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The alphabet has burned me out even though I’ve only gotten to “J,” so I’m putting that aside for a while to do some other things.

Above is a new drawing for a painting I hope to start soon. And yes, if you remember a long long time ago, I abandoned the last painting I was working on. I was almost finished too. See below iPhone photo…


MS tells me I should finish it. I think I’ll finish it if I have a real need to…but I don’t have a real need to yet. I have too many problems with this piece. New one will be better.

I was thinking about how some people have a weird perspective of what an artist is or should be. MS and I have started going to figure drawing on a semi-regular basis and one night, an older artist came up to me and asked if I was a student and I told her no, that I went to UArts for Illustration in the mid 90s and I work as a Graphic Designer now. First thing she said was emphatically: “What a waste!” And I reversed my mind for a sec and thought… “Did I just say I drove a meat truck for a living?” And even when I mentioned that Matt went to Parsons and does illustration for Wizards of the Coast, that didn’t seem to impress her.

First, I wanted to say…um…I’m making a full time living as an artist. All of the money I used to pay off my “wasted” student loans was funded by making a full time living as an artist. I have some savings for retirement by making a full time living as an artist. If she’s scoffing at my major in illustration as if it’s wasted, because I’m a graphic designer, I’d like to mention not only do I do illustration work from time to time on my own, but also AT MY GRAPHIC DESIGN JOB. Many things I learned in college as an illustration student translate into working as a graphic designer. Both careers have similar outcomes: We make pictures and we communicate through visuals. Now I just happen to have twice as many skills as I had back then and twice as many interests. Every artist who wants to making a living as an artist has to make compromises. Just because I made different compromises than other artists, doesn’t make my choice less valuable. Many people I know think that working for a company full time is a horrible fate and they look down upon people who make that choice. But there are just as many advantages to working for a company as there are working for yourself. But that’s not what I’m really talking about right now. That’s another blog post in itself.

Much like I decided not to become an animation major, for various on the job realities, I became a Graphic Designer by choice as opportunities unfolded before me. I learned the computer mostly on my own, picking tips up along the way from others, and what I didn’t know, I learned on the job and I grew to enjoy it very much. And thank goodness for that! Had I gone with the original out of school plan, I would have pursued young adult novel cover illustrations and been out of work before I was in work, since photos and photo illustrations killed that market for the most part. Not to mention, I really could have missed the biggest boat by not learning how to work on the computer. It’s so important for all artists of all mediums to have solid computer skills on so many levels.

Most importantly, I’m not only an artist 9-5 or odd freelance hours. I thrive on creativity in everything that I do, whether it’s cooking a fine meal, planning a Halloween tea party that’s a feast for the eyes as well as the senses, dreaming about my garden, or decorating the house. I am always conscious of how things in my field of vision can look better like I have a tiny cinematographer in my head. When I write things down – even a to do list – often I’ll start over because I can slow down and make it nicer looking. Art school was the opposite of a waste. It was an extension and exploration of myself as an artist. Life itself is a creative exploration to me. All I ask is to lead an artful, creative life, to challenge myself and get better at everything I do, including being a better human being and exploring what life and the world has to offer. And when I’m not doing those things, I like to embroider and make things too!!!

And yes, that means I like the path I’ve chosen. And yes, lady…art school was not a waste, thank you very much. No apologies.

Next time: Challenges