My most recent deviation, above, brought me a bit of sorely needed validation. Over the past ten years I've slid out of the habit of producing artwork regularly, and my skills have deteriorated as a result. Along with that my confidence in my work has suffered as well. That's partially because I haven't been pursuing my art professionally, what with the need to make a living and not feeling that I can "make it" as an artist. Very common story: married man wants to keep a roof over his family's head and food on the table, so he feels he has to compromise some dreams to make that happen. I'm doing okay financially, but artistically I've felt a bit of a dried up failure for some time now. That's a gutting thing to actually admit and put out into the universe. Nobody wants to admit that they feel like they've become second rate. While I do use social media and DA, I'm quite a private person when it comes to those worlds, yet for whatever reason I felt the need to post this here anyways.
I define myself as an intermedia artist, meaning I work in many different media, but my academic artistic studies were focused on a studio/fine art context (my degree is in studio art with an emphasis in printmaking and sculpture, some hints of which you'll see in my gallery) rather than illustration, digital or sequential art which are more common fields for DA artists. However, like any decent artist I've always loved to draw, and an important sign of how I'm doing emotionally has always been how much I draw, paint or otherwise produce artwork of any kind. A lot of things in my life, such as my commitment in church, my marriage and teaching my seminary class have been going well and have been very fulfilling, but doing a mundane rather than creative job for a living has been gnawing at me. Lack of artistic expression has been a killer, now matter how good some other aspects of my personal and spiritual life have been. Even if I do stick with a regular job for the long haul, I'll have to produce art just to maintain my own sanity and sense of worth.
My wife knows how much my art means to me, and she's been trying to encourage me to start creating it again, and expressing confidence that if I can get rolling and let my creative juices flow properly I can actually make a living with my painting and printmaking rather than with a job in corporate America - she knows that on principle I loathe working in the private sector even though I like my company and the actual job I'm doing is fine in and of itself. It's been difficult to believe her, especially with how out of practice I've become and the self-hating psychological stuff that goes along with the same. Like most artists I've known, I'm pretty self conscious about my work, and it's hard to feel that any improvements I make will ever be good enough, or that other people will value what comes out of me.
Anyhow, the above piece may be far from a work of genius, but taking a visual concept that had been rattling around inside my skull demanding to be let out and, well, letting it out definitely helped my emotional well being and my confidence that I can start in on some of the images that have been nagging at me for literally years, like a piece of Michael casting Lucifer out of heaven that ever since college I have kept doodling up comp sketches and thumbnails for but never turn into a finished piece.
Since it's fan art, I shared it with a particular corner of the Zebra Girl fan community. Then, within a couple of days, the series creator, came round, saw it and gave it a +fav and some feedback on the piece itself. Getting some validation and feedback from a professional creator whom I respect about what I'd done with his brainchild... that felt really good. While it may be a small thing, the small things matter. Thank you.