I'm sure if I've looked at most of my entries for the past 5 years I'd probably start to see some sort of trend with my journals. It's hard for me to make sense of all of this, but I'm going to give it a shot. If you don't read all of this, I don't really blame you, but I'm going to bring you on a journey of what this site has meant for me, and what it means for me now and the changes that have happened over the years.
I originally joined this site because before I had started doing any photography or digital work, I had a small interest in drawing. I realized I had a knack for patiently working on drawings for long hours and that kind of patience made me enjoy art a lot, especially since I was in high school at the time and I wasn't particularly good at anything. So there it was, I started doing art because it was productive and it was fun to do, like most people start doing art I imagine. Eventually, my internet obsession made me find out about Photoshop, which lead to me doing little experiments with Photoshop and making forum signatures. However, all of that changed when I started to browse digital abstract art here on deviant art and got to see some amazing pieces of art. It's weird, I don't really think people think of a pencil or a paintbrush as a tool to paint like Da Vinci, but when I saw people using Photoshop to make art, I felt like all I had to do is learn more about the program in order to create amazing works of art. Sure, the path wasn't seemingly as simple as I thought it was, but after doing photoshop and 3D art for several years, I felt like I was in striking range of being where I wanted to be when I started this journey in making art. I felt like I was just a normal person who simply worked their butt off to be where they wanted to be, and to have a skill in a genre of art that not many people knew about, but also a genre that not many people could replicate without some serious practice. Below are 2 examples of where my art was when I started, and where it was 4 years later.
In 2008, I was probably at the peak of my popularity on this site. I had lots of followers, people were interested in my art, I was able to comment on other people's art, and since I was still in college, I didn't really have any major responsibilities in my life, besides school. However, there were some things that changed. For one, I started to see my comments, views, and favorites on pieces be a balancing scale for how I viewed my art improving. This isn't a good idea, simply because you're more concerned with posting what your audience is comfortable with than really challenging yourself to push the boundaries of your art. Maybe I could have done that, but I guess I was too narrow minded at the time to figure it out. For two, I started to care more about the social aspect on this site than making art itself. I started to use my art as a vessel of conversation because my subconscious was telling me, you're finishing college, you don't have a girlfriend (nor have you had one to this point), lets try meeting some people that art interested in the same stuff you are, especially since internet community people were still a little bit of a rare breed for people at my age. Once I caught up to my subconscious and realized, oh yeah you really do want to find someone to connect with on an intellectual level, there are bound to be some bumps in the road. Again, this is all part of growing up, but because it was wrapped around this community here, all of these occurrences were attributed to my development of art.
Anyways, something amazing did come out of my interest in art, and the internet. In 2010 I started talking to a friend that I had known since I first started doing graphic design, but didn't frequently talk to, that is, until then. We instantly bonded over our understanding of what the internet was, what we both saw in it, how it could bring people together, how we can just talk without having to worry about expectations the day later, etc. We started dating, and this was the time that art took a bit of a back seat. I would feel motivated to make art based on what our relationship revealed to me, but the frequency of posting would go down because I had new responsibilities in life. Now fast forward a few years, we're living together, been married for 2 years and here I am, and life is wonderful.
But the only thing that comes back to me every so often is what am I supposed to make of all of this. I have a desire to make art, and because of the vast history I have with this site I want to still be a part of it because it truly helped me develop my art, and I got to meet so many great people here. I guess you could say it's a soft spot. The issue I have now is I've proved to myself time and time again, yes I can still make those old 3D abstract pieces people used to love from me. Yes my photography is as good as it's ever been (large part to the fact that I work in a photo studio and I'm around it every day). I don't know why it's so hard for me to just not think too hard about this and just make art like I always have. Why do I have to put this idea in my head that if I'm going to start making art again, I'm going to be fully invested in it, or I just can't really do anything at all. Is it because every time I post something now, my feedback constantly reminds me how old works that I felt aren't as good as they are now used to get tons of favorites and comments simply because I was more active and more invested in the community?
This is just a theory of mine, but I think my issue is that since I let the social aspect of this site have such a huge part on my development and improvement as an artist, I can't seem to separate one from the other. I loved to see my hard work as an artist touch people over the years to where they would invest in what I was doing, and that's what kept me going, wanting to create more and more to see where my art has gone. Now it feels like someone hit the reset button for my followers, yet my art is at a place where I'm more or less okay with. Sure we all want to improve, but I'm no longer sure what I want to improve, and I'm worried that if I can't figure out where I want to see my artwork go, I won't be able to move past the point where I am now. My motivation to create was always based on this idea that I constantly wanted to improve, to be respected by fellow artists of my medium, and to challenge them and for them to challenge me. I've been removed from that for so long I'm not really sure what I want to do anymore, and now that life has other responsibilities beyond doing good in school lol.
So yeah, there it is. If you read the whole thing, from the bottom of my heart, thank you! It's a complicated matter, so please let me know if you have been through anything like my experience, or if you have any advice. I'm all ears