Today was the first sketchbook group meeting, We made two rules: no criticism, however constructive, will be given unsolicited, and most importantly just be creative and be yourself. I think the no-criticism rule should be extended to apply to our own inner critics.
This got me thinking about art, and talent, and creativity, and the universe, and stars, and rainbows, and cupcakes, and how I really need to start the mac-&-cheese going or I’m gonna be grumpy in an hour.
Ultimately, there are only two types of art for me: the stuff I do for a grade, and the stuff I do for me.
things I can draw for a grade:
- a GIF of a frisbee wallowing in its own India ink.
- apparently this faceless self-portrait I assembled in thirty minutes but got picked for the student art show all the same. It doesn’t have a face because “it reflects my self-perceived lack of uniqueness and loss of identity in the art world” but mostly because I hate drawing faces. Any lack of skill can be justified with an eloquent thematic excuse.
- studies with Color-Aid collage paper cut and pasted (in the real world!) into a sketchbook that will make its way into the trash in a month or two.
Kind of esoteric, right? And I only have B’s in the classes I’ve taken so far for my visual arts minor–again, I don’t have a chance against the actual art majors who live and breathe the cookies-n-cream fragrance of Gesso. But while I tend to express myself through writing (my preferred form of creativity), I still tend to learn visually, through art. So to combat the negative feelings I got from my B’s, I started trying to find “the art” in the things I already liked to do.
things I draw for me:
- flat people with rocks for hands and shoes and expressive angles for eyebrows.
- self-portrait as seen in the Adventure Time princess maker!
- Hello Kitty stamps bordering college-ruled snail mail to friends.
- virtual paper snowflakes? for whenever my finger muscles are too weak to cut through the really heavy paper with a bad pair of kiddie scissors.
- Instagram-filtered photos. There IS a science and possibly an art to knowing which filters bring out the best in your photo, whether or not to use high contrast or hard focus, and when it’s just best to publish as-is.
- the way I arrange the Ikea hexagon mirrors on the bedroom wall.
- well-timed screenshots of Steam games.
- color scheme on a website or for a logo.
- funky block lettering in pen.
- cosplay assembly.
I would never want these things on display in a museum, much less my professional portfolio, but they’re far more beautiful and useful to me than that silly self-portrait from the exhibit buried in my closet. My friends don’t think I’m Van Gogh, but I know they laugh and smile at the way I try to do comic strips about them. My little sisters squee over letters covered in funny stickers. The Ikea mirrors are the most efficiently placed in my apartment for doing a quick make-up check before I head out.
I’m proud to be a visual arts minor if it means I get to enjoy these little “minor” pleasures of art in life, while continuing to explore the form of creativity that lets me be myself the best, without judgement.