Friday, June 18, 2010

poor me piss party



Haven't posted anything in a-while, this is the first thing I could post. This was supposed to be just a
sketch for a much larger painting but we might just print it and use it instead. My son and daughter are going to be 1 and 3 in July and their birthdays are very close. We're doing a combined party with a pirate theme and I wanted to create a backdrop for people to take their pictures in front of so I came up with the idea of this. It's quick and dirty, only about 45 minutes of solid work (I wish it was FASTER! But I'm still pretty green and slow). Most of this was just black and white till I used photo textures to bring in the colors I wanted. Even though my wife was happy with the result, and I was pleased last night. I think it sucks today. Which brings me to my reason for posting to my blog after such a long hiatus. Welcome to the suck.

First though, I should give some background. This week has been HARD. My son won't sleep through the night and my day job has been filled with stuff I'm not happy about working on, tons of office menusha to deal with (paperwork), and I feel like I'm in limbo.

So this week probably isn't the best to use as a reference because otherwise I've been very happy. I moved to a closer office, my new boss ROCKS, and I'm doing less Flash stuff and more design centric work. I finally got a bike and have started riding halfway to work (This week I've been waking up late thanks to my son's sleepus interuptus), I've been losing weight,  and I finished my matte painting for the short film I've been involved with, and submitted it to the Director/VFX supervisor. Things have been awesome.

But I need to have a poor-me-piss-party. So here it is.

As always, matte painting and concept art have been in the back of my mind. I haven't submitted my info to any jobs, I'm trying to improve my work (I still feel like it isn't good enough. More about that in a sec), but there haven't been very many jobs to apply for anyway. The VFX industry is taking a huge nose-dive. Only top artists have the influence to be hired from out of town. I'm not a top artist. The only way I'm going to get offered a matte painting gig in the vfx industry is if I move to California, and since I have have a family, I can't just go without a job. I've been saving as much as I can in my 401k. When the amount in my 401k reaches a certain limit, I'll cash it out and move to California with or without a job. I want to paint for a living bad enough that I'm willing to use my 401k for living expenses.

Getting a job in animation or games is equally as hard. Those industries are doing well but artists they're looking for currently more talented than me. I would LOVE to work in either industry but I either need a company to take a chance on me or I need to improve my skills beyond what they're currently looking for. Improving your skills takes time, and the only time I have is every night after work. My wonderful wife has been very supportive but I wish I had 8 hours a day (I enjoy painting during the day) instead of 2-4 hours at night. If I have to wait till I'm 40 to get my first paid painting gig than so-be-it.

The VFX industry is in such shambles though I'm beginning to doubt that I'll ever work in VFX. I recently realized that I could maybe use my 401k as part of startup fund for a business. I have tons of great ideas on how to run a new type of creative business, and I know quite a few freelance artists who would probably start one with me. I would rather work for someone else than run my own business. Someday that might change, but currently I just enjoy working than having the responsiblity of owning and running a business. So we'll see.

I'm tired of fighting my art demons. You would think that being in a constant struggle to slay demons, I'd be a more proficient soldier, but instead I just feel cynical and apathetic towards my own art.

I WANT to get better but because I don't see drastic improvements, I feel down. I know I'll "get there" eventually but I feel like I either need some schooling (aside from books/dvd's/ and a few special classes, I'm completely self taught), or a mentor who would be available to take me under their wing and stick with me through it all (One of the things I would do in my business would be to build a very solid mentorship program). Good artists typically don't have the time to mentor someone so I can't fault them for that.

To sum it all up, I feel like my art sucks. I'll keep improving, and hopefully I'll do it for a living. If I don't ever get a job as a painter, I won't stop painting. Art is like air for me. I have to have it. It has liberated me. E Ars, Libertas.

4 comments:

Shalin said...

You shouldn't be so down on yourself because you are one of the best artists I know! I know I'm your wife and supposed to say that but I mean it! I have seen the progression from when we were in schoo, then the day job stuff and u constantly teaching yourself and learning! But I'm glad u posted this because I think it helps you sift through the info in your head and work things out. :)

I love you and will continue to support and believe in you until you get your first matte painting job and keep supporting you through all the different projects you work on just like you do with me! Thanks!

Shalin

Björn said...

I hear ya! I would've taken the safer route, staying with your family to improve your skills. Moving to California won't magically make you a more attractive matte painter. A friend of mine who previously aspired to be a matter painter got freelance commissions from time to time solely based on his online portfolio. He's now working on the next top hollywood film. What I'm trying to say is, he's an awesome artist but he's not Dusso (not yet anyway) :)
( www.widebranch.com ). You are almost f***ing there! Just... keep at it just a tiny bit and you'll be there. Come on! :D

Rockhopper said...

http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=5706&utm_medium=editors_desk&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=highlights&utm_term=iron_man&utm_content=textlink&utm_campaign=20100617

if a security guard can do it so can you. Nuff said

Calydon said...

Matt,
Your post struck a chord with me because I also have a young family and I know how hard it is to try to make a career change while feeding kids.

It's true that your work isn't quite up to pro standards yet, but I see some small technical points that could make a big difference. My company is looking for a matte painter (freelance) so if you're available hit me up.