work.

(btw the "secret" references are about keeping it in an appropriate audience..The Boxing Lesson was previewing its release to trusted friends/fans, and we have a concern about it being linked in appropriate places. If you link from my blog it has a 18+ warning so it is already cleared for the right viewers.)

I'm going to keep going (part 3 of project and painting too), and when periods of fear inertia/fear/fatigue/time constraints start to get the better of me in the future (cause they will) I will use these and and some stored memories of other support to prop me up. And I will try to do the same for you, if you are in need. I apologize if I have overlooked you. Get in touch. Stay in touch.

from Paul:
"Random Video testimonials
I sent it out to a lot of people and got back some great responses. check some of them out:

That's crazy and awesome!  I've never seen a video like that.  Not clear why she needed the flower though --- i think he was a sure thing without it


that's Beautifull!!! congrats guys - tell ms Jeanne - WOOT!!!


Wow, I have never heard that song sound so good. Lo-fi 4 track really seems to suit it! I thought the video was really beautiful. I loved all of the references to third eye and the over all tripping!  It was pretty bold! The imagery was beautiful.


Trippeh, i likey


I really dug that man. Thanks for sharing! Congrats!!! I watched on my iphone first thing when I woke up. It was weird rad. Raird I guess? Gonna watch it again after I lite up --- oh wait. I am liting up. Talktoyousoonbro


Cool video!


oh wow paul! what a great video! i think if someone gave me some hallucinogens before watching this my brain might actually melt. i love the saucy ending; my favourite part is the kitties in the topo chico box.

the song is rad - it's the kind of song i'd put on repeat to paint to. very mellow and introspective. love it, can't wait for the release!


I'm watching the video right now, it's awesome! I certainly won't pass it around but if you want me to when it's ready to be announced let me know and I most certainly will.
(and then in regARDS to the austin sound article) - OMG that article is really funny. I'm glad they were as amused by the description as I was :)


THANKS for sharing this & let me know when I can share it.


Hey Man..that is a very cool video...totally tripped out..I dig it..very..ummm..shroomy!! Gonna play this through my flat screen TV at home..lights off..volume all the way up!!


it's not over the top. it's kind of european


man I wish we could do stuff like this. Did Jeanne Hospod do the animation? It is amazing. Good for you guys man. We will be sure to keep it a secret. You guys are great!


WOW. really neat art! I'm not quite sure I know whats going on through the whole thing but that only means I'm about to watch it five more times.

Let me know when I can post it!

Thanks for sharing! What another great form of you guys put out into this universe- no doubts for the Boxing Lesson. Ever.



that was amazing. Great job guys! Super Sexy!


awesome! I'm going to check this out at lunch! don't worry I shall keep it to myself!! :)


Thank you for the sneaky peak! I will not post it, no problemo!




awesome! I'll check it out and keep my mouth shut!

Awesome trippy good time!!! I think it looks and sounds fantastic!!! Really impressive textures and beatiful synergy between the sound and vision-

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