Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What’s My Job Again…?

Yep. Making an honest living still has its claws in me. But only for 2.5 weeks. Then I go to making like half an honest living. Here’s hoping that working a mere 25 hours per week instead of 50 will allow me to be my cheery self.

So, I stand around, I think way too much about way too many projects. I invent every conceivable way to make said projects happen. I troubleshoot potential problems. I think through every permutation, always trying to find a new way to bring something cool to the project. Then I come home and sleep. And repeat. It’s not nearly as productive, this thinking about things rather than doing them.

Just to give myself a break, I start thinking about really strange things, like how to build an amp into a guitar case, so I wouldn’t have to carry both or how to build a guitar with a guitar neck, a twelve string guitar neck and a bass guitar neck all on one guitar body… and how to wire it so I can just flick a switch and jump from instrument to instrument. Which is crazy since I can only play one at a time and I have no reason to think I’d need to switch from one to another at the drop of the hat. But I figured out how to make it happen.

But really, mostly my mind is lost in twirling circles of crazy nonsense. I fear that growing up and settling down is not something I should do. I would, quite simply, lose my mind. The stories in my head are far more interesting than the dramas taking place, or rather not taking place, before my eyes. I’m not saying that escapism is good, but I’m also not saying it’s bad. For me, it’s a functional state.

I have 2.5 weeks to daydream before I can regain my equilibrium and get back to work. These days, I keep thinking that it might be time to go back to the ink. I know, I know, you’ve heard that before. Or you’ve heard me go on and on about: painting, photography, etc. All of which is completely true. But looking at everything I’ve done in the last five years, the simple truth is that the only two things which have allowed me to complete complex projects are ink and words. And just writing feels like I’m doing things with one arm tied behind my back, mostly because people like pretty pictures. I can do pretty pictures. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

The bright side is that something will definitely happen. I have far too many ideas. I have far too much material. I just need the time. And then I can go back to being a Corsair pilot again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Executive Thinking…

Or something like it.

So there’s a lot of studies and psycho-babble about how top CEO’s, the makers and shakers of the business world, don’t spend a great deal of time dithering about what to do. I think the average numbers work out to something like the normal, big decision a CEO needs to make takes about an hour. They take whatever useful information they have available, they process it, they decide and they move on. If things work out well, wonderful, more money for rich people. If things do not go well, they gather new information, process it, decide and move on. There’s not a lot of time spent wondering ‘what if?’.

Now, most of the artists I know, do not have that executive thinking skill. We tend to study the minutia of every possible outcome of every possible decision before, finally, acting… only to realize that the world is always ready to deliver something we could never have expected. This could be why a lot of artists are bad business people… and vice versa.

At any rate, I’m tired of dithering. That doesn’t mean I’ve sorted out what I need to do and how to go about doing it. It just means that boredom/exhaustion will force a decision on a great many things. It sure ain't executive decision making at its best, but the result is the same, things move on. Perhaps at some point in the future, I will need to re-evaluate. And then I’ll be more executive in my thinking. For now, with this summer of endless work and precious little production, to spend even one more day pondering a wonky future that is hardly likely to occur is just mind-numbingly dull.

All of that said, I continue to paint and build up a pile of work. But there are ideas, perhaps ideas with merit, which are slowly rising the surface of my conscious mind. I just need to pack my brain with a mess of facts and anecdotes until I hit the tipping point and things pour out as finished images.

So, we’ll see. Three more weeks of crazy before I can even begin to hammer into anything. Wake me up when the middle of August arrives. Then hose me off and set me loose at my desk. I promise to make beautiful things.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Eye of the Storm…

I finally have time for a decent post. Of course, that means trying to compress six weeks of near constant thinking and speculation into a few humble paragraphs. I’ll give it a shot, but if I jump around a bit, at least you’ll understand why.

As I mentioned previously, my current work schedule has allowed me to put my reduced production method to the test. Long gone are the days of twelve or fifteen hours spent hunched over my desk, inking away with reckless abandon. I’m kind of sad to see them go, but I’m far more excited about my painting, so my happiness outweighs any silly nostalgia. And it seems that I’m not that guy anymore. Even if I had an entire day to do nothing but hide myself in the studio and work like a crazy person, I wouldn’t do it. Part of that has to do with the fact that it isn’t necessary, but there’s also a feeling that a little balance between creating art and taking in the world is a good thing. I’m sure had things worked out differently, I would still be on board with complete servitude to all things art, but as they did not, I need a more varied reward system.

So, I work fast and get on with this thing called life.

However, there was a hiccup I hadn’t expected. My goal with the new thinking was to kick ass for say a single hour and then go on my merry way. That way I could feel productive, actually be productive and then do stuff that normal people do like make a decent living and make small talk (both of which are kind of overrated but whatever). The last few weeks have been perfect for this little experiment. But then came the hiccup. There were a few days, very few, when I found myself with more than an hour set aside for my creative nonsense. Since I was in the mode of doing my power hour, I would hammer away at things and after 60-ish minutes and having completed whatever it was I was doing… I found myself starting new work.

Obviously, that’s not the point of the power hour. You’re supposed to work like a fiend, leave nothing in the tank and move on with the day, thoroughly fulfilled by what you’ve accomplished. And there I was, done with my day and yet still working. It was a vaguely irritating feeling. The sort of thing that could undermine my “speed is everything” mantra. And so I began to think about what the hell was going on. It took me far longer than it should have to realize the reason I was still sitting around painting was because I was enjoying it. Which meant I didn’t really want to stop even though I’d already completed whatever it was I needed to for that day.

Ridiculous, right?

After a decade of banging my head against the wall around publishing success, after five years of near constant exploration of various media, my level of enjoyment in the process itself was greatly diminished. Regardless of whether I wanted to or not, the goal changed from making something cool to making something marketable. It was a slow, almost imperceptible, change but one that seeped deep into my bones. Over the last few years, I’ve been working hard to get all that commercialist poison out of my system. When I realized that I was sitting there painting just because I wanted to sit there and paint, I understood that I might just have cured myself.

Where will this new feeling of elation lead me? I have no idea. Like seriously, not a clue. But somewhere.

So, with that in mind and with a new devotion to acrylic paints (who would have imagined that?) I’m preparing for a few months of very serious painting. Besides continuing my web comic, which is painted, and getting back to my daily paintings for Twitter, et al., I’m going to see if I can go about creating a way to use color that doesn’t just bore me to tears, as pretty much all color theory does. It may not be a success, few experiments are, but it’s worth effort.

We’ll see what this week holds for me, then it’s back to crazy hours until the middle of August, at which point life should become less stressful. But if I can maintain my power hour and bring my A Game for the next few weeks, then nothing can stop me from doing whatever I want. Which means some pretty cool ideas can become reality rather than just rattle around in my brain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


What with the holiday, you haven't missed much. Or have you? OooOOOoooOoo!