Creative Constipation

I’ve been a very creative person since birth. When people say that being an artist is a gift, well it’s true. You can learn techniques and processes but if you aren’t born with ‘the eye’ it makes things more difficult to grasp and excel. I was drawing perfect circles/straight lines by hand at a very young age and I’ve always had an ability to tell when things are ‘off’ visually.

I’ve basically been drawing in some sort of fashion since I was like two years old. I was voracious (college word) artist. I would draw on anything I could find. I actually have white paper plates that my Grandmother saved from when I was six or seven I think. She didn’t have any paper for me so she threw me some paper plates. I drew Dyno-mutt, Flintstones, Scooby, etc. Whatever was on the Saturday morning cartoons.

As I grew so did my imagination. I found myself drawn (no pun) to pencils and pens as my medium of choice mainly because they were very cheap and very abundant in my environments. Notebook paper was my canvas. I was fortunate enough to grow up during the first Star Wars craze. All those monsters and creatures! Talk about sparking the imagination. Although art was great it did get me in trouble several times in school.

All this continued through school. I took all the art classes I could in junior high and high school (what few there were). I also had some musical chops from my mother’s end of the gene pool and had been involved in school plays and choirs all through my school career. With the lack of graphic arts outlets music was another great outlet for my ever-crowded brain.

My creativity had to take a break for about four years while I went through my Army tour. But even there once my commander found out I was an artist I was tasked with creating unit patches and squad caricatures. Not quite what I expected to be doing in the US Army for sure. But it did make me realize that I was definitely NOT an Army Lifer and I needed to get out and get back to school and do something with the gift(s) I had been given.

So back to school I went. Going through community college was probably the most fun time in my life up to that point. I was immersed in two of my favorite things… art and people. I had so many friends which fed my extrovert nature and the energy I drew from them helped me get through all those Art History and color theory classes. I actually took three 5000 word art humanities classes at the same time (so stupid of me LOL) and had art classes which required a lot of actual artwork. Needless to say I thrived and it didn’t really seem that difficult. I can only attribute this to the fact I was born with ‘the eye’ and that allowed me to grasp concepts quickly.

So during this very creative period I met this beautiful little blonde. I began my pursuit of course… and was rejected of course. But I was undaunted. We had settled into a comfortable friendship and all was well. Then I decided to give her something very special for Christmas that year. I spent all my spare time trying to get my gift done. I think the actual total time was like 63 hours of work. It was a carousel. But not just a drawing of one, that would be too easy and was not impressive. LOL I made it 3-D. Each horse was made up of several pieces which made them appear three-dimensional. Those were then laid on top of the main plat form of the carousel, etc. It was quite the undertaking. I even had it professionally framed. The gift was presented to my friend as it was one of her favorite things… carousels.

Long story short, that gift was the ice-breaker and she and I started dating soon after that. The friend was of course my wonderful wife Rebecca. She’s told me before that that gift was what made her heart change towards me. The following year I made a followup but is was a single horse and it was extremely detailed. We still have the pieces and they are hanging in our youngest daughter’s bedroom. She likes them a lot. LOL

So now starts the dry-spell, a lot of things happened over the next several years and if I had to pick out a single word to describe the cause of my creative dehydration it would have to be ‘RESPONSIBILITY’. I don’t think there is one thing that is more detrimental to an artist than things that take the focus of the craft. I had become a husband, then a father, then a father again, and again. Priorities shift and slide and suddenly years have passed and you look and notice that, other than some creative bedroom wall painting, you haven’t produced anything truly physically creative.

So this brings me to where I am today. In my forties, the kids aren’t babies anymore, have a career that allows for creative thinking, a supportive wifey, and no excuses left. The beginning of my mid-life has one giant nagging symptom… Creative Constipation. I suppose it could be worse. I mean I’m not chasing twenty-something co-eds at the local sports-bar, or buying a Harley and going all scruffy and leather biker-ish.But for someone like me not having a creative outlet can be just as destructive.

The last few months I have all these ideas in my head but because of the years of artistic atrophy I’m finding that my creative muscles are weak. All the musical instruments I dabbled in as a child, but never mastered mock me now. I miss the idea of just going into the garage and throwing paint on a canvas. I guess I miss the freedom it always provided. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy and I would never change anything in my life, but there’s this voice in my head (no not the one telling me to eat the dog) that just keeps spewing ideas into my brain.

I’ve recently written a song (lyrics and melody) but sadly have no instrument to play it on. It’s like that in my head. All the ideas of WHAT to do and HOW to do it but no mechanism to get it all done. It’s extremely frustrating for someone like me. I have all these great art ideas but no real studio to bring them out of my brain and into reality. The only word I can use to describe is constipated. I’m backed up and sadly it’s becoming a bit painful. I resort to just tuning out so my brain doesn’t have to think.

I think I’m going to clean out the garage. I mean really clean it out. I want to make my half a place where I can encourage my kids to express themselves. My oldest daughter, Sierra, is extremely talented and obviously inherited my gifts. An example, when she draws an eye she gets every part, even the light highlights that most people don’t even see. It’s pretty amazing to see. I want to encourage her art. She’s a high-strung child and I think it would really help her to express herself. Of course the other kids are welcome to come play as well. There’s a reason creative people like lofts and big, open studios.

I guess the bottom line is I need to find a way to get all this stuff out. I mean I sing at church, but honestly once a month isn’t enough for me. This was one of the reasons I stopped singing back in my late teens. I couldn’t perform enough and I got frustrated and decided better to just stop and focus on art rather than get disappointed that I couldn’t sing as much as my brain wanted. It wasn’t an ego thing at all, but again that voice in my head saying “SING SING SING!”

I think I’ve lost focus on this post LOL. This is an example of the build up and me having to get it out in some fashion just so I can function.

I’ll let you all know if I find a cure… I wonder if there is anything like Creative Fiber?

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Sign o’ the End Times?

Becky made an eerie point last night. She saw the Obama/Biden campaign flair and noticed:

Obama Biden <———–> Osama Bin Laden

very weird.

Getting Older

I find it sad that I feel better after consuming a vitamin, two fiber-con and a Mountain Dew.

I Get To Keep My MAN Card!

I finally went and saw The Dark Knight today! I know it’s been out for nearly a month but with three kids and work schedules it’s been a daunting task to find three free hours to get to the theater. Anyway for those who have seen it and for those who haven’t I have to say it was truly impressive. Probably one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time.

With all the superhero movies lately this one was refreshingly not over-the-top. While it had it’s gadgets and explosions they were not gratuitous and helped to develop the plot rather than being the focus. Mainly I was enthralled with Heath Ledger’s Joker. I’ve read Batman comics since I was 6-7 years old and the Joker has always been my favorite villain. I have to say that out of the three actors to play Joker, Heath has raised the bar to the point that I doubt anyone will be able to play the role again. Ceasar Romero had the laugh and look and the criminal edge (for the 60’s). Jack Nicholson brought the sinister to the role. But Heath, in my humble opinion, has actually brought the Joker in the comics to life.

The laugh, the psychosis, the genius, the knife-play, the storytelling, the sense of humor, the philosophy of good and evil… it was SO good. I can see the month he spent locked in a room becoming the Joker was well worth it. Sadly it also probably was the role that took his life. While the Joker is a comic villain, the level to which Heath took the character as an actor would take a toll on anyone. I love that they left Joker alive though. The hard part will be finding someone to play the character to the level Heath did. Big shoes to fill.

As for the rest of the movie… just as amazing. Harvey Dent’s face was incredible. Again true to the comic. They really cleared the slate for the next movie for certain. I wish I didn;t have to wait another 3 years for the next chapter.

On the happier side i saw the trailers for Watchmen and The Spirit… I can’t wait.

Until next time movie fans… let all go to the lobby… to get ourselves a treat.

Miley Update: Parents Weren’t There

Well it appears that Vanity Fair and Leibovitz have been caught in a bold-face lie. Their original claim was that Miley’s parents were present and even saw the photos after they were taken on the set. It seems that is untrue. Apparently Billy Ray and her mom slipped away from the shoot leaving Miley’s grandmother and teacher to supervise her for the rest of the shots. Apparently this is when Leibovitz approached them on the ‘artsy’ photo subject and manipulated them into letting it happen under the guise of ‘art’.

Of course Billy Ray has fired back saying he never approved the pictures nor would he have let them happen had he been there. Apparently he is mortified that his daughter was photographed this way. There is an article about what apparently really happened.

So where does this leave the situation? We’ll have to see. But apparently Disney has ordered Miley to lay-low for 4-6 months while this sorts itself out. So don’t expect to see here anywhere for a while.

My opinion: If indeed Miley’s parents were not there and all this happened as several news sources are now saying, someone needs to be made an example of. Vanity Fair, Leibovitz, whomever. The line needs to be redrawn so society relearns that the sexualization of young girls is immoral. Photos of minors like this are highly inappropriate if not illegal and hiding behind ‘art’ isn’t going to cut it anymore. Quite honestly anyone who was involved in the manipulation of this girl and her guardians into allowing these photos should be held accountable by authorities. Vanity Fair should also be held accountable. While not responsible for taking the photos they had the moral and legal obligation to NOT print them. They chose the low road to sell a few magazines and bank off of Miley’s popularity. Bravo. Such a high culture magazine.

Miley Cyrus: Vanity Fair or Vanity Foul

Art or ExploitationUnless you are living under a rock you’ve heard of the latest Miley Cyrus broo-haha. She posed recently for Vanity Fair magazine with her Dad (Billy Ray Cyrus). The very famous Annie Leibovitz was the photographer.

Leibovitz is renowned for her celebrity photos for Vanity Fair. Demi Moore’s famous pregnant nude comes to mind. If you browse around the blogs and news feeds and read some of the comments from other readers you can see the very wide divide between those that see the photo for what it is and those who are so desensitized by modern culture they lost their clue. Half are shocked and concerned and the rest see it as tame and no big deal. Here’s my opinion on the subject.

First and foremost Miley is 15 years old. In the eyes of the law she is a minor. Now granted there is no overt nudity in the photo, praise God, but still it is a provocative pose which paints her in a very adult light. In my opinion it objectifies and sexualizes her in a very inappropriate manner for someone who can’t even drive a car by herself.

Now I have to say as an artist having taken nearly every art history class possible in college, this is indeed a very classic pose for artists and photographers. However, it is not an appropriate pose for a child of any age. It is meant to be a demure and vulnerable pose. There is a subliminal sexuality to it. It actually has a very adult theme behind it if you do your research.

The biggest problem I have is not really with the photo itself but more with the damage it does to the subject in the photo. Miley is a very vocal Christian. She has on numerous occasions on national television professed her faith and belief in Christ. She claims she wants to be a role model to young girls. She wants to be an example to other young Hollyweird starlets. She’s had recent problems with Internet photos of her being leaked and then comes this photo. Honestly it damages her credibility in a major way. Not only her credibility as a role model but her witness for Christ suffers as well.

Now we’ve all been teenagers and we’ve all done really stupid things we regret. Even as a Christian teen I myself did some REALLY stupid things. But i was never in the public eye and never claimed to be a role model. This is one problem I have with this particular move in her career.

The other problem I have is that with all the adults involved in this photo shoot (including Miley’s parents) no one appears to have stopped and said, “Whoa is this appropriate?”. Apparently not. This just bothers me because our society seems to have become desensitized to the objectification of young girls.

Pop culture has so distorted the perception of what a teenage girl should look and act like that it seems the tween years are completely skipped even though it is a major demographic. Seems girls are escalated from Webkins and Barbies to clubbing and being sexy literally overnight, skipping the awkward tween years where most girls feel awkward about their self-image as it is. They are relentlessly pounded with shopping, fashion, accessories, boys, teen idols, music, etc. Actually it starts even earlier than early teens. The new children’s book where a four-year-old is having her mother’s plastic surgery explained to her is a symptom of this objectification of girls. Being cool is being pretty. Being happy is being pretty. Being popular is being pretty. It’s truly disturbing.

With all that being said, Miley has issued a public apology not only for this photo but last week’s batch of uh-oh pictures. Chalking it up to “bad choices”. I can understand this and I hope it is sincere. We’ll have to wait and see. I like Disney’s press release calling the photo an exploitation of a 15 year old girl to sell magazines. I have to agree with that. While it was still Miley’s choice ultimately, when you are surrounded by adults of Leibovitz’s reputation and critical fame it can be difficult to discern things clearly. Vanity Fair said that Miley and her parents saw the photo right after is was taken and thought it was nice. Of course I doubt they saw the final product and the article to go with it right there on the set. Having done Photoshop retouching and art techniques to photos, I can guarantee that what Miley and her parents saw is not the photo going to print in Vanity Fair.

Of course I’m the parent of two small girls so I may be a tad hyper-sensitive about this. For some reason this whole thing just really bothers me. Maybe it’s because my daughters adore Miley. Maybe it’s because there are no true good role models for girls these days and the single decent one seems to be on the edge of slipping into the mouth of the Hollywood chipper/shredder. Bottom line… it was a bad choice on Miley’s part and her parents for not seeing it for what it was. With everything she claims and professes she truly needs to conduct herself accordingly. Triple-thinking every decision would be a start. Now that she is about to be a billion dollar baby the paprazzi are going to hunt her like sharks with fresh blood in the water. Yes she’s a teenager but she’s no longer a typical teenager and teenage antics will only play with her fans for so long.

I truly hope that this is the end of her ‘oops’ moments. The world is full of skanks, tramps and drug addicts. We don’t need another failure for our kids.

But then again… maybe it’s just me?

Why is it? #1: Watch Photography

Why is it the vast majority of watches photographed have the hands positioned somewhere between 10:08 and 10:10? There are some deviations from this form but it is pretty rare. If you do a Google image search for watches and look through the results you will see what I mean. Nearly every picture the hands are at 10:08, 10:09 or 10:10. Chronographs, standard date window, Mickey Mouse, Swatch, whatever. The hands are at the same position usually. Is there some secret meaning behind it? is that when some cosmic event happened? Did the Earth begin at 10:08? No that can’t be. The Earth was formed at 11:11 (but that is another post).