Paint as you like!


This is my first try at “pixel art” from this morning. I made it in the Aseprite program I got on the Summer Steam sale. The picture might seem like nothing amazing, but it was a lot of fun. And, I told you I was going to make a little art. After writing this blog, I’m going to title it: “Happy Death”

Since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed drawing. I just had an internal sense of joy of doing it. I didn’t realize that other people out there in the world had all sorts of confidence issues around drawing. Now that I’m all grow’d up I’ve heard the story a million times, the story of how someone who put their heart out there, made a drawing and then some callous jerk told them that their art was stupid. From that point they felt like they would never be able to make any good art. Myself, I’ve had people say that they didn’t like what I made, or didn’t get it or whatever. Numerous times. What matters to me though is if I liked what I made. Even if the result isn’t perfect, what about the process of making it, was it fun? Was I able to explore and play around on the page? It’s like I’ve always had no interest in whether other people liked my art of not. If they did, then that’s just bonus points, I guess.

Is there an issue of talent here? Can everybody be good at drawing? Are some people better off not drawing? Kurt Vonnegut was one of those writers who thought you couldn’t really teach great writing. You just had the knack, or you didn’t. If you had the knack, you could build it up and get great, but if you didn’t, there’s just this glass ceiling that you can’t really get past and you might as well not try. Myself, I’m not sure on this subject. I’ve never thought to discourage anybody from drawing, telling someone that they didn’t have the talent to be an artist. What really is an artist anyhow? If an amateur artist is an artist that doesn’t take himself (or art) too seriously, than that is certainly what I am. I am someone who just loves to play around with visual artsy stuff and what I make, I’m often quite happy with. However!, I do not have the same impenetrable armor when it comes to writing.

I recognize that I have limits when it comes to my writing ability. I don’t have any aspirations for greatness in writing, but I do enjoy it from time to time. I mean, I blog here and there, which is a bit of writing. I certainly don’t think I’m making literature or anything. Kurt Vonnegut’s or Sherman Alexie’s writing, I feel, is light-years beyond what I am capable of.  Even your average journalist, compared to me it is clear that I just don’t have the chops. I never really wanted them though. When I read a lot of people’s work, I am in awe of their ability. When I listen to people giving speeches, I am often truly amazed by people who have a gift for weaving words in such a way that their meaning comes into my mind as smooth as satin. I don’t do that, I can’t, I won’t. But that doesn’t silence me, I still have stories to tell and bad jokes to make. To stop writing because I can’t write professionally is just silliness. Just like how some obnoxious turd telling you your drawing is stupid shouldn’t stop you from drawing ever again.

So who are these turds anyway? Aside from those mean people with no talent who just want to hurt our feelings, it seems like these gate-keepers tend to be people who actually do have at least a smattering of talent. That’s why it hurts when they belittle us, we might have had a certain respect for their opinion. These kind build a wall up and say they are an artist and the rest of the world isn’t. Their confidence is based upon their uniqueness in comparison to others. And that’s a pity, because they may actually be making amazing stuff.

I don’t know what makes people like this and I would probably be wrong if I tried to pin one thing on someone. Many artists who do this have interesting art. I find a lot of art interesting actually. But, I just don’t get the sort of elitism that comes along with a certain amount of talent or skill. I’ve always encouraged my friends to make art and I’ve seen many of them grow their abilities far beyond what they thought they were capable. I couldn’t or wouldn’t make art that way. Not in a box, not with a fox. Not in a giant peach, not in a dream that’s out of reach. The realm of art and creativity is something I see as a place open to all. Some have great talent and take their medium to heights that nobody has ever seen and some might not, but all can enjoy doing it. It doesn’t belong to any “artistic-type”.

As for writing, there seems to be even more gate-keeping. People can get away with showing off beginners art, but showing off beginner’s poetry? People revile bad poetry!  What if you inappropriately used a semi-colon instead of a colon in your writing? Welcome to a new level of hell!  But if you were trying to fill in part of your picture with a certain color and accidentally missed a spot, really, its not that big of a deal. Its art!  That’s the way I see it at least. Talent or not, write, talk make art, just enjoy yourself. As Henry Miller says: “Paint as you like and die happy.” And Henry Miller was a writer, who only later picked up painting.



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