Sunday, March 31, 2013

A 3 minute break from life...

I won't do this much, but this video is breathtaking and inspiring as heck.
If you had a pretty cruddy weekend like me, this will hopefully cheer you up like me.

1280 HD, because it's gorgeous. :)
Have a happy Monday! xoxo

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A personal thought on love

As a kid in primary school I remember being taught that love/friendship has no race, religion, age, or gender.
That you can love anyone for being a good person. That you should never bully someone for being different than you.
That before you tell someone how to do something, you should consider it from their position first.

I feel that adults forget these rules. Opinion and politics and other adult things get in the way of things we were taught as a child. The world doesn't have to be difficult. We make it difficult. We let our opinions and voices get in the way, when understanding and listening is all that is needed.

I support love for all people, of all steps of life.
Adult bias be damned. Let people live and be happy. ♥

(^ A piece of mine from 2007 ^)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Artists: A Guide

I have been giving several talks over the last few weeks to high school and college kids, on the varied topics of animation, art curricula, career, passion. These are usually awesome and fun and easy to do- I really just get to show some of my digital art and animations and explain process and intent. I try to impress on them that, no matter what dream they decide to chase, they actively chase that dream, rather than wait for it to find them.

I recently gave an Honors Thesis presentation to the Freshman & Sophmore Honors Students to show them what kind of projects they can do for their Capstone Thesis.
This was the first slide of that hilarious and fun presentation:

This week there was an Honors Student Artist Symposium, where four Honors Art students presented their art and explained their process and inspiration. I presented a series of WIP step-by-step pictures as well as the following slides, which I hoped would help non-artist students understand how we work.

High School Trials
One of the biggest hurdles for me to overcome in High School was finding time and a friendly environment to draw in school. It varied widely, on a teacher-by-teacher basis. Each semester was a tenuous testing-of-the-waters with my teachers, to see which ones did not want me drawing during their class, which ones would tolerate it, and which ones actively encouraged me.

The teachers that were downright unfriendly about my drawing in their class were under the impression that drawing distracted me from their class, from concentrating on their lecture. I can safely assure you, at least for most artists, that drawing helps us focus and concentrate. This is especially true if a teacher is  not as effective at speaking to their class, and I am inclined to nod off. Drawing helps me focus and concentrate. This has remained true in college (the difference being, professors don't mind you drawing here, ever).

So if there are any teachers/professors reading this, understand that artists operate on a slightly different system. Please don't yell at us and forbid us from drawing. This is maybe the meanest thing you can do. It is suffocating to us. If we are trying to draw, all we want to do is focus. Drawing whilst you lecture means that when we look back on the drawings, we remember what you were saying as we drew each thing.

I would like to think that artists have their own set of rules for learning- just like teachers make concessions for people with learning difficulties. (wow that sounds funny to read) I think there needs to be an understanding and a more embracing acceptance.... that artists work on a different set of rules, to a degree. We do not 'scribble' to escape, we draw to reconnect. As always, I cannot talk for everyone but only for myself and other artists that have agreed/related to my feelings on the subject.

Art to Live, Art to Survive
So whilst many artists have a dream of living a life of Bohemian freedom with no schedule and no deadlines, etc., many discover this is not synonymous to having money or being able to survive or pay rent. Most have to either take on tutoring, teaching, commission work, or a line of work totally unrelated to their passion. I consider myself lucky that my interest in art is applicable to a larger industry, I really do. I also do not mind deadlines and working in a workplace, so hurrah for that :)

But it is interesting to note that no matter what workplace you are in- be it a big movie studio like Disney or Pixar, a small independent workshop, in a coffee shop... when you talk to artists, there is always a struggle for balance. A struggle for doing work to live, and doing art for personal fulfillment and enjoyment. Even artists and technicians that work in film and game studios crave personal creative time. When you think about it, they spend their days making amazing work that is essentially creating another person's vision. Whilst this is exciting and fulfilling in it's own right, there is still the nagging craving to express your own voice, your own vision.

So I think the struggle to create to survive vs. live is a struggle between responsibility to society, and responsibility to yourself. Perhaps it is an eternal struggle, and perhaps it is not a struggle confined to artists.

Emotional Sincerity
Some artists fall into a pitfall of craving to be popular or edgy, without a deeper personal drive or desire to create the art. This approach to creating renders the art in question transient and temporary, soon passing like autumn leaves. (Although my reaction to purposefully edgy or forced art also hinges on the attitude and personality of the artist in question...)

Man, that sounds judgey. Ok. Here's another way to look at it. If you are an artist that lives on the cusp of the wave of popularity and the now, realise that it is a tireless endeavour- taste and meme never stops evolving and changing. But. If you create art you do not care about. Have no emotional investment in. Why should we, the viewer?

Artistic Drive
If you have a passion, you know this feeling. You know the feeling of bursting with a need to create something. ANYTHING. You just have feels and you have to make use of them. No matter what medium or end product. You have to get to making something. Sometimes you have an idea, a direction, a plan. Sometimes it is just a blind need to create. And this ties back to my time in High School. There is nothing worse- more frustrating- than having a burning desire to draw, get an idea out... and your professor has forbade you to let you get those feels out and on paper. 
Oh it is a most frustrating and suffocating feeling.

Opinions weigh heavily
So this is another point I can only talk about from my own perspective and those I've talked to who've agreed. But advice, warning, opinions, they all affect us, even if we put up a strong front. Artists, for the most part, experience the world with their emotions close to the surface, their heart on their sleeve. This doesn't mean I'm an emotional wreck- we still have emotional control- it's just that everything we encounter, good and bad, does not really have a buffer. It's raw, bam, hits us, then we go about figuring out how to digest it. Good and bad, the feels are very strong. 
Now if it's good things, I'm usually beaming all day :D Cloud nine. Bad things? ART TIME. I'll explain this reasoning (or lack of reasoning) later.

But know, if you're a parent, teacher, or authority figure to a young artist, that your words REALLY matter. If you keep knocking them down and discouraging them from pursuing art, you really are getting to them. You are possibly ruining their drive to chase their dream and passion altogether. REMEMBER THIS. Act accordingly. I truly mean this :(
It does get to us. We do care what you think.

What is the point or worth of art?

If I need to justify/defend this question then you should not be reading this blog.

That being said, some people do not help themselves, and live in dreamland where they trust they can find a job out of college that involves an obscure or very specific art field that may or may not be in much demand.
College serves NO favours in that repsect. It does not give a hint of how the real world will recieve you and your talents and skillset. So the owness is upon YOU to research and go to conventions and workplaces and apply for internships. To discover for yourself if you are ready for the workforce, if you are at a competitive level. Sadly most colleges will not prepare you for that huge gap.

Ok, kind of a weird statement on it's own- it's related to this next slide.

I think this is the most rewarding thing of being an artist. The ability to take the strongest, worst, saddest, most taxing feelings... and recycle it into strong art. That is the most rewarding and healing aspect of being an artist. Most of the art I've featured here was drawn when I was feeling some pretty strong sadness, anger, loss, confusion, dismay. This is how I control and temper my emotions. 

I draw them- I passively take them, work through it and meditate through drawing them out. I know it sounds a little odd and bleh, but it's the truth. When I feel bad feels, intensely, I wait until they stop swirling chaotically- I wait for them to form a good strong idea. Then I draw it. All that emotion and feeling lends itself to giving you conviction and drive. To create some very awesome art.

By the end of the art, you've worked through some or all of that negativity. It's tired out, it's thought through. And look what you've done! You've turned the worst of feels into some kickass art. That is a pretty cool trade off if you ask me :) 

Now, art does not always stem from having a crappy day or a tragedy. It can be tripped by almost anything. 
A person. A song. A place.  A memory. 
As much as you need to create and express and put back into the world, you need to realise that this is a cyclical process. Without input, reflection, observation... your art becomes samey. Uninspired. There usually needs to be a give and take to this process. Some call it procrastination, I call it research ;) 
It all counts. Even if it isn't apparent at the time.

Don't become hung up or obsessive on self-reflection, pride or style. As suffocating as self-doubt can be to an artist's work, self-pride can be equally detrimental. This is most noticeable in people whose parents coddled their Golden Child.

As awesome and virtuous as your talents are, realise in the end that you are not the singly talented special snowflake your mum wants you to think you are :) There are thousands of very talented individuals out there. They are just as awesome as you, if not more so. Be competitive, but don't treat everything as a competition. Taking yourself seriously to the nth degree only sets you up to have your pride hurt over and over.

Trust yourself. Be humble. Be sincere. You're an awesome person,  just be the best you can be. 
Oh and don't write preachy blog posts like I do :P ha ha.

Love, Hannah.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dreams > General Opinion

Remember when people do not approve of your dream. When they cast doubts. Tell you it's not possible, you will fail, never achieve your lofty aspirations... remember the flipside.
If you give up, the only person it affects is you. You in twenty, forty years, maybe regretful or sad you never stuck to your guns. Sad you let go of something you were truly passionate about.

Remember that those who run you down, make you feel foolish, make you feel you're not going to make it... wether you steel yourself and chase it, or follow their advice and give up... the only person it affects. Good or bad. Is you. They will live on as they wish, regardless of you too.

So live for you. You are here for a reason. You have time to figure out what that is. And don't let others try to push you off your course. You have a voice and a reason, and the world is better for you being here. Live that everyday, and never let anyone make you feel small or unimportant. Never make their jeers come true.

Live everyday to make the world better. And you will.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kindan-No, a progress of pictures.

Tada!!! Finished! Took a few weeks, on and off. About 20-25 hours work I think?

A tiger, of course! Done in ballpoint pen while I was waiting for my painting to dry...