Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Artist at Play

This is my latest illustration, and it marks the beginning of a "Renaissance Period" for me. Over the past 15 years, as life has gotten in the way, I have found myself struggling to find the motivation to create personal art. One of the major downsides to working in the creative industry is that it can really drain you of the energy necessary to create on your own. As I found myself slowly getting sucked into the daily grind that society demands you play a part in, my artistic output began to suffer more and more. This is one of the main reasons why I left my corporate job. Working 50+ hours a week and checking your office voice mail over the weekend has a remarkably adverse affect on your ability to indulge in the finer things. Interestingly, things did not immediately change when I became freelance, as I actually found myself doing way more art for hire type stuff, and consequently became even less motivated to move.

Towards the end of last summer, I began to feel a malaise that would stir me into action in a way that I haven't experienced since my youth. I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with the realities of being a freelance artist, dealing with mostly non-creative yet heavy handed clients. On top of everything else, as the economy started to bomb, I began to lose work from the majority of my customers who were mostly small businesses. As a result, I felt unfulfilled as I had spent so much time and effort accomplishing creative things, but had very little to show for it. I realized that I had been coasting along in life and my goals of being an accomplished artist were nowhere near realized. It was time to make a change.

Which brings us to this piece...

With my new-found determination, and a little motivational help from my partner in crime Ryshu, I set off on a journey to fulfill my destiny as a master of my art. The illustration above originally started off as a drawing in my sketchbook a few years back. I decided I wanted to evolve it somewhat so I scanned it into the computer where I then proceeded to "clean it up". Little did I know that it would morph into what it has become.

The Artist at Play
actually has a double meaning. The first, more obvious one is that it is a reflection of the "creator" piecing together his creation. Although at first glance it may appear that the subject of this piece is the robot, this is not actually the case. In reality the composition is intended to reveal the character of the unseen mad scientist feverishly constructing his work with intense passion. The meticulous organization of the chaotic elements needed to make this assembly are designed in such a way as to expose the personality of the artist. And this is where the double meaning comes into play. In order for me to feel satisfied with a piece, I have to labor over it. By "giving birth" to my work I can feel confident that I've lived up to the artistic standard embedded deep within my subconscious. I also struggle with a dual, yet equally competing artistic nature. On one end I have a playful, abstract sense and on the other I have a perfectionist need for realism. I am in love with both of these styles, and they both demand my equal attention. The Artist at Play is a perfect example of how I indulge both of these qualities and it truly is the only way I can produce work and love it.

This work was recently featured as a "Daily Deviation" over at Deviant Art, which is basically a social networking site for artists. It was a huge hit, and in one day received over 8,000 views. I can't even put into words how gratifying it is as an artist to receive that kind of response. Thanks again to Ryshu for the initial recommendation that got it featured...

So there you have it...that one that started it all. This will of course be the first of many to come. Feel free to check out my other illustrations over at my DeviantArt Gallery




  1. And I am proud to say, I may be considered an owner of this ridiculously amazing piece of work : )

    Love you brother.

  2. Nicely written, eloquent and honest. The back story and explanation of the piece are a welcome accompaniment to such a fine work. And thanks for the shout out. Dig the blog - keep it up.