Well what a crazy year 2020 has been.
Sure every year had its WTF moments. But to date (im my opinion of course) no year could be more profound than what the whole world had faced just last year, in one unforgettable word: CORONAVIRUS.
Who could have ever guessed that one tiny spiked ball of germ could have such devastating impact socially, politically, AND economically, and on a global scale at that. What’s more despairing is that it didn’t have to get out of control like this. There had been even worse pandemic-scale diseases in the last decades, such as Ebola, SARS, MERS, Mad Cow, to name a few. Thankfully all of them had been tamed without so much as a disruption to our daily routines. The main sources of the failure to contain this one can all be traced to the Fake News fiasco, the blatant incompetence of our leaders (one in particular, with a capital T), and then the irresponsible and reckless nature of our selves for resisting the orders to avoid crowding and to wear that mask.
But there is no point in pining and griping about what we should have or should not have. The water has passed through the bridge, the damage is done. Life will never be the same.
And we have to live with it. Whether we like it or not. Let us hope we can learn from the mistakes and move forward, making amends where necessary.
For me it’s time to turn a blank page of my life book.
The pandemic had stumped my year’s worth of plans to expand upon my art career. Art fairs and conventions were cancelled, people were strapping up their wallets and spending only on the Essential goods (of course Art is not considered an essential good) and with all the curbing on social gatherings there was no way to try and make the necessary connections. I had to pull out of a gallery after only a year since I could not afford to continue paying the rent. On the flip side I’ve learned to expand my artistic presence online and grow some of my social media followings. But there was still much to be done, and I cannot do it without any financial stability. Such is the Artist’s Life, indeed.
Beginning this year I have started doing meal and grocery delivery work via Instacart and Postmates and will soon be working part-time at a small firm. And I was able to make spare some time to continue my studio work and building online presence. It was not so hard as I had thought, it’s actually doable if you do it right and with a positive attitude. I will try to document my progress here from time to time so I can come back and see how far I have gone (or fallen back, which hopefully will be rare). I still have my dream project at work and I will soon post new updates on that. I will resist the urge to wallow in my past woes and push on to my goals, making sure to be prepared for any obstacles that will surely come my way.
Let this year will be the Year of Recovery, not just for me, but for everyone. Let bygones be bygones, say Adios to 2020, don’t look back, and march forward. And by the way:
I believe there is no right or wrong way to promote ones self. The internet makes it much easier these days to show off your stuff and draw some fans. Lately in an attempt to draw more attention to my brand I have included some fan art into my collection. For the past few months I have created a series of pen and gouache drawings and paintings based on the legendary game Mortal Kombat. I myself am a fan of the game and play on regular basis, though I am awful at it. Knowing the depth of popularity of that game and a huge fanbase around it I gave it a go at infiltrating it and draw some people to my art. Of course in order to stand out from hundreds of other artists that are also in the crowd I spught to put my own spin on the game’s design; considering the games notoriety for its over the top violence and gore I presented its colorful cast of deadly ninjas, assassins and mercenaries as cute and adorable dolls, like the Mini Me of Austin Powers nemesis Dr. Evil, or in Japan which is more commonly referred to as chibis. In doing so my once sluggish Twitter and Instagram accounts really picked up and follower count grew exponentially.
Now I am aware that fan art is a pretty sensitive subject in the art world; I am making art based on someone else’s creation, so it is pretty akin to stealing the other artist’s idea. There are quite a handful of articles online, not to mention those nagging voices of your art professors and advisors from way back when, that strongly condemn such practices, warning of possible legal and ethical breaches.
But on the flip side artists copy each other all the time. Even the great Pablo Picasso once quoted
Good Artists copy. Great Artists steal.Picasso
Maybe you are stuck in that awful artist block and look to other works of art for inspiration. Or you want to imitate the style and techniques of your favorite piece of art as a warmup exercise which you can then incorporate into your own original work. Or you worship the artist and want to pay homage to him or her by making a replica of their most famous work and just adding a sprinkle of your own style to it so you are not totally making a photocopy of the original work.
But that still does not excuse one from making art off of someone else’s concept. Worst case scenario is you get your @$$ sued to rock bottom or get locked up behind bars for theft or copyright infringement (especially if you are making big bucks off of it, which right now I’m not so I can say I’m safe from that). It is important for artists to make art that is his/her own so the audience can appreciate your creativity and take you seriously. I hope to one day introduce my more original art to the audience I have gained. Sure I can expect to lose about half of them when they no longer see their favorite MK characters in another wacky misadventures I have created, but I will not stress about that. I will have to find the right time and balance of distribution of my original art and fan art.
Until next time…
Let’s face it. Being an artist is hard. Even harder is telling people about you as an artist.
As a lifelong hardline introvert I get jittery whenever I try to strike up a conversation with a total stranger or present myself to a social gathering. I’ve never had friends nor could I keep the very few that I do manage make. My only true friends have been the ones I would cook up in my mind.
But it has come to my attention that i cannot stay hidden in this closet forever, especially now that I have made it my goal to become a full time artist. With internet and social media nowadays I have absolutely NO excuse to try and put myself in n the spotlight.
So I have steadily taken steps to get myself out there through various social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube- any where I felt that I can make my mark. I would post sketches, work in progress photos, even videos of my work process that I painstakingly edited and compiled myself. I’ve even started streaming myself on Twitch, and while I am garnering a massive 0 viewership it nevertheless has given me some confidence. I’m even forcing myself to talk out loud even if it’s just to myself (course I informed my parents beforehand about this so they won’t keep peeking into my room to see if I’m okay and that I’m not going cuckoo). I’ve also got into gaming as a way to draw more audience to my channel and hopefully lead them to check out my art.
And how is it going so far? Well I have seen some more traffic in recent months and even managed to sell few paintings, although they are mostly fan art. Yes I’ve been doing a lot of fan arts lately I figured that is most popular and draws more audience, but now that’s another story…
Have you ever taken a step back and look around you and realized what fantastic mess you are standing on?
I have no affinity for neatness. Sure once in a while I would take some time to straighten up the clutter in front of me when I have nothing else better to do, then drop the neatness mode and make a mess all over again that goes on for days or even months without stopping. This happens especially when I buy a new item to add to my piling collection of junk that I had forgotten about ages ago. Much of my spending habits could have been curbed if I had taken some time to sift and search through every nook and cranny of my space and find that one sketchbook that still had many empty pages to be filled or a pen that still has plenty of ink to fill 100 pages. No being a lazy bone that I am I assume that I’ve lost it somewhere and head out and buy a replacement.
Probably the only times I actually do take the effort to stop and clean up is when I have run out of the creative juice and in need of the search for a pickerupper. Time to time I flip through my piles of old sketchbooks and past art projects from school and beyond for some ideas. That is when my eyes would open and I can actually see the mess that I had long ignored. That is the first step- the second step, the one I often stumble on, is making the time to clean up the space.
I have really bad handling of time, you see. I often complain and complain that I do not have enough time to get anything done when in reality I had more than enough. It’s the matter of pushing my big heavy butt off the couch and getting a move on. It’s happened so many times I’m not laughing anymore at how much I had missed.
Now with this COVID-19 pandemic forcing many of us indoors there is NO excuse to take this opportunity to follow through with that ‘spring cleaning’ my space I often mulled over. It didn’t stop me from trying, of course, but eventually I settled the time and days that I would organize.
Starting with my desk, it looked like a jungle of snakes running around with all these USB cables and peripherals for my computer smooched in this tiny corner desk space. When it got to the point that I coudn’t figure out which cable belong to which that I decided to get a desktop shelf. Though in this case instead of buying, I made it using old cardboards and newspaper, as you can see below:
So the desk looked clean as a whistle, finally. Now, about these piles of papers, books, and other itty bitty toys I’d stashed away into oblivion of the closet and shelves (even under the bed), and in anticipation for more additions in the future, I got Dad to help put up some extra shelves:
Now with the dust settled I can say I have more space for storage and easier access to things I need to use. I’ve even managed to toss out some empty boxes I had not bee aware of before which contributed to more mess as well as some items I no longer have any use for, though it took a bit of courage to kiss and say goodbye. I always think I would use it sometimes in the future, then forget about it and it would sit there collecting dust. As I once heard, “Close your eyes, throw it away, and forgetabouit.” There is this feeling you get after a days worth of cleaning your room-not only the room is clean, but I feel clean too. And more energized and ready to tackle on new stuff or tasks I have long stashed away.
So the lesson learned: organization really matters. And not only with your room, but your way of life as well.