Classes started up again and I was ready for what
was to come. I think I even brought my drawings from the break to
show my teacher and he got a real kick out of them. So then we got
our first assignment, a story taken place in the south I don't know
how many years ago about a lynching on a black man who was a suspect
for a crime. It was one of those stories where he was supposed to
receive a fair trial but the townspeople just wanted to kill him.
I think I did an o.k. job. For what the assignment was, I think
I made it interesting, colorful and well thought out. I don't mean
to sound full of myself, but I thought it wasn't bad. Hell, it was
a lot better than the rest of the stuff I was doing. It had nice
composition, interesting shapes, it was colorful and exciting and
you still got a sense of mood from the drawing.
up, another assignment. This time, a story based on a mental patient
and some of the things he went through in an institution. I don't
remember the whole thing, but this is kind of what I got out of
it. Again, I thought it worked. I was happy with the way it turned
out, and around this time, I started getting into arguments with
other people about whether the art looks "perfect" with every little
detail, or if details and perfection weren't as important as getting
your point across of what you're trying to say. I think my artwork
holds it's own, and yes, even though I don't work on details or
perfection in certain ways, I'm still anal retentive enough about
other parts where it will work out "just right". I think it's just
works out to my own definition of "perfection". (so I sound like
an art fag, big deal).
next few assignments were either hits or misses. I think they were
actually better than worse and I really felt I had something going
for me. I don't know exactly where I came up with this kind of style,
it might of actually been influenced by Keith Haring, although I
remember a teacher mentioning it was similar to some guy named Mark
Kostabi ?, I think. This assignment's theme was to describe an emotion.
I think I got it.
Now this drawing on the right, is my absolute favorite of
all the pastel and charcoal work to date, and if not, it's a real close
second. Assignment theme : describe an obsession. I just love the feel of
that giant pencil the guy in the center is holding and for the longest time
I wanted to build one out of paper mache'. It just looks so colorful and
fun. I loved this drawing so much, that I was bold enough on my mother's
recommendation to enter it into a contest at our town library where it would
be judged upon next to still life watercolors of fruits, paintings of lighthouses,
drawings of birds, Bob Ross rip-offs and yes, I even saw a Star Wars painting.
How did I do ? Well...guess who didn't win ? That's right, somebody's Bob
Ross or painting of a seagull flying over a lighthouse won over my pastel
drawing. I don't think they even looked at my drawing. Whatever...I didn't
want their stupid prize anyways, or their recognition.
It was also about this time, when my teacher
from school was getting a better look at my artwork. A lot of people thought
they were oil paintings. I was spraying these things with real heavy coats
and giving them as much as 5 to 6 sprays. When my teacher realized that
it was pastels, he asked me if I was getting proper ventilation while spraying
these with crystal clear. ( I wasn't). He said, "You see how shiny this
layer of spray is on your drawing ? Well, that's what your lungs are going
to look like."
I don't remember every assignment from independent study, granted
it was only a semester long, but between having sketches for one
week and a finish for the next, I came up with 3 different assignments
I found. The first one was the most interesting I think. The theme:
"sex". That was it. I think it was kind of an exploratory assignment
based on the word and what I came up with as different aspects
I don't have a problem with sex,
but I usually felt people who did artwork on sexual topics just
didn't have anything better to do. This stemmed from my one year
as a cartooning major where everything was a dick or vagina joke.
It grew so tiresome and there was absolutely no talent in that
arena of cartoonists. That's one of the reasons why I changed
majors to illustration.
about this "sex" assignment. Well, what can I say, I had to do
research. I think a lot of it is just ideas from what you hear
about and see in movies of what some things are supposed to be
like. I think I remember hearing how all these powerful businessmen
in high positions love to get the shit kicked out of them. Thinking
about how dark of a subject it could be but yet find some part
of it that just makes it look beautiful. I think I kind of got
that with the shape of the "slave" person here. I guess that's
why some people think of bondage as being so erotic.
on the same "sex" theme, I started thinking about before and after
I think, which led me to this next one. The reaction or consequence
to sex. You know it was that same position that got this girl
here. But in any case, it has a very laboratory/experimentation
feel to it. I almost don't believe that woman is pregnant, but
I do love the shape of that big fat belly. I don't know, I think
that doctor might be a "chubby chaser". I don't recall any other
assignment from the semester as much as this one because I think
this one just had something about it that made it very intriguing,
interesting, somewhat clean or sterile and yet harmless. As dark
as these drawings were, they kind of made me feel good.
next one is pretty interesting. When my teacher gave me this assignment,
he described his example. He asked me, "have you ever been in a
nudie booth?", (kind of like, "have you ever been in a turkish prison?),
to which I responded no. He then went into complete detail about
what a nudie booth was like. Uh... I'm not sure what my reaction
was at the time, but it was like, "pervert", I don't want to hear
about my teacher getting his rocks off. In any case, I didn't do
the research on this part, but I took his word for it. I guess I
once again tried to capture the seedy dark undertone of the peepshow,
(yeah, like there's a positive side), and I hate to say it, but
it is also one of my favorites. I did do a lot more drawings on
the topic, and what I was actually proud of was I think I really
delivered on the idea without getting filthy or having to draw penises
everywhere. To this day, I haven't got the slightest clue what a
nudie booth or peepshow is like, (but is a lapdance the same idea?).
enough sex, we can always talk about it later when we're alone.
One time, my teacher allowed me a
free project. I think he just ran out of ideas but he left it up
to me on what I wanted to do. I thought it would be funny to do
these bald faceless figures in a hair salon getting a hair cut.
Just the irony of the whole thing, but I guess it was more of an
inside joke in a way, you'd only get it if you saw the rest of my
pastel pieces. I went along with it anyway, as silly as it was.
It didn't work out as I had hoped and it wasn't as funny as I anticipated.
(no one understands my sense of humor).
year, the school puts together a book of student's artwork from
that year. Usually, the aim is to get your piece on the cover of
the book. Every year, it goes by number as per edition, 10, 11,
12, 13, etc. The year I was graduating was # 14. I'm not sure what
compelled me, but I thought it would be hysterical to have some
guy going on an interview showing an art director his portfolio,
and the whole portfolio is just page after page of numbers. (no
one understands my sense of humor). I thought it was funny, genius
even, yet simple. Well, to no surprise, it was not chosen. I'm not
sure exactly who won the cover, I think it might of been one of
those kids who paint everything perfectly, every little detail,
every eyelash...yeah, whatever.
I believe this was the last pastel
drawing I did while in school, and actually the last one I've done
since. I think I just got burned out from the work, the pastel dust,
the spray, I guess the health issues made me think about it a little
more. I remember working a little more on watercolors or color pencils
after that. But that was the end of the ride that pastels took me