Since I’ve just completed my third year of college, here are 3 things that really hit me this year…
#1 Technology used as art is no longer an enemy to me, but still be wary –
I have really enjoyed working on the computer this past semester for computer illustration. Never thought I would say that one. Now, I do not mean that I don’t still prefer the traditional work, I do. However, I have finally accepted computer generated art as another medium of expression that I enjoy. And just like any other medium, the computer provides new freedoms, as well as many limitations. The biggest thing I have found to constantly remind oneself when working with this medium is one that applies to all mediums: don’t get too caught up in it. I think it can be very dangerous for an artist to stay too tied to one medium for too long. It can be dangerous for an artist to stay locked in the computer, digital side of art just as it can be dangerous for an artist to only work in oils. Another is the freedom of ‘command (+) z’ or ‘undo’. This ability can be fantastic in giving one the freedom to express without the fear of “messing something up” and having to spend a lengthy amount of time fixing it. It can generate an energy and boldness in your work. However, the danger is turning this gift into a crutch. When you return to your traditional work, you realize that the ‘undo’ safety net is gone, and one can become overly cautious in their work. Before you didn’t have undo, so if you messed something up, you just took the time to problem solve how to fix it. (This is a powerful element of working traditionally). Now, after working digitally, you realize how quickly you can fix something and redo it and in some cases, (maybe this only applies to me), you can become less willing to take the time to fix traditional work after viewing the quick process of the digital. This can be a dangerous place to be in. Yes, it is great to be able to work quickly, (and if you really want to you can digital correct traditional work), but the traditional work often teaches us vital problem solving tools to develop our pieces and take them further.
Other than these two major and a few other minor glitches in my viewpoint of the computer, I really have enjoyed adding it as another medium to my list to grow and develop in and continue to practice. Alongside the traditional of course…
#2 An Image can be a powerful thing –
When I first decided to pursue art as a career, I began with a mentality that probably many do, “I’m going to make this a cool image,” or more commonly, “a pretty picture”. As I’ve been developing, studying, learning, and creating, I’ve been learning the true power and emotion that an image can invoke. There is certainly a time and a place to create “pretty” or “cool” pictures. It can be fun, relaxing, and creative to do, and an escape. However, now I have come to see that taken more seriously, your work can embrace a bigger picture, so to say. Your work can capture a moment that invokes emotion, lifts the spirits, makes someone aware of an issue, or really challenge someone to think or to think deeply about a powerful theme that applies to all of us who walk this earth. I’m not saying that my work is at that point yet. I still really enjoy images that look “cool” and will continue to create them when I need that release. But, the challenge I have learned to apply to myself and all artists should apply, is “how can my work make an impact?” As artists, we weren’t given this gift of creativity to enjoy it for ourselves. There is so much to do with our art if we only, well…be creative. Apply it. This is my new challenge I have learned this year to put into practice, (many artists have already embraced this and learned it earlier in their lives),and I hope to challenge any artists who have not already embraced it to do so as well.
#3 Simplicity –
The third thing I learned does not really apply to just one thing and doesn’t necessarily derive or apply to art, (although like everything in life, it always could apply). I am someone who worries and constantly wants to try to control a scenario so that I don’t have to worry. The hard thing for me to learn this year is that no one can really control anything, and when I try to I end up more stressed. For me, this was a sign that I have to put my trust and let go of my worry and give it to God, who is in control of everything in my life since I have given it up to Him. When I do this, life is simpler. It doesn’t make it easy, but the anxiety is lifted and I feel more confident in the things that I do and need to face. It also helps one to refocus on the bigger picture, which is always important. Giving those things up takes your focus off of yourself and all the little the things in your bubble world we all create in our heads, (whether consciously or not). You begin to see other things that are much bigger than you, and much more important than you. And this is an empowering thing to learn. It has been for me.