On Higher Education in the Arts

I come from a much different perspective than a lot of people who go to art school. I had absolutely no previous training. All the time I would have spent if I had grown up with the current amazing array of educational materials provided online wasn’t available to me growing up, and in 2014 when I went back to school, it didn’t feel like most of the classes I took really addressed what it takes to really practice and get good at art. Reconstruction research, which is a process I’m currently undergoing, is something I discovered through reading online, it was never even discussed while I was in school. I make copies of the old masters now, they just happen to be a collection of my own chosen canon Shirow, Matsumoto, Tezuka, and Yoshitaka Amano, along with all of the artists I’m finding who are working online in the digital and manga arts community on Twitter. They are all my heroes. I’m finding I really needed to take a step back, forget all of my exhibiting accomplishments, and just really study line and form. Over the course of the last week I’ve been looking at a small collection of manga how-to books, plus books by Stan Lee, Hirohiko Araki, and Eisner. These are all reference materials for the most part I had saved for when I needed them most, and that happens to be now.

I researched countless sites and videos for the correct pens for manga comics, and learned everything that I should have known when I was first learning to make art. My life would have been much different if I had been born into the generation that came right after mine, but I don’t regret it. I have a different perspective, but I needed this time to build my skills. I’m not done yet but I hope to be at a better point within a month. I’ll never stop learning.

In a rush to share my work, since Twitter is where I find my online community, I uploaded the progress of my new comics series in a hasty way that I regret, but it was an amazing experience. It actually caused the greatest experience of personal growth through the aesthetics that I could possibly imagine. Art takes falling down and getting back up, spectacularly messing up, and then starting over again. Art is a struggle and a dedication that many aren’t able to take, and in that I am grateful that I have the ability to focus this way. I’m not taking it for granted.

All I do right now is for art, and I’m trying to give back to the cultures that are inspiring me right now. I don’t intend to sell or make a profit at all, I’m just completely enthralled in anime and manga and it’s hard to stop. It’s such an amazing form of art. Some of my heroes I already feel on a close to peer level with, and there are painters online in my social networks that will take years to attain parity with. But that’s what makes this fun. Art is amazing. It just takes years, and academic study is just an introduction, the real effort starts in our private practice when we learn to make up for the current academic system. I always thought I needed a teacher, and I do, but sometimes learning takes place through the process of experimentation, just like science, in something like a visual test lab. So I hope if you come across my social network sharing, just know that I’m just experimenting, and it’s a place I invite you into my own studio to share in the process. It’s for fun, and that’s something no school could offer. I’m experimenting here for fun, I hope it continues to be a fun place to escape the hum drum of the everyday. Life is amazing and I’m trying to remind folks of that, I hope you enjoy.

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