Liking my art or liking me?

Is it me or there's a huge surge of artists on social media posting, not their art but themselves? Am I the only person who's dismayed by the social media induced me me me-ism that's also taking over the art world?

Don't get me wrong, artists have always been about themselves and their visions and unapologetically so. But through their artworks, creative process, and definitely not their selfies. 

State of Need, Mixed media printed on silver dibond, 2013

I don't know man, maybe it's because my entire childhood was technology-less, and only the latter half of my teenage years did cellphone and social media became everyday norm. I just don't compute how if art is an extension of yourself and your innermost thoughts, would you override that sentiment and post images of you and you and you? 

I get it if you open up a separate personal account and just post about your edited but fabulous life through closeup shots of desaturated scone and coffee mug, or if your focus of art is using your body and face to explore deeper meanings of whatever.

I get all of that but when I start to see artists glam-ing up as though they are one of those fashion influencers and bloggers, I just don't understand nor can I relate to that type of visual content that no longer carries artistic substance. 

State of Want, Mixed media printed on silver dibond, 2013

There was this artist who I used to admire on instagram and followed her art obsessively. The past 7 months I started to see her account flooded with images of her traveling, her taking tea, her going to fashion related events, and her posing with other quasi-celebrity somebodies. 

In her tight sequin rompers, her followers shot up by the thousands but where did her art go? 

Self branding/promotion through popular image is on the rise and definitely has its merit, but when it starts to override the real content of what you are trying to do as an artist, that's when I start to find my own petty jealousy not worth the effort. 

I suppose an unexpected dilemma of being an artist in this modern world is to be conscious of the type of images you are creating: content-driven or social media driven. 

Fear is

I think as an artist, a huge part of my process is confronting fear, and in so doing learning a new trick, a new technique, or even a new way of looking at things.

For the life of me, I'm not a realist artist who can paint or illustrate photographic portraiture of anything. I'm just not interested in depicting things realistically, and rather prefer to interpret the subject through representation or some kind of conceptual extrapolation. 

Practice sketch in watercolor. Still fantastical with realism accents. 

For the longest time, most of my art focuses on fantastical illustrations that are NOT faithful to reality in every sense of the word; and I really don't give a two figs. When digital rendering was made possible with the creation of photoshop, illustrator, and CAD; I jumped onto the band wagon and never looked back. 

Over a decade later I found myself at a loss for not understanding why many of my artworks were flat flat flat. Something was missing but I didn't know what it was until I signed up for Dacia Gallery's residency and boom!

My very first life painting session knocked me down with the horrific realization that I have lost the cognitive ability to see the in-between colors, which blend everything together and give you that realistic facade. 

When working in digital media everything is manipulated to the point that a subject's exposure, and colors are so heightened and intensified that all the middle tones are squeezed out. Working in digital media also doesn't allow one's brain to really see the many colors that make up the blues, the greens, and the reds. Under the sunlight, a leaf is never just green but an array of greens and yellows, sometimes even red and blue depending on the light and the cloud coverage. 

So I flipped, big time, still freaking out the fact that my brain has lost the ability to observe, discern, and execute. And yet, I'm still here, like millions of other artists practicing one sketch at a time to redeem myself.

Again and again 

Underwater, in watercolor, digital textures, and who knows what else mixed media. 

Until I can choose NOT to be a realist artist not because I can't draw realistically, but because I choose not to. 

I suppose fear is, for many artists like me, the perfect motivation to learn something new and in the process solving the many problems, which eventually will develop into our own unique styles. Definitely not for the faint hearted. 

Art is

Since this is an inaugural post of my blog, I've decided to share with you all what art means to me:

1. The best anger management tool. 

Ink was created when my flight to Seattle was cancelled and rebooking would have cut down my vacation by 4 days out of 7...Ugh! To top it off, my baggage still flew to Seattle despite my effort to file reclaim. Let's just said it took another 3 full days for me to receive my baggage. 

2. Art is where I can safely emote when real life and its inhabitants don't permit or accept the fact that I sometimes simply wish to tear my hair out. I can rage through colors and each brush stroke is a cathartic attempt to heal and find peace. 

Gelidas Vultus  from Impossible Beauty series 

3. Art is also where I record my observations of phenomenons, objects, and interactions between living beings. The good, the bad, and the weird I totally relate to but not always. 

4. Art is an extension of my thoughts, my ideas, and my dreams. 

5. Art is the life I've chosen for myself and it is not always beautiful. 

Pudgala from Conception of Self series 

6. Last but not least, art is the most productive method to negate insomnia.