Have you noticed the tagline that follows my brand, Just a Girl with Mental Problems who happen to draw.
I once watched a movie by the great elusive Banksy “Exit Through the Gift Shop” which follows an eccentric arts aficionado Thierry Guetta (sometimes going by the moniker Mr. Brainwash) who, armed with a camcorder, explores the underground street art scene and crosses paths with prominent artists, one of whom is Banksy. When Thierry undertakes the task of making a documentary based on the footages he had captured, the end result puzzles Banksy greatly, on which he quotes, “… it was at that point that I realized that maybe Thierry wasn’t actually a film maker, and he was maybe just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera.” In some ways I identified myself with the eccentric “Mr. Brainwash” who no doubt loves art with passion but is terribly misunderstood by even the pros.
Now I’ve never been officially diagnosed with any particular mental condition, but I do know I bear many characteristics of ADHD and autism. And to date I’m on meds for depression. So in a sense I am mentally challenged…and I love to draw and paint.
But does it justify the fact that I am an Artist? I wonder about that pretty often. (Here is An old post about what in my opinion Art is)
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember when I started holding a pencil in my hand and scribbled on paper. I even remember how I got severely reprimanded by my mother for pouring a bowl of water over a TV and ruining it (I still haven’t figured it out why I did that.) In school I was labeled the class artist, and I got in trouble a lot for doodling away instead of listening to the day’s lessons. It was in junior high that I actually started a formal private training in art, but I ended up driving the instructor nuts with my inability to listen and concentrate (guess I did have ADHD after all). Then around high school I started drifting away from art and dabbled in other interests that had nothing to do with art. Middle of college was when I really took a dive and almost totally gave up on art, like I did not care for it as I did before. My mental state was in haywire as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It would take many more years after college before I FINALLY got a grip and started driving in the right direction again. (For more in-depth about this story you can read this old post here)
So while in the midst of reinventing myself and setting up for a full-time lifelong journey as an artist the quote from the movie popped into my head. And I made it my life’s tagline. The more I think about it the more it suits me. Emotionally and mentally I’m as unstable as a hot pot of boiling water. While I am trying to really get my $#!@ together at the same time I relish in my unstableness and accepting it as a blessing in disguise. I’m still not considering myself a pro yet, even though I have taken that next step into introducing myself to the world on line and off line. I don’t know how long it will be before I get that official acknowledgement of being accepted into the hall of pros, only time will tell. In the meantime I will continue making art and present myself as that girl with mental problems who happens to draw…
If you’v ever read my artist statement (here) it probably sounds like I ripped it off of about ten different artist statement examples and randomly pasted it together. Truth be told, it’s exactly what I did.
It’s actually very hard to explain what kind of art I do, and why I make the kind of art that I do. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
I’ve haunted the shelves of bookstores and drove the Google search to kingdom come trying to learn the rules of writing artist statements professionally. I can’t count how many drafts I’ve written, the one on my blog site was probably the sixth edition. And still it isn’t good. Even I read it and it sounds so lame.
First of all I don’t know how to describe my art. I thought I did when I started out. Of course I was very inclined to pop art and myriads of expressionism and I thought that’s where I was headed. Then time passes and I began questioning where does my art really fit in. But in the end I am relieved to learn there are plenty of artists out there whose art don’t really fit in the conventional genres either. Which makes it whole lot easier to describe my work.
I’ll keep you updated on when I’ll have a new, better statement. In the meantime please bear with the current one, even though it is so bad (I know, I cringe at it when I read it too.) Have good weekend everyone.
In the years since I left college I’ve built up quite a resume for myself of all sorts of skills and crafts. It initially started as a decision to acquire another trade to supplement my degree in art, in order to increase my chances of getting a good job in the ver competitive field of art. However the economy has been in the pits since 2008 with thousands of people getting laid off from their jobs and still counting, the unemployment rate is constantly teetering left and right, and the incoming college grads are having lots of trouble getting even a part-time jobs. It’s been ten years since I left college, and I’m still sitting in my PJs binging on the latest movies and TV shows on Netflix. Yeah I don’t remember the last time I’ve held a serious job. Hooray for me.
Nowadays I’ve learned to accept my position and try to see things in more positive light, rather than whining and bitching about how I ever got myself in this rut and why I’m left with the scraps, constantly comparing myself to my siblings who have had lot more successes in life than I. I have continually kept myself busy polishing up on my skills and abilities, and learning new ones. Who knows one of these days one of the skill-sets will actually come to good use.
I’ve time to sit down and make a list of all my accomplishments. And boy did the list get unbelievably long:
(Disclaimer: I won’t pretend I’ve mastered all of the listed skills, but have some intermediate understanding of majority of the stuff. Hence the title of this post)
Drawing (pencil, pen, charcoal,pastel)
Painting(oil, acrylic, watercolor)
Mixed Media(collage, montage)
Computer Graphics(Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Video)
Theater Arts(set design, set building, prop making, costume design)
Sewing(alteration, reform, pattern)
Jewelrymaking(wirework, beadweaving, decorative knots, macrame)
Writing(Poetry, Short Story, Prose, Blogging)
Well that’s about all I can think of for now. I’ll keep you updated. 😉