Watching this was a bit of a nice reprieve.
I totally agree with you, and I can certainly relate. Hell, it was me being such a poor state at the time I found that video that I Knew I had to share it.
I've been having to fight for what I've wanted to do much of my life after high school, trying to pursue a career in something that promises nothing to its master. I'm learning art and trying to put out work that hasn't been able to reach an audience, but I know I'm growing, little by little. I've failed my younger self in that I promised I'd be successful and rich and happy and be the best person I could be in little to no time flat. I've learned that it's all a waiting game, and that so long as you put in work, a return will be made at double the fee. The small successes that have come my way started a bit of a domino effect, and I'm at a point where the next chain to set off events is at a standstill. It's in these moments that I panic and freak out.
The future is so uncertain, and I'm honestly so very scared of what's to come if things continue for me the way they are. I stay optimistic because it's my strongest weapon I got but some days I just feel like stopping and throwing it all away. I pretty much soon realize I have literally nothing else to fall back on, and I bounce back out of sheer terror. I really hate how I crumble so easily - I suppose the way my feelings work is with extremes - and I just need something good to happen for me soon. I've already watched that video several times since posting it, and it really does make me feel better. Hell, I think I need to watch it now.
Anyone, I hope everything gets better for you. Like I said, if you need to talk or unwind or whatever, I'd be happy to help.
I moved to music shortly after that, and it's pretty much the same cycle all over again. In fact, starting this month, I'd be seriously playing music for as long as I've been seriously drawing. I feel all of the things that I had before: practicing every day, loving every second of it, hitting a wall, trying to power through it, but feel like no progress is being made. It feels like everything that I enjoy doing is plagued with mediocrity, and that I'm an idiot for telling myself that I could make a living this way. That all this time I've spent trying to improve on my craft (be it art or music) has been a waste, and that I should've spent my time looking for a stable, regular job.
I haven't given up yet, though. I'm trying to get back into my artwork, sketching things here and there, hopefully not losing the muscle memory of everything. I even bought a new sketchbook since I completely filled up my old one. And I decided that I would do the "Draw a Pokemon a Day" because of seeing you do it, and hopefully I can get through it starting January. For music, I'm currently playing rhythm guitar and singing backup vocals in a band, and we've got a show coming up for New Year's, so I'm optimistic. I DO love what I'm doing. I forget that sometimes.
I'm not sure if my thoughts were exactly coherent and on track for this spiel, but that feels like everything.
Hey Paul, just glad to help a friend out. Everything you've gone through, I've gone through and so has everyone else. Hell, I'm still going through it, every day in small doses or are in large waves. We're all walking down this same road and some have made more sacrifices than others. Some get lucky and some may find misfortune and give up entirely.
You know I was going to say it - hell, everyone says it because it's simply the right thing to say - But let me teach you why we say NEVER GIVE UP. If you give up, you betray everyone else around you who wants you to succeeed. We are always led to believe than when we give up, we are failing only ourselves. This is not the case. My mother is one of my biggest supporters, and everything I am with art is thanks to her. If I were to give up because I was hitting a rough patch...I wouldn't be the only one devastated. Everything she's worked hard for and sacrificied is lost in vain as well. We have friends and family who think what we do is amazing and only dream about having such a talent. If you quit, the hopes everyone has for you is dashed as well.
You mentioned drawing felt like a chore. We must be a mirror to one another because in high school, I felt like drawing was a chore, and my talent was all flair with no substance. All throughout my life I'd been praised for my skill as an artist because my technical abilities were always my strongest element - I was known for looking at something and recreating it in near perfect detail. That was what I had thought it mean to be an artist. It was only after messing around in college with a few majors I thought would lead to a "normal job" that I realized we live with the consequences we make for the rest of our one and only life. To not pursue the talent I was given and slowly mastering would be a waste and a slap in the face to everyone who wished they could do the same.
Anyway, you were too incredible kind to me in your post, Paul - I'm an artist who does not deserve that much praise. I've done what I can - whose to say that's more or less what anyone else around me is doing? You were worried about a lack of progress. You are ALWAYS making project so long as your pencil is creating strokes on a piece of paper or when your instrument strums out sound. It's so hard for us to step back and appreciate how far we come because we are always our biggest critic. We need to learn to be more forgiving to ourselves and accept small victories with our work really pick us up off the ground when we need it the most.
It was funny you brought up the speed paintings because I was actually watching a few of them just two nights ago. I haven't updated my channel since I've taken on a few other projects (with no thought of any sort of financial gain, just trying to utilize my current free time to get better while having fun) but I want to soon. Well, that is if YouTube gets easier to use - it's getting kinda frustrating to figure out with all these changes. Anywho, I watched what I was doing and was both proud of my work but also kind of..repulsed! Some of my commentary was decent, most of it felt otherwise. The artwork I thought was once great looked like it had plenty of room for improvement.
And that's when a most happy thought entered my mind - if I do get back into this, my commentary and art are going to leagues better than they ever were - and will help me create even better content than ever before. Taking some time off of doing these pieces of art and video was the kind of ego boost I needed in that department. Also, it's pretty cool to hear that there's some traffic going in and out of my videos - part of the reason I stopped was that after 20+ releases, I never felt like I was going anywhere. I guess we all guage success differently, and its perhaps because of this thought that you're feeling this way. But like you, I felt like I wasn't progressing and put it down for a bit. Now, I want to go back knowing there is some sort of return on this investment!
Moving from YT to DA, you mentioned you took down your pieces of art from your gallery. Put them back up! Part of growing as an artist is being able to look back at your work and be vulnerable. Taking your artwork down makes you invulnerable - not your audience or yourself will be able to critique the work you've done without anything to look at- and its exactly why I still have all my old works up on my DA. When I rarely do go into my own gallery, I shiver at the sight of my old stuff. Nerd time - it's like when Goku enters his Kaio-ken state. At that point, Goku thought he was the shit. Eventually, when he goes SSJ3, he'll look back and say...I thought THAT was powerful? Look at me now!
So yeah, having your past for everyone to see is a good and bad thing, and important for growth. Something you can do is hit up your favorite artist's gallery and see where they started. YOU WILL BE SURPRISED at what you see - some of your favorite artists were trash when they started! Well, that's kind of harsh, but you get the point. You might look at some work and say, "hell, that looks worse than how I started," and then realize if they can get to their current state, then why can't you?
As for giving up, you won't ever give up anything you truly love. Music or art, these are facets to our lives that are so rewarding and enriching. Everyone will reach a point in their life when their passions become their most coveted posessions. I have reached a similar time in my life knowing I just simply have to do what I'm doing for a living and that's what motivates me. Hell, it sounds cocky as hell but part of that is what keeps me going. Now that I think about it, everything that motivates me is almost negative sounding. I think this is where you need to find what motivates you and use it as a your crutch.
Like I said, this is gonna sound almost evil (haha) but my main motivation factor is REVENGE. Dun dun dun. But not in that murder-y you killed my father way. I'm Indian, and it's known my people respect only men who are doctors or engineers. To even pursue this path is simply laughable and pointless to many people who look at me. My mom, whos more new-age than most immigrant moms has not only allowed me to take this path, but she encourages it. She embraces that I am an artist, and she herself has gotten a lot of flack for that. I mean, how rude can other Indian people be, that she is in the crossfires of disdain that other people have no business in sharing? People tell her its her fault that I haven't taken the proper path, which is more or less saying bad parenting.
OH HELL TO THE FUCKING NO. I KNOW YOU DID NOT GODDAMN SAY THAT BOUT MA MOMMA! So yeah, the biggest reason I want to be successful, become a goddamn Kingpin is so I can shower my mom in wealth of my success to let her flaunt it in the faces of all the the other condescending people who turn their noses up at me and my mom. Over the years, aunties and uncle will ask me what I'm up to and how I'm doing in school. "Where are you studying, what are you studying?" they ask. I felt so ashamed to say art, and at a community college. They made me feel like shit. They made me feel like I would never go anywhere, and they made me feel inferior to their sons and daughters pursuing careers in medicine and engineer. Indians are assholes in that they're always looking to compare their kids with everyone around them. The parents can feel a sense of pride knowing their kin is seemingly better off, for ego boosts they can jack off to. Actually, I figure that might be most of asian culture, maybe you Flip folks go through that stuff too, I'm sure.
So yeah, I kinda got vulguar cause it upsets me so much and as I said, one of my strongest weapons in my arsenal - motivating me more than my other reasons.
My closing thoughts (because this has gone too long - I don't mind writing but its probably been a pain in the ass to read all this haha!) is as follows:
Paul, always follow what you want to do. You have one life to live and there are people out there, right this second, who is doing what they love and are making money doing it. How they got there is because they never gave up, and stuck on through with it. Everyone out there that claims its impossible or talks bad about taking this route are people who gave up on their dreams and never knew what could be possible.
You may not get to where you want in the time you expect to reach there, but know that your trip is only delayed and not cancelled. Ask yourself - Why do I want this?
EVERY GODDAMN DAY ask yourself - Why do I want this? Find a reason that gets you hyped - Just thinking about it gets your heart racing. I'm motivated because I want everyone who thought that I couldn't get anywhere with this decision of mine to pay in full - I want to outshine their doctor and engineer sons and daughters doing something I LOVE.
So anyway, that's all I got for today. I hope somewhere in this brick of text there's something that's useful to you. Keep in touch with me and start communicating with artists and musicisans around you. Trade updates and successes and failures - Grow with your friends, stumble with your friends, pick eachother up and find victories to be happy about.
Lastly, I'm super stoked to hear you have a big gig coming up - you and your bandmates will do fantastic! And super duper lastly, have a super duper happy, merry, and awesome Christmas!