Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dragon*Con Art and a Gallery Wall!

Every year at Dragon*Con, I go through the same routine. I tell myself I'm not going to buy anything, I'm going to save money for once, I don't really need anything anyway... And then I wander into Artist Alley and all self-control goes out the window. I've discovered quite a few new artists that way, and this year I went a little crazier than normal and bought a gazillion prints.

I finally got them into frames, and, along with some of the other framed arty things we had lying around, my husband and I hung them all up on one super awesome gallery wall. The enormous blank space over the couch had been empty for way too long, so we decided to throw everything up there and see how it looked. It definitely outs us as mega-nerds right off the bat, but anyone we invite over probably knew that about us anyway!

(Please pardon the awful phone photos in this post!) Since you can't really see them well, here are the prints I bought at Dragon*Con:

ShiShi by Leslie Ditto

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Silencing the Critic and Other Advice for Creatives

One of my favorite events at this year's Dragon*Con was part of the art show programming. Shocking, right?

5 Lies to Bust for Freeing Your Creativity was a lecture by author and illustrator Janny Wurts. While I was not familiar with her work, I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and wanted to share some of the points that really struck a chord with me. These are the heavily paraphrased nuggets of insight I took away from her much more extensive (and eloquent) presentation.

No one has your unique viewpoint except for you. Don't deprive the world of that. Put in the work and time to do justice to that unique viewpoint. 

You must form the neural connections you want to use. That means practicing every day, whatever your medium. 

The thoughts you're thinking right now create your future. Banish self-doubt, self-pity, feelings of inadequacy- whatever negative thoughts are impeding you from creating the future you want.

Realize that depression is anger you think you're not supposed to have.
[Whoa. This was probably the most personally relevant thing I've heard in a long time.]

Good work is an investment in your future, so no excuses. Low pay or other less-than-ideal circumstances are no excuse for doing less than your best. Every piece is an opportunity to add to your portfolio and build your skills. 

You can't create and destroy at the same time. Silence the critic while you create. 

What you think is perfection is actually mediocrity. See item #1, re: your unique viewpoint. 

Good stuff, right? Afterwards I had the artist equivalent of that feeling you get after a really good church sermon; chastened, but inspired.

Today I saw a quote from David Bayles that relates really well to that last point. Since I'm obviously on a self-help kick today, I figured I might as well throw it in for good measure!

The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections are your guides- valuable, objective, non-judgemental guides to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.
So what's your biggest obstacle to nurturing and expressing your creativity? For me, it's time management, but these ideas have me reevaluating my attitude as well. I'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment about your struggles with living a creative life.

quote via Skinny Artist, photo by Patrick Feller via Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finally Recovered from Dragon*Con...

Dragon*Con teris group costume
Yes, it has taken me a full week to recover from the epic annual nerdstravaganza that is Dragon*Con. Besides being a full 5 days of non-stop geekery, the con always falls on my birthday weekend, so add a hangover to the mix and you may be able to imagine just how much it sucked to return to work on Tuesday. (No offense to my fabulous co-workers, but y'all are kind of a letdown after being surrounded by Stormtroopers and superheroes all weekend!)

One of the highlights of Dragon*Con for me is always the Comics and Popular Arts Conference, which provides academic programming on a variety of subjects. I attended some great sessions on everything from misogyny in gaming to portrayals of black masculinity in comics to Buddhist philosophy in Serenity.

My husband also presented at CPAC, with an examination of diversity in comic books. Head over to Journey Into Awesome to check out his Superhero Census Abstract.

Needless to say, I had a fantastic time and way too many awesome and exciting moments to express it all here on my blog. Check back soon, though, because I have a few more Dragon*Con related posts in store!

crappy photo taken by me (also one of my favorite costumes of the weekend!)