What I'm Learning & Back to Grand Rapids for the End of ArtPrize Round One :D

Chatting in front of my piece last weekend, ArtPrize #61400.

Chatting in front of my piece last weekend, ArtPrize #61400.

I want to share a conversation (well, one question, one answer) that I just had with the subject of my ArtPrize entry, Rob. A peek behind the artist veil, but I think it's important.

How many people did you talk to about your art? How many people there might be interested in being art patrons? How much fun did you have just being there and experiencing the art and people experiencing in your art?
— Rob
I have met a lot of people, it’s true. I guess I have to have faith that good things will come from that. Also, I should define what a “good thing” is - is it an award, money, connections? And, I HAVE had a lot of fun, yes. This feels like this might be a point in time where I come face-to-face with my desire for recognition and learn that that’s not all there is when you judge “success”. Maybe that’s going to be the biggest bit of learning I get out of all of this.
— Me

So - This is where I am with the fact that: I created a piece for ArtPrize that I love, I got a HUGE response from the public last weekend, yet... it's not developed into much "formal recognition" (i.e., I didn't make the Juror's short list, nor am I in the running for the public vote - that I know of). 

I'm human, I'm disappointed. This was a ton of work and, like anyone, it'd be nice to have people recognize that. But the fact of the matter is, people ARE recognizing it. Who KNOWS what's next after all of this exposure during ArtPrize 7 @ The B.O.B. I'm immensely grateful to all of the support I have and am working very hard to not get mired down into the race to the top prize. It's tough, but it's important.

'Draw more, care less' is what my tattoo says. How soon I forgot.


Coming Full Circle

Diving deeper into this portrait project, I've noticed a very interesting change that I had not anticipated. 

I USED to draw people like this a lot. By 'used to', I mean, in the '90s. It's been a very long time. In the interim, I didn't really thinking about it. My medical illustration career, then my drawing-a-day project (consisting of mainly objects rather than humans), were my artistic focus (we'll ignore the PhD here). I don't think I ever thought "OK. I'm moving AWAY from that work and onto this work because I must." But I definitely felt like "growth" was something to strive for, and, for me, that was not necessarily doing what I had done in undergrad. This was definitely the message I received from a lot of instructors. 

I haven't explored carbon dust as a medium since I learned to do it in 2000 (pictured below: my first carbon dust piece - the human hip bone). PS: Why does my sig say 2001? Der. Wrong.

Drawing one of these suckers has been the first assignment of all Hopkins' med ill students since 1911.

Drawing one of these suckers has been the first assignment of all Hopkins' med ill students since 1911.


I did one or two small carbon dust drawings as part of my drawing-a-day, but, never people. So, it'd been awhile.

These portraits have their challenges, like all drawings do. The dust fights me, the portrait edges away from looking like its subject... my eyes strain, my head aches.

The difference is how this project is influencing me as a person. As I wile away the hours scribbling and blending, I am slowly feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I've laid-off with a lot of my self-criticisms, for example. I find myself refraining from: "Why the hell do you have to lose everything all the time??"  "You forgot to q-tip your ears AGAIN?" "You can't NOT were a cardigan. This shirt fits you weird."

There's this weird calm over that stuff. I'm not almost saying these things... I'm just not saying them. I simply no longer care. 

I'm attributing it to my return to a medium and subject that are part (a majority?) of the core of my artisticness

And, dear lord, it feels GOOD.