Here he is from the back facing down a body-horror thing. Also I forgot how to draw hands. #sketchbook

Here he is from the back facing down a body-horror thing. Also I forgot how to draw hands. #sketchbook

Tinkering with the past

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time digging into what my adolescence was and how I created things at the time. I just graduated from college and I’m trying to wrap my head around what in the hell I’m really good at. Not trained at, or experienced at, but that deep-seeded connection to what I should really be doing. I haven’t found the answer, and probably never will, but I have found insight into how I like to create.

One of the biggest things that spurred this was that it became so difficult to sit down and create something- which is insane, because that’s all I do. Instead, I’d been consuming information constantly. Movies, books, podcasts, art on tumblr, et cetera. I managed to do a couple of book covers for people and got a couple of articles posted to Parade, and started outlining my next story, but that was the gist of it. It was all for other people, aside from the outline which I still had to force myself to work on. This wasn’t a problem when someone depended on me, but if there was no deadline, then I had to force myself. Creating things for me, for both the experience and the result equally, had disappeared.

Then I set up my computer to record VHS tapes, and while visiting my parents in Mississippi, went through old boxes of belongings to find video games, toys and movies to pawn off. This is where I started to see the balance between creator and consumer, and started to see where my mindset worked best. In middle school, I made countless CD covers and heavily-decorated mix CDs. This included collage and even a prop-based photo shoot with a cheap 110 camera from Disney World. I made toys into works of art by damaging them. There are various implications here: For the album art, I fantasized about having a band (a band named Foon for some god-forsaken reason). As for the toys, middle school was chaos for me- like, more than normal middle school experiences- and I altered the innocent toys to fit the darker real world that I saw as true. That’s not to say I always made something dark out of it, but usually I did. I did various other things, playing with clay and stuff like that.

But what tied it all together, along with all the later projects I did for fun, was a form of tinkering. Combining and altering things into something new, creating something different, and learning as I did it. They were science experiments, but with some kind of artistic outcome.

What that tells me, right now, anyway, is that I need to make time for experimentation and room for it in my projects.