Walking further along

Tomorrow, I work my first ever Artist’s Alley! I’ve been reflecting a lot on my past works and how much I’ve developed as an artist.

No longer are doodle pages the majority of what I do. They are still a huge chunk of my time, and incredibly important (I cannot think of a way to truly express just how important they still are!). And yet, now I am finding myself drawing pages of sketches where I am specifically experimenting with skills I want to improve upon.

It’s like the doodles get my ideas or spirit out onto paper while practicing with the skills I have. The sketches where I am practicing a skill specifically use content that comes so naturally to me. I’m glad I spent so much time drawing purely from the heart as I have, otherwise fixing my attention onto skill-building would seem too daunting.

Check out the above pictures of some sketchbook pages I’ve shared on Twitter recently. I’m trying to improve the faces I draw, the perspective of important objects, and still life realism (respectively) in these pages. While they aren’t perfectly executed, I’m proud. Those are skills I’ve never felt confident in, but have always wanted to improve.

But in terms of my themes and the content of my works – they are still creepy, weird, and emotional. I’m still drawing lots of personal explorations, along with my monsters and more fantastical or abstract representations; I don’t fathom those will ever go away (or can).

The main thing I hope to achieve at the Artist’s Alley tomorrow is hopefully realistic enough: to have more people see what I do. Secretly, I hope that out of those people, I will have a chance to interact with the one who looks at my works and sees their own weirdness.

Two Mind Maps

Today I’d like to introduce you to two drawings that are, to me, joined by a single thought: how easy is it to represent what I am thinking and feeling through art? A big question, for sure, that raises a multitude of others!

abstract art made up of curved lines, circles, patterns and symbols such as stars
Universe Soup, 2019

Questions, such as: how do you express your feelings about a specific thing without creating your own vocabulary, risking the alienation of the people who look at it? Or should you try to make the effort of using common themes and symbols to connect with others?

These are pretty big questions that lead to big artistic decisions! Artists have argued historically about how much one should be taking the viewer into consideration, like how much should be explained to them. And then we have the critics and art enthusiasts of all kinds, with their own opinions as the experiencers! So who should you listen to, as an artist? Your peers, your audience, your critics, or your heart?

I think that because art comes from you, you get to set the rules. So I may not like your art, or understand it, but I can respect that you did something that comes from you. To be fair, I expect the very same to be thrown back at me.

While I like making art that other people can understand, even if some parts of it are a little cryptic or too personal to translate. I know that some viewers’ own experiences and cultures are going to be a barrier to their understanding of what I’m trying to say, just as my own experiences will be a barrier to my own ability to communicate to them. I can hope that people get it, but I can’t depend on it. And it isn’t in my personality to dwell on things I can’t depend on! Therefore, I keep on doing what I am doing, as best as I can.

There is one thing I absolutely love, something that only depends on human beings acting like themselves.

abstract art made up of geometric shapes and lines
Learning collage, 2019

Both Universe Soup and Learning collage, abstract drawings I made earlier this year, are trying to portray something simple in each of them. It is more fun to me, and fulfilling, to let people see what I do and hear about what they see.

The first drawing, Universe Soup, has to do with how I view the vastness of space, while the other, Learning collage, speaks more to how and why I do some of my best learning through books. Every line I make has a purpose; every shape I use has a meaning. I wonder, reader, what you saw – were those themes obvious? Or did you see something else entirely?

And if it was the latter, would that be a failure on my part?

Snake obsession

After looking at some scroll paintings of the Zen monk Sesshu Toyo, I was inspired by the black ink patterns in some of his work, especially his clouds. I doodled for a while, and ended up creating some weird snakes.

(Click on the image to see it all big n pretty ;))

I have always loved and found snakes beautiful, soulless as their eyes look. What an awesome mix of gorgeous and scary! I love drawing them, and I’m really happy with these.

Doodles in Colour

colourful doodles

Here’s a collection of doodles I particularly love that came out of experimenting with new coloured pens. I’ve been making great use of the pens ever since!

I posted a tweet on my art twitter account that showed a part of this page some time ago. I tend to share doodles there more often, but I am sure to share complete doodle pages from my sketchbook here every now and again.

Walking out into the world, lost

This isn’t as depressing as I think I’ve made it seem by the title. It’s just my way of looking at life.

lost

It’s how I think everyone starts their story. Without knowledge, and barely themselves. So all our life we are struggling to be who we are. Hence the imagery of a cell, our basic biological unit.

I’m not the happiest with the pencil lines, but at the same time I like the way it feels unfinished, like a life. So it’s doing right by me.