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Thread: Rural or urban creativity?
February 23rd, 2012 #31
I think I remember you? I do know of the BCA life drawing class and was there many times a few years ago before I went homeless and ended up living in Middlebury.
Are you really sure the Life Drawing classes there has dwindled down that badly? I'm a bit shocked about that and I wonder if it's the management that's screwing it up. My theory is probably that they're doing this at the wrong time where everyone's home and too busy. I mean, life drawing on a Monday night? In Cleveland, we had it on Weds nights which was'nt bad and I think BCA should've done this on the weekend. That's exactly what I did when Studio STK on North End Street existed a few years ago and proposed life drawing to Sage for Saturdays. It worked but not many came and I think it was due to lack of advertising/word of mouth AND probably a bit of monopoly on BCA's presence.
But you're right because BCA's Life Drawing is never in the summer and runs part of the year which is bizarre to begin with. In Cleveland, it was year round, regardless. I suspect it has to do with the limited grant money BCA gets and they get really frugal about it. Not to be offensive or anything, but I get the impression that there are boneheads who are driving the arts scene to the ground in Vermont here and there, making me question what the hell they were thinking.
I know Williston area very well and was just in that area today with a counselor. Yes, I'm Tony Soprano dealing with Dr. Melfi.
And yes I have a car and never use the bus . I used to live in South Burl, then Colchester and now here.
As for Donato, are you referring to THE Donato Giancola? If so, you're lucky. That man is a legend!
UVM and CCV is one I would avoid when art classes are concerned. I would look for professional workshops or possibly Champlain College. I'm not familiar with the Cambridge area, though.
As for the networking/connecting thing, I've been doing that for a long time now and know of JDK Design's CEO. I know of the local AIGA movement in Burlington and the who's who. I know of some BCA folks. I know of SPACE Gallery/Christy Mitchell. I know of Select Design, CEO Chris Webster (who's young daughter is part of the local fencing community).
As for lack of sci/fi and fantasy instruction here in VT, I'm not very surprised at all. In fact, about 6 years ago when I moved to VT, I heard of Massive Black holding a workshop seminar in Montreal back then. I had barely moved here and was so pi$$ed that I did'nt have money to attend, was'nt working and did'nt have a passport. And yet, it was 3 hours away from here right from my fingertips.
And I do know of that Illustration Masters workshop you speak of from Mass. But I've never been there, to be honest. I've been extremely curious about it and if I did that, I would have to drop my day job to go because it would be a long absence. lol.
EDIT: By the way, I go to Burl almost all the time on a weekly basis. This week, I won't be able to due to a fencing tournament in Sharon, VT. But usually on Fridays, I go up there to check out the art scene, shop around, and hit Half Lounge Speakeasy where live DJs perform. Once in a while, I would go to a underground goth/industrial show with DJs and people hanging around. One of them is an artist/illustrator himself.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberFebruary 23rd, 2012 #32
I'm gonna have to check out the Dagger Forum and subscribe to it to get a pulse and feel for it.
You're right that there is value in travel. I don't dispute that. I do envy people who have the money to travel and have their minds expanded. An old friend of mine travelled around the world with his family on certain trips and tells me stories that are really fascinating, almost like Bilbo telling Frodo of 'what's out there'.
How ironic and I'm turning invisible with that damned ring. Poetic.
If I can get explore Montreal for instance, it would open my mind up greatly and fuel the fire. I think you're right in that the idea of travel is to increase the visual vocabulary and that's exactly it but also to broaden my horizons and increase my options.
I think part of the problem is I've never really travelled much except to comic conventions in Pittsburgh or Columbus, but that's about it, which were two hours from my old house. I lived in a bubble of sorts for years when I was kid but I had to bust out of it after my late father passed on, and had to rely on myself in that old house before it got sold. I've always been an indoor person. By the way, I forgot to mention that I've been to Philly, Toronto and NJ during family trips many, many years ago. I hated long trips away from the city as a kid. Even to rural Pennsylvania. It just drove me up the wall.
I'm kind of like "Pink" from the film Pink Floyd living within The Wall, which hugely influenced me since 1979 and plus my old school for the deaf had large white brick walls in the hallway and classrooms that looked EXACTLY like, well, the WALL. Pretty profound.
But sure, I could walk to any place in this area and draw, if the weather permits. Or draw from books. I got my Aedificium* right here.
*Aedificium-latin for grand library. It's in "Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco. Work of genius but a long read and well worth it, ranking it up there with Narcissus and Goldman by Hesse, another book I worship.
Last edited by Pilgrim1099; February 23rd, 2012 at 11:26 PM.
February 23rd, 2012 #33Don't let ideas like "Creative Energy" or "Inspiration" be an excuse. Read visually stimulating books, research geography, cultures and architecture online.
Too many people think that their "lack" of something is due to location. That as soon as they move somewhere interesting and cultured they'll feel some magical surge of inspiration or creative energy. If you can't generate that stuff on your own, right now, then I wouldn't bank on anything being different just because you moved.
Where I live now, it's in the middle of the woods on the other side of the country. It's been pretty dead and slow here, I've been kind of artificially tapping into that urban energy by listening to west-coast artists like Bassnectar while I work.
I get the same giddiness once spring comes, but it has it's own unique flavor. So I like being out in the country as well. I think it's just a matter of finding something that makes you feel good and harnessing that energy. Each place is different, and has something new to offer.
It's true that some people live in isolated areas and have to make the best of their situation, but location can have an effect. Especially if the area where you live is very art oriented in the first place, and you really want the local scene to influence you.
To the OP, you might start feeling better once it warms up and things start turning green. If you feel that you need to be around other artists to get that vibe, then I would start looking for some place else to move.
I know how it is I'm moving to a city at the end of march that is really oriented towards sculpture. I can't wait to get up there and start meeting people.
February 24th, 2012 #34
Doug, I forgot to add that in regards to the lack of fantasy art instruction, or the presence of such a genre here, Steve Bissette is one presence for fantasy and horror art since he's famous for his Swamp Thing work with Alan Moore. The other kind of instruction for illustration would be the cartooning school of art and illustration in White River Junction, VT. I've never been in there but I've heard a lot about it.
Last edited by Pilgrim1099; February 24th, 2012 at 08:52 AM.
February 24th, 2012 #35
Yep... we used to talk a while ago, when I was part of this forum. Left for a while and now I'm back (Thanks to Noah... who gave some good information about the benefits of networking, etc in this forum).
Well, I used to go to the BCA Figure drawing sessions regularly when it WAS year-round. They stopped doing it year-round when it was just several of us during the summer time. The last couple of times that I showed up, there were around 10 people ... decent crowd. Like the gym, it's always the busiest around the beginning of the semester and then tapered off.
I don't tend to go much any more since I've got a lot of shows lined up and am busy painting to get ready for my shows/commitments.
Yep, THAT Dontao. I was fortunate enough to learn some stuff from him at last year's IMC. For illustrations, it's a fantastic week. You start around 7:00 a.m. or so and leave around 1:00 - 2:00 a.m. Then, hang out in one of the dorms for a little after-work party, each night. During the day, you have 3 lectures and the instructors are constantly coming around showing you how to fix your paintings, how to pump up the work, etc. They also give demonstrations (ie. Dan Dos Santos gave a fantastic demo on doing a portrait, Greg Manchess... well, it's just awesome watching him do a painting and explain what he's doing, Iain McCaig gave a fun demo on how to do creature design (with audience participation, etc)... and these aren't even part of the regular lectures)).
For the price, you get lodging, food, training, etc... you work very long hours and meet some great people. Personally, most of the people are way out of my league. I'm one of the very very few people that is not a professional illustrator/artist.
An artist that I recommend is Karen/Jack Winslow (http://www.winslowartstudio.com/paintings). She's in Cambridge, VT and teaches mass painting (I still think that she does it). The beauty is that the lessons cost $20 for 3 hours (http://www.winslowartstudio.com/paintings). I learned how to mass paint from her. She used to study with Frank Mason at the Student Art League. Yes, they are traditional work, but learning how to mass and evaluate relationships taught me the basics.
February 24th, 2012 #36
Okay, gotcha. Well, you probably remember me because I used to attend life drawing between 2005 and 2006 as I was the guy with the black skullcap with red skull on the front of it and hearing aid on the left ear. I remember Amanda used to moderate the sessions but she moved to the UK and then Florida, going around in professional internships in galleries (to my understanding).
Life drawing down here died out completely except for one local artist who runs a private life drawing session with her husband at their home/studio, but she does'nt have an email address and is notoriously hard to get hold of. I did go to their session once about four years ago which was a nice space with plenty of sunlight. Very 'ateliers' like, if you will.
Although, they're both very busy school teachers, so it's not guaranteed it'll happen. I'm beginning to think that whatever BCA is struggling with, it is probably budget-related and/or whoever is doing the programming is not doing it right. To be honest, I think Monday night is bad timing for life drawing.
I was considering going to that this Spring because fencing class in that season is once a week on Weds nights and not Monday evenings, so there might be less conflict to my scheduling. Although, the long drive there might be a huge gamble not knowing what to expect there. Big crowd? Small? It's hard to know. Although, having the comic and game shop across the street from the class is a nice bonus.
I'm aware of the Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School life drawing somewhere near Waterbury(?) and also in White River Junction, but they're too far off. I'm a bit shocked they did'nt think of doing this in Burlington because that is a perfect 'gateway' location between Boston and Montreal since there are Dr. Sketchy's in both of those cities, including my hometown Cleveland. It's like, they'll do it in those small towns but not in Burlington. It's like a huge WTF moment to me because there is a small burlesque movement in Burlington.
Burlesque Burlington. Get it? Sometimes they have thick skulls, it's unbelievable.
I had once considered trying to host a Dr. Sketchy's in Burlington but it requires red tape and all that. I still could, but I have to make sure that the others don't try to steal that 'spotlight' from me because that was my original idea three years ago before those people propped it up at WRJ and Waterbury(?). The problem is that the one in Waterbury 'died' out and then it's seeing a revival recently or should be re-opening soon due to a theater/coffeehouse renovation (from what I heard over the grapevine).
As for Karen Winslow, oh yes. I've heard of her. I have'nt a chance to go there but have seen her brochures at Artists Mediums all the time. It's a long distance of a drive, though. I never paint oils due to allergic fears and that I live in an apartment, so ventilation is an issue. So I stick with acrylics or watercolors. If I do oils, I'll do it digitally on my iMac or iPad. Although, I'm more of a dry media person with some wet on the side with ink, wash, etc. I still would like to infuse more classical/ateliers into my repertoire, though. I know I can do it, somehow.
I've been thinking a summer class at Champlain College and/or the Illustration Masters in MA, if I ever have the time and money to pull it off. The drawback is that I have to sit in the front and hear the instructor to read his or her lips to see what's going on.
Even if you're out of their league, that's okay. The point is to absorb new ideas, theory and techniques to carve your own path, all the while meeting like-minded people that you probably can't get around here which is probably a rarity.
Donato, it is then. Amazing!
Oh and here's the burlesque movement in Burlington at: http://www.spielpalastcabaret.org/
That's what I'm talking about. I knew the girl who was in charge of it and I think she is now teaching at UVM or working at another gallery/theater downtown. Very talented singer. Nice girl.
February 24th, 2012 #37
Yes. That's what I usually do by artifically tapping into urban energy when I can. I think sometimes the attitude of a town or city can rub you the wrong or right way. For instance, if the place you live at has a complacent attitude, then one could fall into that behavior the longer they stay in there. Or a place where there's high energy and the person may want more peace and quiet, vice versa.
As for Bassnectar, oh I've seen some of their songs on itunes time to time.
Even if it gets really warm, it's the deadness/quietness of the summer is what kills me. Especially around here. It's not a very arts oriented town in a profound way, but rather touristy which is the problem. The latter, I suspect, is why this attitude screws up the arts walk events here or the cause behind the lack of arts oriented workshops focused on design, illustration or drawing/painting. There used to be workshops at the Frog Hollow gallery from what I heard but it's now gone (apparently), almost as if it was suppressed. For one thing, this town is anti-corporate and somewhat afraid of competition. That's the impression I get.
But, you're right, though because relocation is what I have to do in the future to get away from the mundanity that kills me. There is an artists retreat in Johnson, VT way up north which is a very long drive and expensive, but it's not what I'm looking for, although it's a commendable thing they have going there which I respect.
Here's the place I'm talking about: http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org/
I don't think it's the only one around here, though but is among the few. I know of a local artist who attended there and she enjoyed it.
June 30th, 2012 #38
Well, I quit my job at the print shop due to limited hours and budget on the boss' part, deciding that it was impeding my ability to pay the bills and creative progress on my own. Not only that, the way he ran the business was bizarre. So now my responsibilities are passed onto an older lady who does promotions work, and one whom does not have a graphic design background. He's using her as cheap labor for in-house custom design work.
So I had to show her some basics of Photoshop and Illustrator tips along with InDesign but they're too deep to cover and I gave her a couple of links to books that I recommended as tutorials to allow her to catch up, including information to a local AIGA as a resource.
A good colleague of mine saw the email coming from my boss and thinks that he's going out of business sooner or later. I'm inclined to agree and they're going to shoot themselves in the foot.
So now I'm going back to freelance once again.
My advice to those who are tempted to work for a small print shop managed by an owner or boss who has no digital graphic design background, apply at your own risk. The problem can be compounded especially if none of the staff have any digital design background nor know their way around Adobe CS at all.
July 1st, 2012 #39
July 1st, 2012 #40
July 1st, 2012 #41
I can't say I've ever noticed that I'm more creative in any particular environment, but I have noticed that I come up with different types of ideas depending where I am.
I was on holiday two years ago in Feurte Ventura, and I had a dream that gave me a ton of ideas for one of the many comics I had been planning. However, this particular comic idea was one I had got stuck planning, and just 'shelved' for roughly 2 years. But somehow, going to a location so different from my home made something click within my mind, and I was able to finally connect the dots of the idea haha.
I'm going to Feurte Ventura again on Wednesday; I wonder if I'll have any unusual comic ideas while I'm out there this time? Perhaps I'll let you know when I get back
July 1st, 2012 #42
I'm starting to think that it is 50% dependant on where you live that affects your creativity and 50% on your inner drive to make it happen (aka inner motivation/inspiration). I think it's both external and internal. That's been my experience so far.
I've only been living in this area for about 5 years now so I can't move now due to the previous job that I just left. This area is economically "slow" (not a good thing), despite the college's powerful presence here.
At the moment, I'm just processing and getting the 'day job' PTSD out of my system.
And like you, I've had many ideas over the years and still do now. Living in VT did give me some breathing room to think and relax without getting all tensed up from the stress back from my original hometown.
I've had some ideas to tackle some graphic novels ideas I wanted to pursue and some that I wanted to remake from scratch. So, the good news is that I put the 'day job' distraction out of the way which is the first step so that I can focus on two projects that are ongoing at the moment, juggling between a book cover for a small press author and one iOS game gig with an old friend (from Toronto).
As long as I have these going for me, I'm going to be okay.
The next step is to save up enough $$ so that I can move out of this town closer to the big city in Burlington. It may take up to a year or so to pull this off because the old job really screwed my budget with lack of work recently.
I have'nt had the luxury or time to travel to Boston or Montreal to really discover the places and know if they're going to be right for me, had I the funds to really relocate for real again.
So, for some people, living rurally may work for them and for those in urban areas, it suits them fine. And that's okay. I've realized that I can't force this town to change for me nor can I do anything about it. This town has a calm sense of complacency and it's not always a good thing, and the local arts scene is very lacking, compared to Cleveland and Burlington (both places I've lived at).
In some ways, I think complacency=death of creativity.
But do let me know if you're going to Fuerta Ventura does something to your creativity and your comics inspiration!
July 1st, 2012 #43
I'm currently at university, which I strange for my creativity because I study in Plymouth, so I'm in a city, and in close proximity to the sea. In contrast, my actual home is much more inland, in a village with lots of trees, and a river running through it. I find that my creativity behaves differently in these two locations as well.
It seems that wherever I go has some sort of impact on my work. While visiting Portugal, for example, I plotted out an entire sci-fi comic, basing one of the planets on the red earth I had seen there. I ended up scripting it all properly when I got home, and 2 years later had made it into a finished comic. But when I had first arrived in Portugal, I hadn't had any new comic ideas in months!
I think creative people need to keep their minds open to new experiences of all kinds. Not just new places, but they can really feed their creativity by learning about or experiencing things they would usually not encounter. Sometimes I stumble upon something that seems really insignificant (like the fact that the earth in Portugal was so red compared to the UK), but to me there is something about it that just triggers my creativity, and demands that I use it
July 1st, 2012 #44
But I do agree that some kind of creative inertia happens when the artist travels to a destination near or far to a place that is new. The fresher the experience, the more inspired the artist is. In a way, it's a good thing I have left the day job to free myself of the shackles, but on the other hand, it's a risk when I freelance alone.
I think as creatives, we're not meant to be shackled and chained.
July 12th, 2012 #45
I've just got back from my holiday, and I would say my creativity came through much easier while I was there; I came back with 22 episode ideas for my comic series. They're at varying levels of completeness, anything from a rough idea to a bullet-pointed plotline which is ready to take to the scripting stage. I'd say it was pretty successful!
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July 12th, 2012 #46
I'm sure I'll find renewed inspiration there, now that my old art school got a $5 million dollar donation from a local philanthropist recently. I was supposed to go there this month due to a school reunion but could'nt go due to the budget and insane heatwave.
And from there, I may visit Boston for the first time as I've never set foot there. Montreal's on my list as well but need a passport to do it first.
July 12th, 2012 #47
I think travelling to your home town is a great idea! I think with me the main reasons I feel more creative when on holiday are; the fact that I've got no commitments while I'm there, we almost never have plans other than 'sit around the pool at the villa' or 'we're going to a restaurant/the beach'. It means I'm completely relaxed and can allow my mind to wander with no worries about any plans. The second reason is that I get exposed to sights/sounds etc that I wouldn't usually, and they can provide new and interesting things for me to explore artistically.
For example, while on the plane I came up with two ideas. The first was simply to have an episode of my comic revolve around imps causing chaos on a flight. The second was to have an episode involving minotaurs, and that came purely from seeing an advert for Red Bull on the back of the seat in front of me haha.