Hello Sam, How well do you like tumblr compared to other blog sites? I have been mainly using tumblr as a resource of inspiration and some of my own work, but I have a blogspot that I mainly showcases just my work. I feel like I have been pulled between two worlds. Blogspot doesn't seem to have the same publicity as Tumblr... and tumblr feels like it is no better than deviantart as a popularity contest. Which do you recommend for a focus? Should I make another portfolio/blog with just my work?
Every platform has strengths and weaknesses, but tumblr is 2 things that make it (in my opinion) the best site for artwork as a whole: 1: It’s image-centric. While it does video, text, and audio, the easiest thing to see and post are images (well, and gifs but I still have no idea how to make those which is both embarrassing and makes me feel very old) and 2: It’s extremely interconnected in how things are shared from the basic reblogging, liking, and following, to deeper connections through tags, fandoms, art submission and curation tumblrs like eatsleepdraw or supersonic, it’s not exclusive to just art like deviant art (so there’s more people to expose it to), and also unlike say: Facebook, there’s no algorithm that hides your work from a large portion of your followers unless you sponsor a post.
It’s not a flawless platform — it has some pretty hostile sub-cultures, rampant unchecked misinformation (watch out for processed chicken nuggets and Onion headlines taken out of context), and maybe ever so slightly too much idolizing of certain male actors in their late 30s and early 40s — but as a whole when it comes to sharing art, I think it’s pretty great — it’s where I see most of the art I enjoy.
You're an extremely talented artist that could represent anything. Why do you choose to depict celebrities and iconic figures? I believe your artwork could have so much more merit and can contribute much more to society then just entertainment. You even have your symbol as the golden spiral, which I find rather smug for an artist who creates "fan art". I don't intend to offend, it just greatly bothers me to see such a talented artist create advertisement and I would like to know why.
"Smug" is arbitrarily thinking that one entire genre of art is less than another.
"Smug" is anonymous back-handed compliments that insult an entire group of artists while trying to police what I choose to make.
"Smug" is thinking that you bestow merit to art and decide its value or contribution to society — or that it needs to do that to begin with.
"Smug" is believing that advertisements are something that automatically lessens art when some of the best painters and works throughout art history, from Leonardo to Caravaggio to Rockwell and Leyendecker have worked in advertising for clients (churches included).
"Smug" is looking at my portfolio of hundreds of paintings over 3 years that cover dozens of genres, styles, subject matters, clients, and sits everywhere from the internet, to billboards, album covers, magazine covers, galleries, newspapers, movie posters, bus-sides, books, homes of friends, strangers, and celebrities, and still choosing to think that I am one thing — a thing that is just as valuable to me as everything I’m paid for professionally.
"Smug" is being a smug dicklet and throwing in “I don’t intend to offend” to cushion the smug dickletishness of it all.
"Smug" is not seeing a simplistic connection between realism in painting and the golden rule that is genre-irrelevant, but again insulting an entire group of artists while commenting on something you haven’t bothered to understand.
But most of all, “Smug” is thinking that I, or any artist, owes you anything. We can make whatever we want, however we want to. I will keep making advertisements, I will keep making album covers, I will keep making posters for games and movies, I will keep making all that I’m hired to do and choose to take on, but I will also keep making fan art because despite the merit or value that you’ve decided it has — I want to — and that’s all the reason I need.
Take your soggy waffle compliments and fuck the fuck off. Viva la fan art.
Thanks to all the SCAD people who stopped by to listen to my shtick.
You were all mega nice, recognized a couple of you, and the student work from those who stayed behind was just incredible. I’ll be at Forsyth park tomorrow at 2pm by the main stage thing and anyone is welcome to come on by.
I know a girl who went to art school in Georgia, only to drop out because "her teachers were too mean to her" when they would critique her work. Do you think that is sincerely the case, or is it more likely that she did not have the work ethic?
I think many aspects of the way people live and interact with one another are too harsh, too cruel, and unnecessarily nasty — but education (especially art education) is an area that if anything, should be harder. It should coddle less, be honest more, and build an environment that invites criticism as a building tool, not something that can be too “mean”. The purpose of an education is to learn and improve — but I found in my experience at art school — that most students, myself included at times — treated it as a place to express angst or most commonly: just not give a shit about anything. Giving up was a widespread mentality among people who weren’t willing to improve.
Don’t get me wrong, there are awful teachers with god-complexes who are just a brigade of dicks for the sake of it and do not care about building you up through breaking you down in a productive manner — but I still believe that this shouldn’t be cause for quitting school. Education shouldn’t coddle you, it should depict harsh reality in a space where the consequences aren’t as severe as losing a contract or getting fired. There are dick brigades in the real world, awful clients, awful bosses, irrational criticism, malicious criticism, people who will knock down your ideas, shit on your dreams, and education at its best should steel you for how to handle and work through that. I believe it’s better to ready you for the imperfect world and the imperfect people that fill it — than for how it ideally should be.
What, in your opinion, has been the biggest effect of the internet on art?How do you get noticed in the contemporary art scene when there are so many artists on the internet and social media? With so much plagiarism and emulations of artworks, how do you keep your artworks so original? How do you make sure you style is distinct so that people know it is yours?How different is it selling art online then in a gallery? What are the main differences?What inspires you and helps you come upwith ideas?
1-2.What, in your opinion, has been the biggest effect of the internet on art? How do you get noticed in the contemporary art scene when there are so many artists on the internet and social media?
The Internet has allowed more people to discover art, do so easier, and thus enabled more people to be and aspire to be artists — and I think that’s neato burrito. There’s no magic recipe for getting noticed because different people, different styles, and different subject matters resonate in different ways with vastly different groups of people. I once genuinely believed I had an answer to this question like a big ‘ol idiot, but that was hilariously naive as what worked for me was based on such a specific series of choices and moments. Vague answers blow but straight up lying is worse so to that I say: “I don’t know, I have a billion theories that I could talk about for days.” That said, one small aspect that I do believe helps strongly is being a real person with a name, a personality, a voice, and a face that people can like and dislike.
3-4.With so much plagiarism and emulations of artworks, how do you keep your artworks so original? How do you make sure you style is distinct so that people know it is yours?
Well, not plagiarizing other people’s work is really the key here. While creating something wholly original from start to finish in a vacuum is always an option if you’re a witch or exist in a less interesting parallel universe, it’s not really a realistic standard nor a realistic thing that you would ever need to do — even some of the most imaginative/”original” scenes people have created are researched and remixed. More likely you have source materials — either through ideas or references, that you can choose how to handle. If you want to copy one source directly — maybe it’s a press shot, advertisement, or still created by other people — you’re obviously welcome to do that (it can even be good practice), but for whatever you make to be substantive and valuable on its own merits (mostly in regards to anyone who would hire you), or be original even though it’s not wholly so — it shouldn’t exist anywhere else in that specific form.
It should be made having referenced the source material, materials beyond that source, references created on your own, and tied together through a technical understanding and personal treatment. When I’m painting Freddie Mercury, I can’t have the majestic snowflake that is the lead singer of Queen stand in front of me, but also just copying existing photos of him would add nothing to me painting him — so I have a folder on my computer with literally hundreds of photos, both of him and not, videos of him performing or speaking, and embarrassing pictures of myself in gym shorts and leather jacket that I took after researching him and sketching out poses — all of which then contributed to me having a full enough understanding of him to paint an image of him that is very Freddie Mercury, but from the light to the pose, to the expression, the colors, the brushwork, to the composition — doesn’t exist anywhere else in any form. It’s not a masterful achievement, it’s simply effort put into making one new thing from many existing things, and years. This isn’t the only way to do things — not even close — but much like your personality is distinct in how much you understand certain areas of knowledge, your work becomes distinct through your understanding of it as well. Personality, in humans and in art, is really just your individual interpretation of knowledge. Style is often taught as a “thing” you add to your work to give it a “hook”, when more often it’s just the natural progression of us figuring out how to interpret what we know. Especially when dealing with realism, it’s a lot of work simply to make something new of old ideas, no matter how many — but it’s worth it because it can (not always, I’ve failed many times, but it can) stand on it own legs, rather than on the legs of someone else’s existing interpretation.
5-6.How different is it selling art online then in a gallery? What are the main differences?
Very. Seeing something in person as a tangible object makes people more likely to respect it and thus pay more for it. However seeing and being able to buy something online without leaving your home is both convenient, often more affordable for the consumer because it’s deemed less valuable than on a white wall (however, will then sell more of), but most importantly (and I think this is why the Internet and Art together are the bee’s knees) — art online is largely stripped of the arbitrarily pretentious vibes of the common gallery that alienate people not normally into art from buying or even just appreciating it in some form. I don’t particularly *love* galleries because they push away a large number of people who aren’t already inclined to appreciate art — they have definitely have value and purpose, but can definitely be off-putting.
7.What inspires you and helps you come up with ideas? This is literally the worst fucking art question there is — it is the soggy floor waffle of questions and everyone knows it. It’s garbage. Garbage garbage garbage. Garbage. Just awful. There is no question more vague yet with more obvious and similarly useless answers. It’s just the worst. The absolute worst. It’s not your fault either grey-face. Art education makes it seem like it’s a question that should be asked — that has meaningful responses — but it’s just the underside of a desk used by someone that constantly picks their nose. You know what you’re going to find and it’s not going to be remotely helpful. Neither was this.
So after wrangling 10s of thousands of notifications into my randomopolometer (a magical Calvin & Hobbes-esque cardboard box with poorly written sharpie lettering on it and totally not a simple computer script), results have been spat out and I’ve sent friend requests and/or messages to both the main winner ( Rob C ), 2 signed prints to runner ups ( Lucy Y and Bas S ), and over the next few days, eyebrow haikus will begin trickling into various inboxes.
Thanks so much to everyone who entered. Truly, the comments were … well: awesome, undeserved, but always grin-inducing. I’ll be working with the winner over the next couple weeks in between my current client project (which involves space and video games) and will post the resulting portrait as soon as it’s ready — fingers crossed that Rob wants dinosaurs.
Sam I need your help. During critique, my classmate told me, "Your realistic rendering is too much for this project." Basically we had to reconstruct a self portrait by cutting a grid on our self portraits and rearranging the squares into a new composition. How do you feel about this? I feel very discouraged doing realism and I'm pretty much the outcast to this "conceptual/abstract" art school.
Art education should absolutely challenge you to think and create things that you don’t want to and in ways you don’t want to. Students, hell — people, even the smartest and most talented ones, are stupid in contrast to the many wells of knowledge that are in front of them. Your peer critiques should challenge you, not agree with your preference — it helps open you up to new ideas and new tastes in the long run.
I think of it a lot like food actually. Kids are often given fairly simple and repetitive foods when they’re younger — sometimes it’s just what they like, sometimes it’s entirely based on the convenience and history of their parents, and sometimes it’s because dinosaur chicken nuggets are amazing. But as people grow older, many venture outside of their sauceless, spice-less, and dinosaur-shaped processed food staples, and get a little freaky-deaky with their dinner. It’s not all great, but you try it, and gradually start building a palette and preference for certain aspects of many different dishes.
When I first moved to Brooklyn and saw the widespread hipster menu items of grass-fed organic truffle-wrapped gluten-free whateverthefuck covered with a something reduction and shmancy aioli sauce — I thought: this is pretentious, overly complicated, and weird — not unlike how I felt about abstract art for a very long time. But I tried that obnoxious food and despite my preconceived notions — really enjoyed many aspects of it. I didn’t care about the gluten-ness or organic-ness of it all, the backstory statement of a food was still as obnoxious as an abstract painting’s artist statement, and they could easily rename it “yummy food ball” , but it was damn good and opened me up to many more kinds of food, and even ways to bring elements of it into the foods I was more comfortable with.
I’m with you: I love my realism. I love my dinosaur chicken nuggets. But when it comes down to it, how I create things today is a product of trying new ways to make it. Non-objective and abstract art made me see color, texture, composition, and negative space in a way that realism never did. As frustrating as education on every level is, as fundamentally flawed as it is in numerous other ways, you will have time to do things YOUR way and on YOUR terms. For now, be annoyed, be frustrated, challenge it, but don’t make the mistake that many people do (including myself for a period of time), where you just dismiss other ways to create. You can find merit in many areas of life if you immerse yourself in them, even ones that at first seem a little freaky-deaky.
People say: "illustration is dying." Your thoughts?
If anything, illustration is making a massive come back. As photography becomes increasingly accessible and thus over-saturating the markets exponentially — the illustration jobs that were once lost to the rise of photography are coming back with a beautiful vengeance as corporations, ad agencies, musicians, and all sorts of good places look to visually stand out from the hordes. That’s not to say photography is going anywhere in its more sophisticated forms, but illustration is alive, well, and grows stronger every year that iPhone cameras get better.
I’m not in the position to really grieve for him. Larry Lantrip was a grown man, a husband to Robin, a family friend of my parents, and ultimately someone who I only recall meeting once in my life, several years ago, but stripped from any hyperbole: he changed my entire life.
I got a call from my mom a few weeks back saying that Larry had passed away after battling with lung cancer. She was pretty broken up and I passed along general words and pleasantries that I *think* people say to those who are grieving over the death of a close friend or loved one, but I’m not great with comforting people who feel things that I don’t understand. Yet, a week ago, I was drawing on my tablet and in a weird moment, his death finally hit me – not grief, not mourning, not sadness, I was never close enough for that, it was just a long fading memory that suddenly became vivid of my last interaction with this man and how it profoundly set in motion where I am today.