Not The Walrus
Hello again. Some of you might have noticed I’ve been away for a while. You may call it a spirit quest, you may call it an identity crisis, you may call it cowardice. Whichever name you tack onto it, my website and I went through a necessary disaffiliation and our relationship is now stronger as a result.
I spent the better part of last month working, destroying paintings, pondering the complexities of human existence. All of this was in an effort to determine how my “identity” reflects in my work, why I do what I do, and why the things that inspire me, inspire me. When I was done I realized that, at the very core, what I like to do is draw. I feel this perverse obligation to identify as an “illustrator” based on the need for commercial recognition and financial security, but I don’t get the same thing out of it that I do with pen to paper, alone in the studio. At work I sit at a desk in front of a machine all day, and everything I do is a conversation between me and this piece of hardware. The end product may be technically good, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. The endgame is someone else’s endgame.
So I draw that line in the sand. I’m always making something, but at work I do the things I have to do to keep others happy. At home, I do my own thing. It’s a commitment, but worthwhile, and advantageous to be able to recognize that divide early on: that you can do commercial work, and you can also leave the time and space for yourself to be an artist in the truest sense.
For me, every drawing I make is a question. Hanging them, sharing them with others, is an attempt at finding some answers. I may never get those answers, but it doesn’t stop me from asking them. My hope is that maybe by the time I’m dead, I’ll have a better understanding of the world I’ve left behind, and others will have some insight into who I am based on the work I’ve done. That’s all anybody really wants: to be recognized for their relevance in the world.
> “No, I’m just an ordinary walrus. But I get that all the time.” ballpoint pen, 2010