Eleven years ago, a co-worker told me I needed to focus on one aspect of design – typography, illustration, retouching, etc – and push forward with that one thing. In some ways, that person was right, because I’d probably be way further along in my career. Eleven years later, I could very well be the go-to guy for _______. But that was never going to happen because I can’t ever stick to one thing in the first place.
Look at this 11×14″ Sharpie sketch of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray. It’s not bad, and I don’t think I’m bragging when I say its better than what the average person could do. But if I focused on these ink sketches for the next five years, in 2022, I’ll look back and probably say this piece sucks.
Even as I type this, I’m already halfway through a piece in which I’m burning a quote into a piece of reclaimed wood, which I will then hang on the wall. I’m already thinking of other wood-burning projects I can do for myself, and others. And then there’s that 75%-finished canvas of the Muppets’ Electric Mayhem resting on my easel downstairs. And the Superman collage I’ve been meaning to get to. And, of course, there’s the latest in my series of digital maps, this one of Atlantic City. And yes, I have three other goalies I’d like to sketch in the above style (Patrick Roy, Curtis Joseph, Ken Dryden… kinda wish I realized I was using a navy blue pen on Murray before it was too late. This blue would have been great on a CuJo Maple Leaf’s sketch. That’s what I get for drawing in the dark.)
I’m not going to lie, it’s frustrating to be pulled in so many directions. I feel like I’m not getting anywhere with my art. But I also know that if I only drew ink sketches like this, I’d be bored out of my damn mind. It’s why you don’t see me making Foogos anymore. I’m just over it. Does anyone else feel like this? Have I not found my voice yet? I don’t know.
I need to tinker with every medium I can get my hands on. I’ve taught myself how to paint (I’d say I’ve moved from utter shit to remedial) and I’m continually evolving my collage process; I just moved from putting pieces together on illustration board – requiring an additional investment of frame, plexi and matte – to canvas. The latter presents itself with new challenges, namely how to preserve these dissected comics that are now completely exposed to the elements, instead of behind a glass. I’ve got a Pride flag made entirely with X-Men comics that will be my first experiment in sealing with a combination of Liquitex solution and some other spray I bought. So I supposed I’m moving forward in that department.
I guess I’ve just got to keep pressing onward, doing a little bit of everything, and if I live long enough, I’ll have a decent body of work to leave behind. That will be someone else’s problem, though. In the meantime, I’m off to wood-burning.