Usually I keep track of what I am reading/making with Twitter and Instagram, but both mediums aren't geared toward at-length developed thought. On social platforms, posts need to be funny or cute, exciting, or helpful in some way. These journals will record my art processes, thoughts, and discoveries without any kind of pretense.
During Hurricane Harvey I couldn't really make art. The only piece I made during the entire 7+ days of rain and wind was the piece above, where I drew a series of houses flooded by black water.
My thoughts here were: each house is a special world of its own, but disasters like floods are faceless and the same. The water is unkind and unrelenting, the houses are unique and lost.
The piece above came from an idea that swooped down on me while I was sitting in Houston traffic several weeks ago. I had a vision of a woman striding forward and holding up her hands and something was in her hands, some kind of power or energy. The early version of this piece looked like this:
Only later on did I realize the power and energy was supposed to be a part of an identity, a mask, or a different face.
Hurricane Harvey kind of wrecked my progress on my comic - I was so anxious about securing resources before the storm and the repeated tornado warnings that, unfortunately, I did not get too much artwork done. How other artists manage to do anything coherent during times of disasters/war continues to be a complete mystery to me. Fortunately though, what I did decide during the storm was that I never want a Cintiq tablet. I never want something related to art creation to be attached to a wall where the power can go out. The pressure sensitivity on the iPad Pro, especially in Procreate, is perfect. I'll always be working on the iPad Pro, or subsequent versions of it, or with traditional media.
What I am reading/watching/playing right now:
Like many I've been watching Game of Thrones. The writing in the latest season fell a bit flat for me - characters started stating outright intentions and began confronting each other awkwardly (What was up with the 'Be a dragon' moment?). I was worried the entire series jumped the shark when Euron said "Give your uncle a kiss" in episode 2. I feel major fans of the series are probably a little disappointed at these dumbed-down encounters, but there were some redeeming moments. Basically I am glad Jorah survived and will live to see another season. As long as my two favorites survive...
I watched the Death Note Netflix Movie, and though I think the actors and directors tried, it was pretty bad as an adaptation and a stand-alone movie. I made a list of reasons why, then I realized nobody needs to see this list - it's just not a great movie. Marc and I decided to rewatch the original series and the first episode of the anime is about 9000x more sophisticated than the entire live-action film.
I read the first book of Earthsea Cycle and am now reading the second book in the series. While it took me a while to get used to the expository writing style of this book, I can say it was a refreshing read for our times. It's a kind of writing that would never be published today - it is too calm, too assured of it's simple reality, and not gory enough.
Speaking of returning to past classics, I also read volumes 1 and 2 of the original manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
This turned out to be a timely read about the absurdity of war, and the strength of peace. Nausicaa is the ultimate anti-war character, in fact I don't think I've seen another character in fiction who is so resolutely powerful against fighting/violence. The comic doesn't condescend or dish out a preachy kind of anti-violence - it's more practical, active peace. I'd recommend anyone to read it or reread it right now.
On the non-fiction side of things, I am currently working through the writings of John Dewey, a philosopher I was unfamiliar with, but who turns out to be an incredibly interesting person. Reading through Dewey's Art as Experience, I was floored that it was published in 1934. So much of what Dewey says seems contemporary, and his writing style strikes me as updated.
In these two pages, Dewey sees artists as similar to scientific thinkers:
All of the problems Dewey discusses seem to continue to be problems today in the art world. Dewey also has great faith in artists, and sees them people who are similar to scientists. I did some cursory research on John Dewey and found he was an early supporter of women's sufferage, and often beseeched his contemporaries to see women as human beings. I find myself infrequently disagreeing with him, which I think is good. I was trying to think of why I never ran into John Dewey's work in school - maybe he was not taught because his ideas are not extreme enough, or, because it seems someone may have to be a bit older than 19 to really latch onto Dewey. There is more still to learn.