Tuesday, September 28, 2010


"Cynical realism is the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."
-Aldous Huxley

I should start by apologizing for my unannounced absence. Long story short, beginning in mid-may, just after my "Dreamers" show, I fell into a bit of a slump. I was worn out creatively, uninspired, and a bit depressed (as a result of passing the 1-year mark on the unemployment line...). As consequence, I took a little time away from blogging and doing new 'work' while I focused on finding a job and rebooting myself. Thankfully, I'm happy to report that I've jumped that particular hurdle, I'm back to work, and I'm feeling the creative itch all over again.

I've kept myself busy during the off-season by studying up on my craft. Heavily. And doing odd photo jobs to fund some gear and help me practice. I've taken a particular slant towards portraiture lately. I really enjoy taking the time to explore my subjects and discover them in the way that the masters have captured their subjects. I've grown quite fond of Yousuf Karsh lately. I feel like his attention to light and form have a direct correlation to the illustrative style I often aim to achieve in my own work. And also, he seemed to connect to his subjects in that indescribable way that only a master can. His photos weren't just a picture of a person... he captured something within them. That vital spark of the divine that dwells within us all. He saw it, and with his antiquated equipment, captured it on film in the blink of an eye.

I've come to realize that beyond the romanticism of being an artist and a photographer, the real reward of this lifestyle is when you find yourself connecting to an idea or a subject in a way you didn't expect. It's an inner reward that can't really be described in simple words. You KNOW when you've connected with your work and your subject. You have a moment of harmony that you've cultivated in some tangible form to be remembered and shared. Some people call it a 'click'. When you 'click' with your subject... your work... something just 'clicks'.

In the photo I've posted above, this was one of those moments. As soon as I clicked the shutter, I knew I had something special. For others, it's often a more gradual process... the layering of paint on a canvas or the culmination of months of rehearsal for one special performance. We all experience it at some point where the chaos seems to subside just long enough for universal order to take its place.

The factors that influence that kind of serendipity can vary quite a bit, however, and personally I can rarely tell when the pieces are falling in to place until that moment where it all comes together. When it falls apart though, boy does it fall apart. (3 months worth, in my case.) But climbing back on the horse can be just as rewarding when you look back and study what you've learned from the fall that got you there. For me, it was a simple matter of negativity getting the best of me. Self-doubt and inner conflict with your artistic vision can really ruin ones motivation to produce new work.

Thankfully, these are just transitional periods. I made the most of my 'break' by studying not only my technique and my influences, but also researching more esoteric subjects that correlate to my work. I'm keeping a dream journal. I'm forcing dream recall with a B6 vitamin supplement. I'm listening to podcasts at work about spirituality and the paranormal and fantastic. I am in a state of absorbing inspiration from all angles, however it chooses to present itself to me.

As always, I'm thankful to my muse, the lovely Sara (the ballerina in the black tutu above) for being the spiritual mirror I need when things get rough and I feel artistically dry. She tells me what I need to hear whether I know it at the time or not... seems that lady is always right. And in the end, she always leads me down a path towards the goal I was trying to achieve all along. And she puts up with my grumpiness along the way, which she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for. And my family, too... (including Katie, the dancer in the black tights) when the going gets rough, they always bring me up and inspire me and keep me driven. I don't know what I'd do without the little support group I've developed over the years. It's for them that I keep going when I'm feeling down. And when I'm back up again like I am now, it's them I have to thank for getting me there. This back-from-the-ashes entry is dedicated to them. You guys are awesome.

More work soon.
For real :)