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A Modern Artist

The times of a lone artist toiling away for a rich patron is dated. Today there are so many more ways to be an artist. Through technology artists can be community leaders, social activists, brands, public speakers and so much more. I think if anything that artists today have a duty to do more than just create artwork, to create outside of their primary practice - we have such a great oppertunity that it'd be a waste not to use it. These creations outside the studio then feed back in to the ones within it, creating better art which then reaches more or affects deeper - in return fueling more proactive oppertunities for the modern artist.

So Close You Can't See

You're a lone badass artist. You toil late at night and early in the morning. You're a creative, a business owner, an authority... I think singular vision is an incredibly great thing. But for all that I value independence and artists having full control and insight into their practice - you just can't do it alone. Because often we are so focused we loose sight of the whole picture - so high up above the clouds our work never makes it down to earth. If you're like me then you also overcomplicate when often the simplest and obvious solutions are the best, another symtom of being to close you can't see. You need a confidant, a friend and equal who may not know you subject as deep as you do but

You Can't Start Until You've Finished

Sounds weird. But It's kind of true. If you never finish a piece of work (like so many of us do) then you only have a piece of the whole map... Let me explain. When you haven't ever created a certain work in a certiain media before or have relatively little experience in it, you have a tonne of assumptions about it - about how to do it, what it will look like at the end and how long this will all take... Everything you know is wrong though. I'd say a big part about getting better and better at art-making is unlearning everything you know one creation at a time. It's like being a parent and wanting you child to become a doctor even though they want to really go and join the circus; your press

Either Nothing Or Work - You Decide

Being self-employed doesn't work if you aren't disciplined. Discipline equals freedom - the more strict you are with your time and self, the more flexible you can be with it... But sometimes you just can't beat the distractions - most of us work with computers and it is the internet's sworn duty to disturb this discipline... The internet gives us lots of choice, lots of things to do - it's greatest feature. Also it's greatest blight. Having choice kills disipline - it saps your ability to make a clear decision, you must reduce everythng down so there is no option but to get on with it... When that alarm goes off, don't ever negotiate and snooze - you either get up or you don't... Same with

How To Do Studies

When you're beginning your creative career, you want to get gud - real fast.. So you look around and see all of these experts doing 'studies' - pumping out smaller, rougher works based around an idea, another artist, subject matter or medium.... You think great! Let me get started then... And then you begin and slowley loose interest - you understand why you need to draw models hundreds of times if you want to be a figurative painter but the process of looking at reference on the internet and working from it is only interesting the first couple of times - it eventually wears out, leaving you frustrated and making the whole process of getting better something you vehemently want to avoid... T

Do It Because It Makes You Happy

Wanting to get better at creative tasks has this effect of completly destroying your enjoyment of it... When it moves from being something you look forward to to something you actively avoid. The truth is that your really shouldn't be doing it if you hate it that much... Think about the painting you've set out to do - what about it puts you off starting it so much? Is it the expectation? The inevitable failure? Because you'd rather be doing something else? I think if you want to create, whatever it is, if you start feeling like it's a grind there are solid steps you can take to reverse that state of mind and get back to feeling the pure joy of it... Really the most important is to lower you

The Creative Oppertunity of Code Nowerdays

Being a C++ developer, it is so easy and very attractive to reinvent the wheel. The coding language gives you more control and low level functionality than any other out there - and you want to use that to it's fullest... C++ attracts this kind of thinking. I ditched Python years ago because it just didn't give me what I wanted - if you use C++ you can code from the ground up, it is a beacon for do-it-yourself types or more accurately I-want-to-do-it-my-way types... With code, you are fully exposed to much of the unique oppertunity computers creativley give, as opposed to Photoshop which is more a production tool - something we used to be able to do, now much easier, faster and to a higher q

Like Breathing...

When I meet talented creatives I am often struck by just how good techically they are... They're able to so quickly hone in on some kind of arresting detail or composition or mood. They're able to do it seemingly effortlessly... Creating is like breathing to them... The thing that underpins their mastery is their constant level of creation - they just never stop... When one thinks of that, of never stopping creating, it feels like so much effort, like a burden - These people never relax! Instead of having a moment to think they just draw ALL the time... You'll dismiss this and thnk you can never possibly acheive their level, that it isn't in your nature to enjoy something so much that is suc

Building A Repository Of Effects

I previously wrote about when you make artwork, that you must have a process laid out in your mind built from a vivid final mental image and working back from that to where you are.... Once you know what your endpoint is, how do you get there? Whatever medium you work in you must ask the question 'what effects do I have at my disposal and which do I need?'. The only way you can know what effects you can make is by experimnting A LOT. The effect of perspective by drawing lines in a certain arrangement, the effect of light on water by drybrushing your oils after several layers.... Whatever the medium, creating is fundamentally the composing of effects. And the only way to know what to do to ge

The 2 Hurdles To Create New Habits

There are 2 times you say yes to a habit. The first is when you initially put it into practice and try it out - do you even enjoy it? is it suitable to the way you live? will it actually give you the benifits you need? Then there is the second - the dip. When you've kept it up for a while but it begins to grind on you. Maybe over the long term it just isn't viable? The initial excitement is gone and now it's just very boring, it takes too much time... You forget your purpose. And that stops you from continuing. You forget that purpose is what you feel from doing it, that it is gained, not a prerequisite.

Working Backwards from The Endpoint

When making artwork, forcing something to look a certain way is not only a great way to get frustrated but is also a missed oppertunity... You must get detailed, have an incredibly vivid and specific image in your mind's eye - then logically work backwards from that endpoint to where you are now... It is that simple. But too often when we are not masters of a medium we aimlessly dribble with it - scribbling, needlesly shading, adding random colours or a copious amount of time on an irrelevent detail.... This stems from your mental image not being vivid enough - don't just stop at the general idea of what you want, you must keep going, break down its components... From that endpoint you buil

The Crazy Power Of Doing Dalies

You may think that don't a painting a day, or whatever your creations are, seems far too simple to have as a profound effect as it does.... Your cynical senses kicks in; 'this is too easy, there has to be some kind of catch, some kind of massive effort I must exert'... But no. It really is that simple. If you do a little everyday your progress explodes over time... No amount of words can really capture this phenomena. It is somethig you will have to expereince for yourself.... When you build momentum, when you continually create and breed creativity from that physical act of making something, when you take the pressure off the product by commiting a small part of your time a day, the results

You Are Better Than Your Heroes

Because if you were not, there would be no progress - our collective best has already been acheived, it's a sad thought... We are faster than ever before, smarter and more technically skilled... In using technology to bootstrap this betterment we must make sure to not loose valuable lessons of the past; patience, determination, observation and empathy. While also not letting the past hold us in chains and determie our paths, both in our individual lives and our collective one... The way we paint today has changed - we don't need to go out and see a rhino to know what it looks like, cleanup our work surface or spend money on wasteful materials... On the other hand you don't want to never go o

Self-Comparison: How to Empower, Not Destroy

Comparison is a powerful effect. I can't go one second without seeing someone elses better life or skills or wealth or acheivements... Once you start down this hole you can really get stuck there. You are your own worst critic, and it is vicous... This critic, this voice, despite being cutting, is also very dumb. It's source of power comes from superficial ideas and more often than not our own asumptions. We willingly destroy ourselves using scarce information, a tiny, edited window into someone elses life.... Presentation and editing play a massive role in this. Very often we only see people when they have floated to the tops of our feeds - earned by diligent practice at presenting and edit

Frame Your Work Around What You Do, Not How You Do It

As a cross-media artist and software developer I find it hard to separate my tools from what it is I provide. They are a deeply engrained part of my work and it's vital focus (for now)... But this way of thinking limits me. While it is great from a tool-developer's perspective it is constraining from an artist's... It puts the HOW before the WHY. This has been a concious choice for me for the past year in my attempt to work towards a creative process and toolset that would allow me the full range of how I want to create - with drawing and algorthms.... But as this system and ideas get more and more solidified I'm beginging to ask the question of WHY... I think there are overriding themes my

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