I've been time traveling a bit tonight. Digitally that is, looking back over my last eight years on here, old journal entries, people I knew, how my art and writing style has changed.
I realise I really don't *interact* on here half as much as I used to, and I'm sorry for that. I know I was mostly away for a fairly long period, and the ever-changing, peripatetic nature of my life and work since leaving university hasn't been all that conducive to keeping up online contacts here, well, and people and things change and move away, but I realise I've also known quite a few people on here for quite a long time - and some of you guys have probably gotten to know me a fair bit through my updates over the years as well.
A snapshot of time here about five or six years ago (when I was probably most active on dA): altergromit
was probably one of my most frequent dA correspondents (a lot of dogs and turtles were exchanged
), and I'd just started swapping strings of banter and other more or less profound thought-meanderings with ErnestAbacus
. (well I guess a couple of things haven't really changed so much in six years!) veryverystrawberry
was also around, I believe (and a few others my sleepy brain isn't registering right now. Sorry). I also used to chat with talyra
, who I don't think are around so often anymore ; and was also beginning to talk more with barbarasobczynska
(both of whom I wanted to get to know better, but whose artwork I admired so much, and who already seemed to have so many admirers, that I always felt a bit star struck whenever one of them would comment on anything I did
) I also lived (I mean in real life) with Lilaims
back then, who influenced my art and writing a lot - and was an enabler to my caffeine habit. As I was time traveling, I came across a lot of nice comments and interesting conversation threads I should've replied to but never did, stuff I should've followed up, jokes I didn't get because I wasn't reading properly or was just too young/uncultured/sheltered to get the reference...
It's funny looking back at the comments, writing and artwork from my 20 and 21-year-old self. The way I wrote then and the stuff I seemed to be wanting to prove makes me cringe, but I actually think some of the artwork might've been more interesting and original. I'm worried I'm not as imaginative and experimental as I was back then, maybe because I think of art as THE thing I DO now for food and stuff. I can probably do proportions and technical stuff a bit better, but a lot of my more recent stuff feels less inventive and a little too polished... this could just be the 'just finished never want to see it again' bias kicking in I guess, but... What do you think?
Also with commenting, I have an admission to make: actually at some point a few years ago, I made a resolution that I wasn't going to just type 'thanks' or 'yay' or other one-word replies on dA anymore, especially to actually nicely thought-out comments, but instead comment properly in kind, and I was also going to try to comment whenever I
ed someone's work, especially if it was someone who wasn't already getting hundreds/thousands of views and comments. Credit where it's due, this was a lot inspired by ErnestAbacus
's ever-entertaining/thoughtful comments on my work, which I (and I suspect a number of people) always look forward to. It seemed to make sense to actually talk about pictures and the ideas they inspire, or reply to people's interesting contributions, not to mention make new friends rather than just nod and say thanks. After all, this is supposedly what deviantart started for, right? (although I'm still not convinced anything on the Internet is real, but people is people, and a computer has still yet to pass the Turing test under truly fair conditions)
Well of course what ACTUALLY happened after a while was that I became paralysed by the backlog of comments I wanted to type, and ended up not on dA for long chunks of time to avoid it. Eventually I had such a big backlog that I settled back into faving anonymously and just saying thanks to comments or not replying altogether. Obviously what's realistic is a balance somewhere between the two, where I say things when I have things to say, try to show proper appreciation for genuine compliments and criticisms, and the rest of the time a bit of skipping over and short-hand probably has to happen because that's how the Internet works, especially when you also have a lot of real-life on the go and are trying to cut down on screen-time.
It's also turning out to be a somewhat weird and amorphic summer, which lends itself well to this kind of time-travel. I'm across the world with a bunch of new people, about to commit to two years of grad school - that's the longest I've committed to stay in any one place for a while, amongst a number of other commitments, figuring stuff out and new responsibilities (that I'm told come with growing up). I also have more time to focus solely on my own artwork, rather than commission work, which is a great if obsession-inducing opportunity, but due to financial pressures I am possibly more pulled currently towards developing the marketable side than the creative side, which I'm not sure yet is the right strategy or not.
Another thing about this summer that's disconcerting, and probably getting to me a bit lately, is that I'm in a place where no one (great though they are) has known me for more than about a year at most, and I'm really a little (or maybe quite a bit) homesick. I miss things and people and connections that have history. A small part of me keeps saying, 'all the restlessness and moving about of the last few years was supposed to lead you back to somewhere that felt like home - like Edinburgh. Not take you further into unfamiliar territory...'.
OF COURSE I still like adventures, and of course I'm looking forward to the things that're coming up, but this summer is also disconcerting, and giving me a lot of time to reflect and try to figure things out. Just as there's sometimes something a little melancholy about time-travel, like I miss the times I had with my flatmates in Edinburgh, and the general sociability and lack of *big* decisions and responsibilities (and I was pretty restless then!), I'll probably look back at this summer at some point and think 'damn it was great to have so much time to myself to paint and go cycling! Pity my writing back then makes me cringe but at least I sold some prints!'
Anyway, sorry about the overly long and introspective journal post. I guess I hadn't really posted on here properly for a while. As i said, I'm going to try to keep up with people more on here, especially now while I have the time.
Within realistic limits this time though