Today has been a quiet one, I spent most of my day taking care of my daughter Lyric and reading. I’m in the middle of reading Prospero Burns from Dan Abnett. It hasn’t really gone the way I imagined it so far, but that doesn’t mean it won’t turn out to be an incredible book. I’ve had this experience with a lot of books, they start off with a vague story that seems unguided and BAM! You can’t put the damn thing down.
For those of you who actually know me, you might know that I prefer to read in the bath. I can sit in a hot tub for hours and plow through books. I think it’s because of the quiet, or the sound of the running water. I can just really immerse myself in a book. I’ve never been fond of a reading chair or laying down and reading. I toss and turn frantically trying to find a comfortable way to read. The only complaint that I have of reading in the bath is that I have to take my reading glasses off and wipe my forehead due to the heat. I never had this problem before I had reading glasses.
I have always had perfect vision, I’m one of those people that can read signs from forever away. Whether it’s because I can piece words and phrases together from shapes or that I can read it perfect I don’t know. It wasn’t until recently I took my yearly trip to the optometrist and realized I needed something to help my reading habit. My eyes were getting tired and I would stop reading more quickly than before because I was exhausted. So my doctor suggested reading glasses, I didn’t think that would fix whatever this was, but he knows better than I. We go through all the tests and I’m good, he said I may have an astigmatism in my right eye, just a very slight one he said. So I think what’s the deal then? He sits me down and hands me a pamphlet with different sized lettering. He then puts some lenses over my eyes and everything becomes clear to me. Quite literally, the words on the page are sharper and clear. There is no haze or strain. Awesome. I tell him I’ll take em!
A week later I announce that I’m getting glasses on Facebook, because the world has to know important knowledge like this. To my immediate delight my friends begin to call me a hipster. Finally, I’ve been labeled. No longer am I the fat kid in 6th grade, I’m the 30 year old hipster because I have thick black frames I use for reading. Clearly I am worthy of such labeling. I sit down and brush my beard and drink my Pabst Blue Ribbon while reading something you’ve probably never heard of. No..it’s more like drinking Fat Tire and reading a graphic novel or a 40k novel, all the while stroking my beard. So yeah. I guess I’m a nerdy kind of kid. This shouldn’t come as a shocker to anyone.
So today while I was reading I get a message from Nathan Watson about a question I asked him earlier. For those of you following the story of my blog, Nathan is an artist that works for Lucas films. He’s done comic books of Toy Story and his own independent comic books as well. I met him at Stockton Con and commissioned him for a drawing. Ok, caught up? Good. So I asked him yesterday if he would take commissions from Facebook, to which he said he would. He told me the price and I thanked him. I gotta save some cash for down the line when I want more custom art. He said thanks for supporting him.
So this brings me to the thought process of my old work. I used to sell art for similar numbers as to what he was asking for. I had a professor who used to tell me to never give my talent away for free. I’ve had a pretty decent art career albeit short. I had a piece in a small museum in Clear Lake, I always had my artwork displayed in pamphlets for Bay Area Turning Point. I’ve sold my art down in Galveston at various Art Walks. I sold my 11×14 drawings for 100 bucks and my 18×24’s for 200. I made some decent money doing it, but I’ve learned something from all of this.
When I was at the art walk I should have sold my stuff for cheaper. I feel like I was a greedy asshole who wanted more than what I was worth. I have talent for sure, but not something that would make you empty your pocketbooks and tap your bank accounts for. It should have been like this, twenty bucks for an 11×14 drawing and maybe thirty five bucks for an 18×24. I would have made less money, but I think it would have gotten my stuff out there a bit more. I mean I was still figuring out my niche at that point in time, so these would become dust ridden drawings in my garage down the line.
So when I met someone of Nathan’s caliber, it put something into perspective for me. I was jack crap in the art world. That’s OK too. I’m not upset by this, I just recognize that there are so many talented artists out there who are way better than I am. I originally went to school with hopes of working in the comic book world. I wanted to draw for Marvel or DC. My idol is Frank Miller, the guy basically sat outside of Marvel studios and asked for a job everyday. Then one day, he got one! I think too many people want to be handed a job now days. It doesn’t work like that. You have to work your ass off to get a job that you really want. At this point, I’ll be happy if Michael’s calls me back about a framing job.
In my life, I’ve changed my mind a lot of times. I want to do everything and focus on nothing. Life is short and I want to enjoy it. I want to work in all the different fields out there. I hate being labeled as whatever job I do. I think it’s a terrible standard. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s common place and people live on it now days. I like being Ryan. It’s what my parents named me and it’s who I am. Sadly though, I have to find a niche and soon because my kids will have better jobs than me soon. I’ve really considered going back to school for my teaching credential to teach art. I love art and everything about it, I just haven’t made a name for myself in it.
Today got some great things in the mail from my Mother-in-law. She sent me several sketch pads, which I was in dire need of, and about 150 oil pastels from 3 different companies. They’re all really great and this isn’t something that I asked her to do. It’s a random gift that came at a good time in my life. I think that it might be a sign to get back into creating and doing that which I love. Art. So inadvertently I have come full circle to before I was married. It’s easy to get caught up in the family life and lose sight of yourself. I’m looking forward to creating again. I think I need it.
By no means does this mean that I won’t be focusing on my family life. That’s the most important thing in my life. Easy. I’m just gonna step out and do something with my old lady art once in a while.
Thanks for reading. Putting your mind on the internet is a strange trip indeed.