Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inner Reflections

Another classic obscurity (Worst of the Year 2005) - one of a select few that are so stupid I'm actually quite proud of them.
It's the whopping 500th post here on Ink & Snow: you'd think I'd commemorate it with something more profound, but that's about how deep it goes sometimes, splashing about the shallow end of the art pool. Suffice it say thanks to the regular readers who have stuck through the weirdness, and welcome to all the new ones. I know there's lotsa folks who follow, it's really meant a lot to cross paths with random people while out and about, and have them mention in passing something that they read here. Or buy me a libation. Or run me off the road. Or both.
More mullings below the fold...

The approach of divulging warts-and-all has been interesting: everything from the single-panel gags and longer pieces to editorials and freelance gigs; teaching insights and observations to the show & tells; intimate confessionals and occasional rants; exposing the creative process with conceptual, behind-the-scenes mutation; my failures and success, and habitual ignoring of both extremes after all the accompanying, oscillating angst. 
Almost two years blogging now, from the very first post (with no pictures even), well over a thousand uploaded images, from the anniversary post to the maybe-sorta-kinda-thinking-about-stopping post, this has been strange trip. Even on the weeks I refer to this experiment as "Stink & Blow". What started out as a "semester in the life of" turned into a "day in the life of" and has now transmogrified into a "life." I've enjoyed the heck out of unearthing archive material and sharing events as they continually evolve out of control - never a dull moment.
The peripheral perception of viewers is a trip: not quite a palatable influence, as years of experience continually putting material out in galleries and publications inures you to some degree, or at least habituates you to face-to-face criticism. But the ice-fog is pushed away a little bit more, and the personal comfort-zone expands into "filling in the blanks" which a viewer can poke around in or ignore as they each see fit. Voluntarily removing the buffer of relative anonymity can be intimidating, but again, after being out in the public eye/in the media for long enough now it's safe to assume there aren't any surprises left. Also I think after watching many artists who are open enough to create works out in public, say at a presentation or in the classroom, generally are equally comfortable extending it into the virtual world, like some Great & Terrible Oz of Art.
There's been a few moments of chagrin (never shame or regret) realizing that Ink & Snow occasionally isn't age-appropriate or safe for classroom purposes, and at times could very well offend a certain demographic. What's tricky is the balancing act between accountability and the inherent, irreverent irresponsibility that in part motivates many artists... cartoonists especially. Being aware that current and prospective students, employers and far-away, long-lost friends & family peruse these pages hasn't influenced the overall schizophrenic posting of material. I know taking a stand on particularly divisive issues will have the "Dixie Chick" effect, and no doubt costs you, but ultimately not as much as keeping your mouth shut or pen capped. As I've belabored here many a time, using whatever skill one has to speak out and speak up about things is crucial for any engaged citizen.

If there's one fault with this blog that is reflected in my own artwork, its the scattershot free-for-all lack of focus: rock-skipping around subject matters until something piques my interest. Some of my favorite blogs to frequent are the ones marked by dependable, consistent content. On the other hand, it's edifying to know that I could go off in any direction at any given moment, and having dipped my toe in, know a bit better what to expect after total immersion (cannonball!) into a topic. Paradoxically it's also helped me focus on facets that I would normally not even pay attention to. Some examples would be reviewing shows as a poseur blogger-critic, documenting miscellaneous art events, and exposés of acquaintances in this diverse and endlessly fascinating creative community. The opportunity to examine, reflect upon and in turn divulge aspects of my own art and even that of other artists has been educational and frustrating at times - more to do with writing (and drawing) how I think, which I guess you're technically not supposed to do. 
Anyways, on with the wharrgarbl... and my thanks again.

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