My alter ego.
I don't like beginnings. There is something about starting new things that paralyses my thinking, lost in an ocean of possibilities and high expectations. As if I had to prove that this blog will be good. If I am honest, I don't know how it will be like, so maybe it can be just that: a sincere account of my experiences as a freelance artist. Today I would like to introduce you to someone that has been with me for years and who has always existed in secret. But before that, let me explain why I am starting this blog:
I decided a long time ago that I wanted to share my creative process with you. I don't believe in competition or secrecy when it comes to art, but rather in the beauty or sharing the knowledge and helping each other. I think that explaining how you made something does not imply that somebody else will come up with a copy of it tomorrow. Unfortunately (or rather fortunatelly), it is not that simple. If somebody without prior training were to copy an artwork and expected to achieve great results at their first try, they would soon lose all enthusiam by realising that knowing the theory isn't enough. You need a lot of practice. If, on the other hand, somebody is determined to learn, it will take them more or less time but they will persist and succeed. There is of course that third, dark group of people who would take someone else's techniques not to inspire themselves, but to plagiarize their work. Those I pity, for there isn't anything sadder than being skilled and lack all imagination.
I hope sharing my process will nourish the interest of the curious and will ease things for the persistent and determined to learn sculpture, illustration or how to be a freelance artist and not to die in the attempt. Hopefully the experiences I will share here will save you some time and money along this endless road of learning. I treasure each of the advices I received, and that I still receive today.
I will also write here about the things that inspire me, the places I visit, books I read and some other things about my daily life that feel relatable to the art I make. My job is a solitary one and despite I appreciate the nature of it, I miss sharing these bits in a more extense way that the immediacy of social networks allows us today.
It has been very difficult for me though to find the right means to share my work. A few months back I started a YouTube channel, knowing as I did that I am an introvert and suspecting that appearing on videos may not be my thing. I did study cinema and I love photography, so I harbored hope to adapt to what today seems to be the winning formula. There are many artists that share their work on video, and indeed, videos seem to be a comfortable, easy way to consume content. Personally, I love watching vlogs. Sometimes, inspired by great illustrators, I have a confidence outbreak followed by instant regret and I upload a video that automatically I can't even watch. I ended up giving up on YouTube (until the next outbreak), but I did try and confirmed that it is absurd trying to adapt to something that feels unnatural and that, ultimately, you just don't want to do. How much energy is wasted in swimming against the tide. In order to come up with this conclusion, I needed Austin Kleon's help. I will soon write an entry about his very helpful book, "Show Your Work" - a book I wish I had read sooner.
My thoughts blend naturally towards the shape of words and drawings. They always have. In my backpack, you will find pencils and an ugly notebook that travels with me wherever I go and where I write ideas, thoughts, I sketch what I see, I draw stuff and illustrate memories. There isn't a time of my adult life in which I haven't used one of this sketchbooks. Please don't image them pretty and neat like the ones from some very disciplined illustrators. In my sketchbook you will most likely find the design of a new sculpture followed by an idea, the shopping list and the number registered in the gas meter. Still, I think a blog is the closest thing to a digital sketchbook. In the past few weeks, it has been funny to see the look on people's faces -as if anticipating inevitable failure- when I told them I was about to stat a blog. "People don't read anymore", I've been told. But I do read, and I write, and I refuse to believe that statement is true.
So let me start this blog by introduing you to a character that is manifesting with increased frequency in my sketchbooks. She's putting a face to those personal thoughts that were once vague and fuzzy.
Meet my alter ego. The version you see above is the current one, but the design of this character dates back to 2015 and has gone through different stages. It was first born in Nancy, France, in a time when positivity messages flooded the internet. Instead, I decided to claim the right to have bad days in a series I called #miserabledays. By that time I had quite a lot of miserable days. I never felt comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings out loud, though. I feared and blamed myself for them to be over the top, so I didn't dare to verbalise them. It simply felt much more natural to write and draw. When this character appeared, it came with a mote of humour ready to water things down. I don't know if it was a way of hiding or comforting myself, but it worked. Drawing always made me feel good.
(Amongst all the grey days, the good ones were felt in bright colours.)
This charcter stayed with me for several months and then, suddenly, it vanished. It came back in 2017, in Bordeaux, with a slightly different look and ready to uncover my social awkwardness. In Bordeaux I felt at home and I could never have imagined that I would only stay there for two years. During that time and due to the hermit nature of my work and own being, I didn't meet many people and I lost a lot of practice in social relations. Observing these drawings, I realise now that by 2017 I had already found my brand's colour. Also, my eyes had decided they wouldn't bear contact lenses anymore.
Then, she disappeared again for a long while and I almost forgot about her. I think I must have replaced her with long walks in nature and night sky observations. However, I left France and I came back to Barcelona, the same city I left almost 10 years ago and where I had to find my place, once again. Coming back to my hometown hasn't been easy. Early this year, she too came back (to the rescue?) and she hasn't left ever since.
She has become my ally, the one who sticks up for me, who expresses herself freely and throws herself into the world while this introvert hides comfortably behind her pencils and laptop. She fills the pages of my sketchbooks. I draw her in coffee shops, airports and planes, in the subway, in a quiet Sunday morning. If this blog is about to become my digital sketchbook, it is likely that she will accompany these entries. I never gave her a name. Should we find her one?
(Little disclaimer :) : English is not my first language. This is the best translation I could come up with of my original entry, writen in Spanish. Thank you for understanding.)