Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hissy Fits, Alfonse, and Matrimony

Alfonse and Domingo! Summer! Clouds!

A version in the forest that everyone likes but I don't as much :p

A sketch with colors I still like best!

Hi Everyone!

So first-off, some fun- anyone remember these guys? Alfonse and Domingo are some old original characters' of mine from my college days. I've had a soft spot for them, and been meaning to revisit them for a while now- tweak their designs etc. And you know- it's summer, so it's time for a little fun, silly art!

I have been a little nervous about approaching a full digital illustration lately.
It's dumb- I've done plenty before, but somehow character design has become my comfort-zone, and it's been really hard to coax myself out of it without very clear reasons. Why go there? And it's funny- it's not less intimidating, no matter how many watercolor landscapes I make or little scratchy paintings- it's always difficult to approach something final. Anyways, I was driving and listening to this on the radio, and I had this idea to revisit these old characters and just do something kind of derpy and fun, to break the seal.

I am kind of neck-deep in an art identity-crisis right now, if that hasn't been WILDLY OBVIOUS to EVERYONE. :p

I keep on trying new things, doubling back, looking at my old work, convincing myself I am losing my touch, panicking, collapsing into a heap, getting excited about new things, looking disdainfully on my old work...rinse and repeat. Somehow, the dry times and the down-swings always feel new...and I forget that I've been here before...and by God's grace I will find my footing again. Still- sometimes I feel like Howl having a hissy fit.

Me, this morning.
Okay, maybe more than sometimes.
But you know what? Inspiration comes and inspiration goes. And it is foolish to base one's sense of worth and purpose on something as taciturn as 'feeling inspired' or 'making inspired art'. Maybe the art is even inspired and it's STILL not great...so maybe art in general is a bad place to find worth. In fact- I'm sure of it.


I saw a quote floating around, attributed to CS Lewis:
"Don't ever let your happiness depend on something that can be taken away from you."



Oho- whoah. Wait...that includes things like...Almighty Art. Romance. Even family. Like, even my drawing hand can be taken away from me.

Aren't I supposed to be finding my identity and sense of worth in Christ, anyways?
I always find it difficult to come back to the place where I remember- jobs, relationships, family members- it can all be taken away, but God's love can't. 
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8: 38-39

Speaking with a friend, he mused "what would the world be like if people walked around as if they were actually loved unconditionally." It would change everything.

So, even as I write this, it makes my art hissy fit seem...kind of silly. Small. If I am loved at the depth of my being- then what does it matter if I really hate the composition or the lack of value structure?
It's going to be ok.
Praise God.

And speaking of love: My little sister is getting married within the week! Yay mei-mei!
I am so unspeakably blessed to be home with my family right now, and to be able to observe as my sister prepares for this huge event in her life. She is...she's the best. And this is the best, and so exciting! I get to DJ the party! :D (and oho yes...there will be dancing.)
I also got to design their wedding invitation. I won't put any of the text on it, but the basic illustration is here:

#getexcited

In the meantime, I've taken on a few commissions. Notably, I've gotten a few requests for tattoo designs from friends. Which is always weird- because it's art to go kind of permanently on someone's body (my friend Travis reminded me that even our mortal bods are not permanent, but stillll...)
And if it's a friend the pressure is increased two-fold because
a) you care about them
b) you're going to SEE them a lot. And that means you're likely to see your work a lot. O_O

Nonetheless, we press on! (which has been my mantra though this month...just keep making art. No matter what) And the result of that is part 1 of 2...a Princess Peach tattoo for the aforementioned friend-Travis! Woo!


And for my very best buddies Jake and Peter, I have designed "If, like Hokusai's wave met The Old Man and The Sea" and "A buttterfly...but, like, abstracted so it's not totally...you know."


And, for myself...I've been plugging away on these simple little paintings (that I think of as like-songs), which I enjoy doing very much. So below is a little meditation on leaving, dusk, and the hills in the dark. Lightsailing.


That's it for now- I have more watercolors, but not time to scan them at the moment- so there'll be even more later! A few more little commissions to complete, and some prospects on the horizon that I am very excited about, but not ready to talk about just yet.
I hope you are blessed, wherever you are
Thanks for reading!

Much love,

-n

12 comments:

MimiLynch said...

1) I'm loving the additional Alfonse and Domingo. All of the versions.
2) Thank you for that reminder about what/WHO one's trust and happiness should really be placed in. It's a fact I too struggle with...although, reminding myself of that, I think it makes me appreciate my family, fiance, job, health, etc, all the more.
3) That is a gorgeous wedding invite.

valeracities said...

Oh Nick, I would SO commission a tattoo design from you! I'd love to know your rates...

Karla Diaz said...

Yes I know what you mean! I had that crisis some months ago and I overcame it thanks to a conversation with a friend... He gave me back the passion of drawing again, when you draw for fun. In my personal case I lost the passion because I was just drawing for money, totally unfocused. Now I love to draw even more than yesterday but as you say... we don't have to attach to those things.
Nice Journal entry!

Henrike said...

Hi Nicholas,

I loved this post! It`s true, sometimes we can get so caught up in this art-thing that it seems the most significant thing in our lives. Thanks for the reminder that it`s not. :)

Art identity-crisis happens to everyone. But they sure are uncomfortable...
Great idea to revisit your older characters. Sometimes it`s good to look back to the things you used to love to draw and start from there again. I hope you`ll find your confidence again soon.

Aww, that wedding invitation looks so beautiful and sweet. Have a great time at the wedding and all the best for your sister and your soon-to-be-brother-in-law!

Gabi Dimaranan said...

I just want to let you know that you should never stop blogging. You're one of the salt and light this world truly needs.

I actually dream that one day I'd blog like you...inspire people like me who mope a lot...be used by God to bless others with what I post, draw, say....

Anyway...I just want to say thanks. Your post is just so timely...that it hit straight through flesh, ligament, bone, marrow and soul.

That verse just put all my own hissy fit into shame....

Kudos also to your friend who thought about what if everybody was aware they were loved unconditionally...it hit square in the face. Hah.

Again thanks...and congratulations on the lovely things happening in your family. A wedding! The next best thing to a birthday! I wish you all the best...and party on! :)

matthew crotts said...

Hi Nick, I'm an illustrator as well, an occasional visitor of your blog, (bc I loved your stuff in Flight 8), and a Brother in Christ!

Got a question, do you know Dutch Reformed thinkers from the 20th century? Obscure by most standards. But one of them (Francis Schaeffer) started L'Abri (which I think you'd love looking into if you haven't already, at least for audio inspiration while you work), and another of them (H. R. Rookmaaker) said this: 'Never try to prove Christianity through art, but prove art through Christianity." I've been thinking a lot about this since I heard it, and I thought you'd like it.

Anyway, really appreciate your work, hope that quote is something interesting enough to chew on.

Matrimony said...

Great Post!!Like with anything I suppose, it’s only smart if you only do great stuff.

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Fertility Rituals

Marriage is one of the biggest fertility rituals Known in Indian culture. When two people get married. they are said to enter grihasta ashram where they are expected to bear children. satify their sexual urge, earn money and follow religious practices. Hindu marriages profess the idea of coming together of the energies and paving way to a new creation.

Offering of Grains

Throughout India, one thing that remains common to all communities is offring of grains in wedding ceremony. Mostly rice, puffed rice or whole grains, these grains are fed to the sacred fire in different ceremonies.

Importance of Shiva's Bael leaves

Holy Bael leaves are proffered in several ceremonies before the wedding and after it. In many communities in india, before the wedding day arrives, Bael leaves are placed in earthen pots which are topped with different kinds of cereals. After the wedding, the sprouted seedlings are then released in a flowing river or a pool. This ritual is performed to invoke blessings of Lord Shiva upon the married couple and pray for their progeny.

Vishnu's pious Lotus

As per mythology, at the time of creation of the universe, while lord Vishnu was pondering over the creation of mankind, a pious lotus rose out of his navel. On that lotus was seated Lord Brahma who paved way to the creation and illumination of the universe. Thus, lotus remains symbolic of procreation, birth and fertility. It is Therefore, offered during wedding puja to the gods to confer potency upon the couple. Also, At the time of a Hindu wedding, the bride and the groom are given the stature of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu because they represent the eternal companionship and exemplify how a relationship between husband and wife should be.

Nose ring

Usually seen as a piece of accessory, almost all brides sport nose ring on their wedding day. In some communities, girls are told to get their nose pierced before they tie the knot.

Sacred coconut rituals

Across India, since time immemorial coconut has enjoyed its association with human fertility in a sacrosanct manner. In Gujarat, there is a ritual of bride presenting a coconut in a customary way to the groom at the time of the marriage. Here coconut is symbolic of the progency of the couple that the bridegifts the groom. Of all the fruits, coconut is most closely related to human skull because of the three marking on its base that resemble human facial features.

The mantras of virility

During saat pheras in a Hindu marriage, there are several mantras that are chanted for progency of the couple. While the first phera is for a long lasting companionship, in the second Phera, "Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam", the bride promises the groom that she will fill his with love and will bear children of him.

The History

There was a time when potency was considered as the be all and all of all activities. The earliest ritual of fertility among Hindus can be dated back to the Harappan civilization where it has been discovered that people worshipped clay figurines of a mother goddess who represented fertility. Several phallic symbols representing gods in sitting position wearing bull's horns (Bull being a universal symbol of male potency) have also been found at the sites of indus Valley Civilization. As the world evolved and ancient civilizations paved way to the modern societies, marriage started being considered as a mandatory ceremony before women could conceive. Also, the idea of marriage was propelled by the thought of having the family legacy move ahead; so that families could get heirs.

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