Art relapse.

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Remember when writing used to be cool? Remember when I used to do it every day, and then I was like, “I’m gonna draw a comic now and stop writing!” That was lame.

I’m going to try writing more. If you had a dollar every time I said that, you could send your kid to community college.

But really.

I’m going to stop thinking about it so much and just write, and if anything worthwhile comes out, then cool. I’ll start with today, and what happened to me, which is a funny thing (but probably only funny to me.)

I went to an art gallery. My friend Laurel and I were riding bikes past this gallery in the Pearl District where she used to intern. We popped in to say hi, and to check out the two artists whose work was showing. We looked around, talked with the gallery owner, and as we talked I found myself using a language that I hadn’t in quite some time: Art Talk.

A while back I made the decision that I wasn’t an artist, I was an illustrator and a storyteller (sometimes equally, sometimes favoring one over the other.) I was a cartoonist, a category which is still being debated whether or not it describes a subset of artists. Personally, I was happy to shed the title. When I left Artist on the curb, I left with it so many alarmingly accurate stereotypes. I also left with it expectations of lofty conceptualism, capitalistic ensnarement (the poor making art for the rich, etcetera), and a million other frustrations. I didn’t have to act smart, fake interest, or pretend to have some brilliant understanding of the world any longer. I could draw a picture and tell a story, and that was that. It was incredibly liberating.

Along with turning my back on Artist, I turned my back on most of Art. I was suddenly free to turn my nose up at the entire institution (though it would bristle at the word) of Art. I could brush off my past relationship with Art, my education in Art, my previous career with Art, and above all, any former respect for or, dare I say it, love of Art. All ties severed. We never knew each other.

I didn’t think I missed it. I haven’t missed creating art, because I’ve been making my comics, which is kind of like art. I haven’t missed talking about art because most of the time I was annoyed by talking about it and half the time I was faking it (in art school we would fondly call this B.S.) But turns out, I’ve been missing it, big time. Turns out, all it took was one visit to an art gallery to have this part of my pent-up soul unfurled. It was something like speaking in tongues, to put it dramatically, it just started coming out of me, this Art Talk, and I had to catch myself before I dropped to my knees in tears. Well. Something like that.

Point is, I realized that I’m not done with Art. I’m not sure I’d go back to calling myself an Artist, but I’m not ready to give up Art as an interest, as an incredibly important part of who I am.

By the way, capitalizing Art makes it seem a lot more important. That’s another art school trick. Boo yeah!

*p.s. I should hope that this post gives a touch of insight as to the title of my comic, “Easel Ain’t Easy.” Reconciling my often-at-odds creative roles with one another has usually been a wrestling match. This particular thing which happened today was just another round at the ropes.


  1. Posted July 12, 2010 at 12:50 am | Permalink