Monday, January 29, 2018

I've Been Hiding Something

Five, ten, fifteen, sixteen, nineteen, twenty-one year old Andi made a lot of art. From the time I was about five years old, I've been fascinated with drawing. It started when my aunt drew a beautiful woman in a flowing ball gown for me to copy. For years after, I drew fashion on any piece of paper I could find. I drew other things, but those well-dressed women, those glamorous Jems and She-Ras, the poofy dresses, snazzy pant suits, and mini-skirts (this was the 80s) were my niche. 

Fast forward to middle school and the beginning of picking elective courses. My family was all, ART YOU MUST TAKE ART. An elderly woman, lovely as she was, smelling like booze, taught us to whittle soap figurines and erect structures with popsicle sticks. Not really my jam. I wasn't in art the next year. 

Brush pen landscape

So high school came around, and I promise this is going somewhere...

Mrs. Lightfoot, sweet-but-drunk, retired and was replaced by a long-haired, hippy art teacher (Mr. Fuqua, still awesome and my friend), and I was dead set on NOT taking accounting, so I was back in art. We drew with...everything. Graphite pencils, tempera paint, chalk. There were some popsicle sticks in the mix on occasion, but I survived. We did contour drawings and finished paintings. There was instruction! There was indie music playing! Mr. Fuqua even tried to get me to submit to a Chicago Institute of Art competition, which I didn't do, but kinda really wish I had. 

Around this time the Internet was becoming a Thing People Had at Home, and we got our first home PC and a dial-up connection. Suddenly I was discovering the world of online chatrooms and Paint Shop Pro, and I started designing avatars, and teaching myself HTML, and building websites. It was totally addictive. And I was good at it! 

With these new skills under my belt, I decided to go to university to be a graphic designer. At Baylor that meant pursuing a BFA degree in Studio Art which was cross-listed with Graphic Design. Baylor's program was really geared toward the fine art part with graphic design tagged on as an afterthought in the last year or two. Luckily, I really ate up the fine art stuff. I loved drawing and painting and using new-to-me mediums like gouache, ink, and even painting with coffee. I sculpted from plaster of paris, welded small statues. I was doing all kinds of new shit. I was ok at it. I was better when I got serious in my sophomore year and actually focused on my work more than staying on the phone all night. Who knew? 

Trouble the weenie dog in graphite
I ultimately transferred away from Baylor to my alma mater to pursue New Media because it was the only program of its kind around. At the time (2001) that meant web design, Java, and some other super-old-now stuff. I decided I didn't like it. I missed the hands-on that the computer took away from me. I was also bored as fuck and realized I'd be designing corporate logos for the rest of my life (because back then, it was true). I put my art supplies away or gave them away. They got buried under crap in the garage. I was proud of the pieces I'd created, but books and writing took over. Art and books have always been my my things....THE things for me.

Here we are, 17 years later, and I'm arting again. I don't even know what happened. Maybe I can say this is the positive thing that came of the fucking terrible election. When I couldn't read, I could design things on the computer. When I started designing things on the computer I started making stickers. When I still couldn't read, I could cross stitch. Then I figured out it wasn't impossible to design a cross stitch pattern (I keep it REAL simple, mind you). Oh hey, this bullet journal thing looks cool. HAND LETTERING, Y'ALL! And now...graphite pencils, pastels, ink, coffee wash, watercolor, ball point pens, you name it. I'm making stuff out of everything. 

Not an original design. Find the pattern here
I decided to write this post when my mom found a bin of office supplies in her garage yesterday and told me to come get what I wanted. I snagged plenty of ballpoints for a specific style I just discovered on Instagram, and I found some pastel pencils. I won an art contest with a pastel drawing once, so why the hell not try that again? When I pulled up in my driveway after pilfering the art supplies, I noticed two pieces of cardboard on the floor of my car (turns out they were trash from some packaging of my husband's). I sat down between grading assignments this morning with my trash paper and my mostly blue and green pastel pencils and figured an ocean scene was the way to go with the colors I have on hand. I Googled a bit and started roughing out some coral from a reference image because I watched a YouTube video of an artist painting underwater stuff last night before bed. 

Pastel pencil corals on cardboard (work in progress)
Do you see how this goes? 

Arting has always been a lot like reading for me. It's a mental release. It's tedious in its basic actions, but it also allows my mind to run around in a way that so few other things do. I've always been able to sink into a book for hours. In college I would sink into art for hours. I'd throw on some music (in my Discman, obviously), and seven hours later I'd surface from the studio...hungry, bleary-eyed, and feeling like those were the greatest hours.

Now there's more fuel for the fire. The paths for discovery are overwhelming: Instagram, Pinterest, Deviantart, Etsy. MY GOD THE THINGS I'M LEARNING AND MAKING AND WANTING TO MAKE AND MULLING OVER. 

Sensory overload but in the best way. And instead of my Discman, now I have an iPhone and an audiobook for when I'm arting. This is how I art in 2018. :) 


 


24 comments:

  1. Your work is gorgeous; I had no idea that this was something you'd enjoyed in the past and I'm so glad you've found it again! Keep sharing your progress; I love seeing all of it!

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    1. Thank you, Tara! I feel like I'm copying a lot of other artists right now because it's been so long! I'm trying to get a feel for my materials again and figure out what styles suit me. It's fun!

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  2. Ahhh! Your art is awesome :) I wish I could draw (I know its learned but I can barely draw a stick figure and don't have the time and/or patience to learn) I love doing artsy stuff though! :) keep up the good work and art is always best when you love what you are doing!

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  3. Art is a great outlet and you are quite good at it so I'm glad you've headed back down that path! I need to find my thing like that.

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    1. Thanks, Kristen! It's such a nice feeling to find it again and to remember all of the things I learned in high school and college. It's a bit like riding a bike that way.

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  4. The best! I love seeing your art, it is wonderful. I also embroider as my artistic expression, and sew a lot. Love seeing people rediscovering their creative passions.

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    1. Thank you, Melanie! It is great to see people finding their preferred outlets. I do love some cross stitch, too.

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  5. That's awesome! So glad you found something that's stoking your passion right now! I'm not an artist at all (my 1st grader can draw better than I can), but I'm so in awe of people who can!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! It's definitly helping me work through the day to day (boredom, stuff in the world, worries, etc.). It just keeps me feeling energized!

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  6. Hooray! I'm so glad you're arting! I long to art but come from a if-you're-not-gifted-at-it-don't-bother family, so I've never had a chance to art (or music). I picked up knitting on my own and it's an outlet I love, but not precisely creative. I'm trying to instill a sense of art/music in Unabridged Toddler because I know how important it is. So very glad you're arting (and telling us about it!).

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    1. Your knitting is beautiful! I am pretty inept at making things with thread (except cross stitch, ha!), and I'm pretty envious of those who can. My grandmother was an EXCELLENT crocheter. So awesome that you're instilling a love (and no fear!) of music and art in Unabridged Toddler! <3

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  7. Very cool. It's always nice to (re)discover a passion. Congrats.

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    1. Thank you! It definitely feels awesome!

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  8. You are a Renaissance woman! I love your art and think you are very talented!

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    1. LOL, thank you, Les! It's all rushing back to me!

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  9. Loved reading this about you! I totally admire anyone who can draw and I love that you are re-discovering a passion. I used to be very arty/crafty as a kid but sort of went away from things after college. Hmm, I'm seeing a trend here! haha... Luckily since I discovered bookbinding and other artsy adventures I love the feeling I get from being able to spend some time working on my creative pursuits.

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    1. Hahah, college is an art killer! Although, I can't complain too much. I came back to reading in college after a dry spell in high school. Your book binding is SO gorgeous! I'm using one of your notebooks now, actually, that was gifted to me! I'm going to have to hit your shop up for my next sketchbook. The paper is divine.

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  10. Congrats on rediscovering something you love! I think we all need something that makes us feel good right now - I'm so tired of feeling every day like the world is falling apart. For me, art is really stressful, not an outlet at all - I appreciate it but have no desire to create it myself. Writing is more of a release for me.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Between quiet activism, art, and books...they keep me calm and (fairly) reasonable. It takes a lot. Certain types of creative pursuits (crochet!) make me a nervous wreck. My grandmother always found crochet relaxing and cathartic, and it just makes me want to throw things. Cheers to what makes us feel great!

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  11. Your dog picture is too cute! I love it and I love that you're having so much fun creating :)

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  12. This is so great! I'm so glad you shared your art with us and your process and why it means so much to you.

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