Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Illustration Part Podcast Debate

Illustration Party Podcast

Highlight two interesting points that interest you or relate to your practise

Said Podcast is narrated by two comic/cartoon artists, Joshua Cross and Kevin Kemble. Comic strips and cartoon drawing is something which I have no experience of and if truth be told, hold very little interest in, finding two points from this fifty-four minute podcast then could be difficult and rather *yawn* exciting, obviously. And yet, still I manage the impossible…

The two American guys (Corss and Kemble) are down to earth if not a bit too ‘hip’ with their choice of phrases and ridiculous sci-fi themed, Black Eyed Peas, Will.I.Am inspired soundtrack, they’re just about listenable though their drawl may irritate me a tad, the vote’s still out. The first point I’m highlighting from their chat (it’s not really an interview but it comes across as one) is “by making mistakes you end up coming at a better solution”. Not entirely sure which cartoonist came out with this one but you can find out more about them and the podcast at Back to the point, this does fit in just neatly with my work, working method and practise. Throughout my three year degree course, and if you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll have heard me speak about it profusely, I have flitted from one style to the next without doing any in-depth exploration of what I could potentially have achieved given any one method some real time, consideration and commitment. During this final semester however I have at last applied myself 100% to my collaging technique, defining and redefining the style and quality of output. Finally, I have sweated it out over one single particular technique and whittle it down so that it describes me as an artist and what I stand for. I totally agree with this point the guys make as I have learned from first hand experience that by making my mistakes along the way I have come out at a much better place, plus what’s to gain by being perfect? I endured a three year undergrad course to do just that – make mistakes and learn from them so that I have a decent chance of survival in the real world once I graduate in July 2012. Of course there have been times in my personal work where mistakes haven’t paid off, take for example the Grimm’s project I started out on at the beginning of this semester but which eventually got scrapped for lack a of resolve, but on the whole this statement works. I scrapped my Grimm’s project – it was a mistake to even start it, but by scrapping it and making that initial mistake I have come to the resolve of producing some wonderful illustrations for my ‘into the garden’ and ‘under the water’ children’s identification books. In short, I’ve come up trumps by making that initial mistake and working twice as hard since to try and put it all right. It might be a case of stating the obvious or maybe sometimes these things need saying out loud for people to be able to resonate with them and fit things into place for themselves. Plus, if I were to end up at my perfect solution straight away, where would the fun be? I wouldn’t have the chance to experiment and play with my style or develop and nurture it when I fall on frustrating times.

The guys go on to say how being an illustrator or indeed a cartoonist is a “lonely existence” with the greatest company being in your tools; pens, pencils etc. For me, loneliness within the institution of illustration is not a given but a choice, illustrators don’t have to be lonely or feel the isolation that so many of them preach about. What happened to keeping in touch with university peers? How about taking art directors to lunch to discuss potential commissions? (an idea taken from a previous podcast…highly informative). There are so many opportunities for creative’s to get involved in and immerse themselves in and feed their creativity by collaborating with other creative minds but they choose not to participate in such events. Personally, I have lined up participation in the Spellbound festival at the end of May, Mr Thomas’ Chop House auction in July and the Just So Festival in August and I’m still in full-time education! There are so many activities to be involved in but if that really isn’t your bag then there’s always the option of renting studio space to share with other creative, like-minded people whereby there would be a constant flow of support, encouragement and company. Today it feels as though people have to moan at every possible opportunity rather than taking the bull by the horns and doing something about it. Here’s another point for you guys to talk about in future podcasts, the notion of ‘putting up or shutting up!’

Seriously though there are definite solutions to that ‘lonely’ feeling that illustrators harp on about. Sure photographers engage with their clients on a daily basis, their work is in a face-to-face environment and designers work out of a design agency (usually) but illustrators are left to fester in spare bedrooms and attic dens, I get that or at least I see where they are coming from. But the solution is simple, if this way of working isn’t working for you then find a method that does. Go and rent some studio space, collaborate with other creative people or club together to rent out a shared studio space. As a result these options all offer a support network which illustrators lack otherwise and a chance to cut costs by distributing them equally. If you research premises in-depth you should be able to find somewhere which would give you 24 hour access too so working late or early isn’t an excuse to continue your torture and in turn continue torturing me with your whining. If studio space is something you simply cannot afford then contact your local council who will generally be happy to come to an arrangement whereby derelict buildings will be offered at no cost just to have them occupied and thus less likely to be vandalised or used for squatting. Cross and Kemble however choose to talk about how social networking can relieve the loneliness that illustrators experience by keeping a network of creative’s on facebook and twitter. Sorry to say this guys but social networking sites are hardly an excuse for the real thing. Social networking is often the root of the loneliness that these illustrators and cartoonists are facing because they are reportedly ‘socialising’ and ‘networking’ through a virtual method, ie it isn’t real, it’s all online through typing words on a keyboard and not speaking them. What happened to getting dressed in a morning and going to meet these people for real? Discuss gallery invites over coffee?

What really needs to happen is people need to start and talk to others using their voices rather than their keypads, call the art director rather than sending him/her an email. Sure they can’t talk to everybody, so offer something unique, a chance at lunch, a coffee date or even a meet in the park. You benefit because you’re seeing a real person and thus are relieving your loneliness and they are benefitting because they get out of the office and possibly a free coffee. For a bunch of people that reckon to be so advanced, it seems to me we are going backwards where real communication is no longer a necessity. Pah. Maybe I’m a hypocrite? This is all said by me, sat here typing this post…

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