Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Weirdness...

... and how awesome it is.

Thomas Edison said, "If we did all the things we are capable of we would literally astound ourselves."

I agree with Thomas Edison.  So many of us are trapped by believing we are less than we are.

Not a good student.
Not a good writer.
Not a good artist.
Not a good parent.
Not a good child.

 We've been labeled 'weird' by society (you all know who you are) for being passionate about something, or good at something, or really not good at something and for some of us, that 'weird' became a badge of shame.  Now I get to work and associate with a group of people for whom 'weird' has become something to be proud of: geeks, nerds, weirdos.  But even amid all the celebration of things that made us weird in elementary school, many of us still suffer from unbelief.  Unbelief in ourselves.  In what we can really accomplish.  What if instead of deciding what we're not, we gave ourselves permission to be what we are, which is nearly anything we could imagine.

In the past few years, I've decided to give myself permission to be weird and proud of it.  I can be a geek, I can be really good at something and I don't have to worry about what people think.  Because people will be drawn to things I create with passion and geekery.  After all, as Simon Pegg says,  "Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and no being afraid to demonstrate that affection.  It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something.  Being a geek is extremely liberating."

Spring semester, Richard assigned us to put together a book of illustration images we found compelling.  It was a good exercise, and while I do it all the time anyway, it made me focus on deconstructing the pieces I find fascinating.  I realized I was drawn to surreal images with strong value and use of line, such as these works by Sterling Hundley:

And the same qualities of value and line, including vivid color and the melding of traditional and digital media, such as in these works by Dave McKean: 

This semester, I realized that I wanted to create images like the ones that fascinate me.  Not to copy these skilled artists (though I could learn a lot by literally copying them) but to take elements of what I love about their work: color, line, value, and the surreal, and use them to create my own original compelling images.  Compelling to ME anyway.

So I love books and stories.  I read a lot.  I write a lot.  And I write all sorts of things: poetry, essays, short fiction, a NOVEL (it's almost done, so close to done, nearly done) and for a long time, these things just "banged around in drawers" as Christian McKay Heidicker would say.  Since I started school, a lot more people have been reading my little stories and responding well to them.  With Will Terry and Thomas Edison as my inspiration, I've decided to put together a collection of my short fiction and make them available as an ebook anthology.

In Richard's class, I'll be making several illustrations to go in the collection.  One illustration for each of at least six stories.  Here's the first one:

I started with this texture, painted with acrylic on brown paper and cardboard...

and this drawing, done in pen and ink.

Then I combined them in Painter 12 and using my skillz, made this:

And in the critique, Richard said (get this): "There's nothing I would change."

Best critique ever.  Last one of that kind I'm likely to get at UVU.  But it was great while it lasted.  And I think it happened because I decided to do what I'm passionate about.  Tyler asked, "So does that mean you get an A?"

I wish.

ps.  If you want to know what this illustration is about, stay tuned and get the book when it comes out!

Let's decide to do the things we're capable of (which, remember, can be nearly anything we can imagine for ourselves), and stop holding ourselves back.


Will Terry said...

Your head is in a good place...stay open minded, help others, and work hard...and enjoy it!

Lee V Call said...


Stewart Craig said...

I like how you and Sterling Hundley are buddies too

Lee V Call said...

Well, FB friends. But he only has 2,000 of those, so it's pretty exclusive. ;)

emily said...

Love it. You're my hero.