Lost character?

Uploaded this from my sketchbook today:

Not sure what to really write about this. Apart from the sketch of Dahlia, it seems to be some recurring images of a stylish but stitch-faced girl, perhaps some aborted attempt at creating a new character. Since relegated to character limbo. Should I flesh her out more? At least create some sort of narrative as to what happened to her face?

This week has been one of slow and steady drawing, painting, and recuperating from the whirlwind of throwing together an art show and performance in one week’s time, then getting swept up in the excitement of meeting Hermann Nitsch. Things have been quieter, apart from my recurring nightmares about the Human Centipede. Which is strange because I haven’t seen the thing, and quite frankly after catching a few coprophagic Otto Muehl films Nick Zedd screened once in the late 90’s, I’ve no inclination to see the thing. However, after mulling it over, I concluded that it’s an apt metaphor for the process of selling out to become more appealing to the masses. More than once someone has suggested to me that I could gain a wider audience (and confuse conventional reviewers less) by:

*making my subject matter less harsh

*cashing in on autobio/childhood nostalgia/failed relationships or whatever the current trend may be

*drawing in a more manga like style

*drawing in a less manga like style

*not being so angry all the time/having a “positive attitude”

*making the girl characters show their boobs more

*you get the idea

Several of these suggestions have been made by people who don’t do art or even particularly know much about comix. Some have been made by people involved in some capacity (art directors, journalists, teachers) who don’t actually involve themselves in the creative process. At least one came from someone who drew, but who’s work I didn’t particularly respect. None of these suggestions has actually come from any of the artists I have known or corresponded with who’s work I actually DO admire. None of these actually involve anything I genuinely want to say or do, creatively. And if I were to do them (and none of those things would neccessarily guarantee success anyway), it would be disingenuous, would it not? And that would hurt my creative process. And if I hurt my creative process, I’d hurt my soul. But I’d be more accommodating to the sort of mutual back-patters and yes-men seekers that are all part of their own little psychic human centipede. Where all you consume, and all you produce, is shit.

"OMG your work really speaks to me!!!"

Ummmm…naaaaaahhhhh, I’m still not gonna Netflix it. But someone recommended The Machinist to Eric today, anyone know if that’s any good?

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3 thoughts on “Lost character?

  1. Thanks a lot, Jenny. I’m glad that my stuff comes across as just honest emotion, because it is. I appreciate your support. And I wish you the best as well as you find an audience for your own honest art. =)

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  2. Haha, great caption to that pic!

    Totally feel ya regarding unwarranted presumptuous advice from people who you don’t really have good reason to listen to. I just want to able to be myself and let my voice through my work impact and get responses from people who I would WANT to respond to it. I don’t want to be insincere and pander to people I have no interest in and their ilk. And I try not be a hypocrite and go around being pushy with my opinions to other artists unless I’m asked. I figure everyone is going to do what they please, as they should, and if I think it sucks, then it’s just not for me.

    Actually, I was wondering if you had any constructive criticism of my work, or advice for me as a young artist. And I’m totally receptive to any honest negative criticism. I live in a small town with a fairly bland art scene, and definately no zine or comix scene whatsoever. My only interraction with people actually part of these scenes is through interaction such as this online and through mail. So I kind of work within a vacuum (and my stuff’s so introspective as is). So there’s not much audience for what I do, and it’s ambiguous how much is people just not “getting it”, or me failing to create something interesting. I just need to get it out there and get responses at this point, y’know? How do you not sell out but still find an audience? How does one maintain dedicated to their own visions without getting stuck in a self-important rut? Anything you feel like offering would be appreciated. You can respond here or send an email if you want.

    Oh, and, not to be a back-patter, but I’m glad you do your own thing, because I dig it! =)

    The Human Centipede is actually just really dumb. Not even all that gross, just… dumb. You’re not missing much by not watching!

    The Machinist is pretty good.

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    • Hey Dan,

      Wow, some of these are tough questions! Personally I felt the introspection in your work was very honest & did not (to me) drift into self-important “woe is me” territory. I dunno, to me there’s a difference between honest emotion and the tendency to make something seem more dramatic and ponderous that it actually is, in an attempt to make the creator seem “deep” or “sensitive”, which can in it’s own way be as disingenuous as the superficial happy stuff. Unfortunately, what started out as a backlash against that kind of work has become a backlash against any kind of genuine emotion it seems. As for “failing to create something interesting”? Well, I don’t know, what people find interesting is always going to vary – right now there seems to be a lot of subject matter in vogue that I don’t personally find interesting, or else marginally interesting at best. I guess ultimately you have to do art about the things that feel authentic and interesting to you, if you try to do something based on what you think other people might be interested in, or according to what the fad is at the moment, it’s just a compromise.
      As for how to find an audience, I’m still figuring that one out all the time!

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