I've had kind of a rough fall season.
I blogged a bit and kept track of everything that happened during Hurricane Harvey. While we suffered no damage, the mental stress of Harvey was tough on me. The sky was dark for days. We lost the internet. We ran out of data on our phones and got charged for it. At one point there was just no food left in our area, there were looters, and people became kind of dangerous.
Right after life was sort of getting back on track after Harvey, I was downsized from my job. It was probably for the best overall, but still came as a shock.
One lesson I have learned in these recent weeks of being unemployed (which hasn't happened to me for over ten years) is that the ideas that I create as an artist during times of stability and times of uncertainty are very different.
Occasionally while driving in Houston to my software implementation day job, a relentless art idea would just close its jaws down on me.
One early morning, while stuck in a gradually-budging chain of traffic, I stared at the bumper of the car in front of mine and had a vision of a woman magically transforming herself. She was holding out her hands and some kind of energy was forming between her palms.
I worked all day at the office, sketched the idea in my calendar notebook, then I went home and started drawing it. It took me about 6 hours to finally finish the piece over a weekend:
I had several art ideas like this over the past year while driving in Houston. The ideas would just emerge out of the diffused humidity and demand to be made. If I didn't make them, I would feel like I was stifling some part of myself.
Lately, without a daily traffic jam and endless bumpers to stare at, I realize my process is a bit different. Yet, I'm definitely creating more. I've made over 50 pieces since being downsized, and they're all just as deep as what I was creating during a time of stability.
Hurricane Harvey also kind of stopped my progress on my comic, Tilted Sun. But the good news is that I am finally able to think about the comic again and also make a few panels.
I just couldn't think as a director for a while - I had to get back to a stable place. To make a comic, I've realized you HAVE to think of the process like a film director. There is really no other way. Though comics may not have music or sound effects, it still helps to think in terms of what kind of music a certain panel might have. Overall I guess what I am saying is I continue to take the comic's production very seriously, which takes time.
When I did have traffic-jam stability-born ideas that just took over and demand to be made, such as the woman transforming herself, I can bring those ideas back into the comic or larger projects as a whole. Though ideas happen at different times for different reasons, they don't have to exist on their own - they are all a part of the story to tell.
There is probably still a myth out there where the more tortured an artist is, the better their artwork is. This is a myth. Stability is good for art, not being in a hurricane is good for art. The art created is just different, as far as I can see. You be the ultimate judge :)