Absence of Bravery

I am procrastinating. I thought I might blog instead of just sit here. Though I’m not just sitting here. I am also listening to music videos on YouTube. YouTube keeps serving ads, alternating between ads encouraging me to joined the Armed Forces and ads encouraging support for those traumatised by their involvement in the same Armed Forces. The juxtaposition is striking, it is hard to believe it is an accident. But it must be, surely?

At any rate outside the realm of computer games I am pretty much a pacifist.

And today I am impersonating an artist. I say “impersonating” because it still feels that way quite a lot. I don’t find myself making art except where prompted, either by my face-to-face art teacher or the Coursera MOOC I enrolled in. Those who know me will know I am part artist and part technologist. One of the interesting things (to me) about the Coursera art course is the repetitive use of this phrase:

I discourage digital art, because I want to see your art making process (unless you combine it with a handmade medium).

It may sound funny, but a pencil scares me more than Adobe Illustrator does. In some ways the digital tools promote greater risk taking because, usually, an error can be rectified through the simple of use of the Undo function. You can easily create multiple versions of your work to try out different treatments on the computer.

And that isn’t to say you can’t rectify things on more traditional forms of visual art, but usually they require more work — and some mediums are much more forgiving than others. I’m sure many art teachers would tell you that that’s where the hand of the artist and serendipity and chance intersect, and that can be quite an interesting thing to explore, but still… pencils make me nervous. Though pencils can be erased. Things can be painted over. Ink, once dry, is there forever. Smudged/erased things can be hard to reproduce if you later decide you want them.

I guess what this really boils down to is that I am not feeling particularly brave this year. I am doing design work as part of my studies (in part to re-design this blog) and I keep falling back upon things I’ve done before. Old patterns feel familiar and safe, comforting even. They’ve worked before, they’ll work again. But they’re not original, not even original to me. I found a nice serif font that I wanted use to represent my name here as part of a logo type identity and even my teacher pointed out that, “You are bolder than this though!” The stakes feel high, the work feels important. I am creating materials and designs that will represent me online and off for the foreseeable future. It is so easy to dash off quick, playful things for student work for fictional businesses. This feels scary. It needn’t though. I need to forge a space where I can feel comfortable to experiment and explore.

Anyway time is getting away from me as I type. I have to be at my art class in about an hour’s time. I am working on a large oil painting of an Indonesian statue. I best get ready. Thanks for reading.

1 comment… add one
  • I admire the way you feel the fear and do it anyway. Can’t wait to see the new design. I never even thought about how serif can indentify what kind of person you are. Even though lots of books end with “a word about the typeface”

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