A cool group I'm in, BlackArtSociety
, asked to know more about its members. When I realized that I was writing so much (probably too much), I decided to make my introduction into a journal entry.
Please ignore this if you're not interested. Apologies to my watchers that just want art.
I'm a 3D artist, which means I model, texture, and make materials. Oh, and run physics simulations. So much of my work involves dynamics.
I started drawing way back when I was young and we moved from the city to the suburbs. I love city culture, but I had no urge to draw until I saw woods, fields, and horses. From six until graduating high school, I drew constantly. But at college, I decided to put art over to the side. I thought I didn't need it as badly as other artists I knew (Kafka's The Hunger Artist made a big impression on me), and I wasn't nearly as good as they were. Mind, I have a different perspective now. I'd already been paid to do two memorial portraits for my high school. I would be unashamed to post my work from high school (watercolors and pastels), except I got rid of it long ago. And the artists I knew then were incredible. But I thought I wasn't very good nor driven enough. I thought science was more practical.
I soon found it didn't suit me, though, nor I it.
I eventually got into web design, which was nice meeting of creativity and technology. I still thought I could just leave pure art and expression to the side, unlike the artists I knew (now all well-established professional artists). But then I discovered Poser and got drawn into making 3D art. Well, sort of 3D art. When I began, I used enough digital painting to regret letting my drawing skills go. I had to rebuild a lot of skills.
When I started using Poser I thought, "I'll never want to make content. Making images is more important." I once again turned out to be wrong. Just as I used to love working with clay, I now find I love modeling and 3D sculpting. And it's entirely taken over my life.
I might not be the world-class artist those I knew are, but I no longer worry about it. I'm even thinking of starting to write some, which is another talent I've let lie fallow all these years. Only now I'm a lot older, and have less time to achieve anything with my talents. Nor can I pull all-nighters 3 days in a row without feeling ill. So I try to share my story as a lesson. Do what you most want to do when you have the most time, energy, health, and practice. It's just annoying rebuilding skills when there's always _so_ much more to learn, and even more to do.
I don't worry about being good enough anymore, but I sure as hell worry about getting it all done fast enough.
My likes and interests are very diverse. In terms of music, I enjoy choir, gospel, classical, epic, techno, EBM, industrial, hard rock/metal, rock, funk, alternative, folk, jazz, (some) pop... Pretty much anything but popular hip hop and country. Well, I do like some popular hip hop. Usually I listen to things you could dance to, because I mostly listen to music while walking or driving. That said, I'm really broad in the notion of things you can dance to. I don't think I've heard music with prominent drums I didn't like. I don't think I've heard a traditional music I haven't found appealing in one form or another. Except maybe polka.
Visually, my tastes are about as eclectic. As you can probably see by my favorites. I think the major qualities I look for in art are clarity of vision (in at least one respect), some element of truth from the artist, and some quality I find positive. That last can be beauty; it can be diversity; it can be speaking an unpleasant but necessary truth. It can even be the ability to creep me out. The second is what keeps me interested in the content community. The larger CG community often shows more skill than in the content community, but the work is more corporate. Content community artists usually make what they're interested in, and what's important to them. Even when it's not deep or complex, I enjoy seeing people make things out of their own imagination.
In terms of movies, I like different things, but I just don't get that into anything that takes so much of my time and isn't reading. I get everything online, no TV or cable. I'm finding there's fewer and fewer mainstream shows and movies I want to see, but more and more things I want to watch but haven't set aside time for yet. Documentaries, independent movies, etc. I usually watch videos to rest my brain, but I find it harder and harder to find shows and movies that are just fun. I don't mind drama or even some angst, but I get tired of certain tropes. And bad acting, self-involved characters, and a world skewed to make one person always perfect, right, and the best at everything, and everyone else an idiot. For me, a good show has balance among characters. No character should be everything, and every character should be allowed to shine. Leads shouldn't need writers and directors to diminish every other type of character just to show how great they are. For instance, I liked Guardians of the Galaxy, but hated that they turned Gamora from a fearless killing machine who's perfectly fine in outer space to someone afraid of being manipulated and needing rescue from outer space, all to show how manly and heroic "Starlord" is. It would have meant more to me if they'd let Gamora be as powerful as she's supposed to be, but he was still willing to sacrifice himself for her.
As that statement indicates, I'm into comics. Or I used to be. It's been a long time since I stopped collecting (though an nebezial
has got me going back to local comic shop- I
Death Vigil!). And I was never much into the mainstream titles. My favorite long-term comic is Kabuki, by David Mack (art and writing). The limited run comic I think is most brilliant in terms of both art and story is Moonshadow, by J.M. deMatteis (writing), Jon J. Muth (painting) and Kent Williams (painting). I could go on and on about the comic artists and writers I like. I stopped mainly due to money. Well, and the same reason I don't play video games. I could spend all that time and money investing myself in everyone else's artwork, or I could spend it investing myself in my own.
That's one of the reasons I love deviantART. I get to do both at the same time. With the right groups, I don't have to spend as much time searching for new artists, and I get do it for free. And it's easy to subscribe to those artists. I don't have to rely on annual collections, writing down names, then trying to remember to bring the list to the store with me.
I love reading, and always have. I grew up reading my father's fantasy and science fiction novels (more the former than the latter). Part of what inspired me as an artist were the covers, most of which I come to find were made by Michael Whelan. Just to be honest, while I love Neil Gaiman and Patricia McKillip, I can't stand J.K. Rowling. I don't like most of the teen lit masquerading as fantasy and sci fi now, turning the genre into romance with super powers or sparkly vampires.
I don't think it's healthy that adults can't seem to write stories with strong adult heroes anymore, or that stories all seem to revolve around youth ignoring experts' advice and starting romances. I see way too little respect for lessons learned in the past, and for the people who learned them. I see myth, magic, and symbols losing their meaning, replaced by individual desire and entitlement. I see media idolizing youth in a way that devalues experience and wisdom. All of which makes me sad, because most of the people writing these stories have experience and should have built wisdom. It's sad times when people in their 30's to 60's don't seem to believe anyone older than 25 can contribute anything of value to society. They don't seem to believe anyone their own age has a story worth telling.
But I keep reading, and I keep looking, so I do find gems of writers who go beyond the teen lit template. I just hope others find them, too. The world won't survive if the young don't believe they have future after their 20's. If we don't show not only how to start a journey, but how to finish one. How to keep going after things have stopped being shiny and new and started being messy and complicated. We need stories that tell them queens are as important as princesses, that being a father is as important (and as challenging) as being a young adventurer, that building a lasting relationship is as rewarding (if less dramatic) as starting one.