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  1. #1
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    How do you not get psyched out by talent...

    Okay so without going into a huge discussion about what's talent - whether it exists etc...

    Almost every day I look on deviant art or some place else and I see someone new who just totally psyches me out. For example the latest one (last night) was this guy called Sean Sevestre... SS like JJ or Jaime Jones! I need to change my name to a double like Kelvin Klein! uhm... maybe not. Anyhow:

    https://www.facebook.com/sean.sevestre

    He's 20 years old and his work is excellent. I won't use hyperbole... he has excellent mastery of form, colour, lighting. To my mind he is the next Jaime Jones. It's obvious he works really hard and does a lot of studies. I'm not saying that this guy is doing something that I couldn't do (i.e. work hard)

    But he's 20 and I'm 36 (37 this year). If I was 15 I'd just be inspired but at almost twice his age and with several years of hard graft to get to where he is already, it's hard not to get psyched out.

    How do you handle looking at other people's work and not feel deflated? It seems to me that we live in a very strange time for art - a time where the internet basically puts the world at your finger tips. Instead of a small community of artists working in the suburbs of Paris you're working with this huge global network. As an artist it's hard not to make comparisons - the problem is that this is killing my creativity. You have to create art from a place of love and not fear but when there's kids (sorry Sean) - walking around with this kind of skill - what chance do the rest of us have?

    Anyhow if people have coping mechanisms I'd like to hear them

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  3. #2
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    To be honest, I am not that impressed by Sean Sevestre. He has an excellent sense of colour, which seems to be native to some people, but is sticking to work where he can optimally use this sense. What I am missing is anatomy, construction, perspective, line quality, posing, to name but a few. Yes, I am impressed, knowing that he is so young, but my coping strategy is that there are many people ahead of me...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Try to figure out what makes their work great, learn from it, and incorporate it into your own work if possible. I like to put excellent work on my desktop background so I see it every time I start my computer up so I can better understand why it is so effective. After a while of studying an image, you might also start to see what could have been done differently to a possibly better effect.

    Of course it stings when you see an artist that seems so accomplished and is not much older than you, is the same age as you, or is younger than you. But that's just life. I just remind myself how much better I am than yesterday and how much better I will be tomorrow, but only if I keep working on it.

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  5. #4
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    I've been thinking about that a lot lately, lovingit. I mean, about the fact that the internet puts you in direct competition with, um, however many hundreds of millions of people are now connected. I've been trawling CG Hub today. Good lord, there are some gob-smackingly good Photoshoppers coming out of China these days. Intimidating as hell.

    There's a flip side to that, too, though: you're also connected to hundreds of millions of customers hungry for art. There's an artist (I won't name him) who I think is just appalling. Bad picture ideas, terrible grasp of drawing fundamentals. His work makes me angry, it's so naff. He has an incredibly loyal fan base, though, and they're all posting things like, "I bought a print of your latest and it inspires me every morning" or "oh no, this picture made me cry sitting here at my desk." They consume his work in preference to the stuff that I think is so great. Somehow. Amazingly.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the connected world is a world of niches. (Which, sadly, brings us to marketing, a thing at which I suck royally).

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Oh stoat - you made me laugh! Also for some bizarre reason I keep thinking about your tagline - 'suppoobly a art fan' WTF... I woke up this morning and it was in my mind. I guess because it's like shorting some synapses in my brain or something. I keep repeating it to myself when I'm brushing my teeth or whatever!

    Do you mean supposedly an art fan? Aaargh! Does not compute - that's some clever marketing right there

    N. E. How

    Yes I DO see people whose work I think sucks - but for some reason they get work so yeah... I guess that's something. Although it feels a little like get depressed or angry pick your poison. I have no idea what to do about marketing... go to conventions and stuff I guess but that's a bit hard as I live in the middle of nowhere France so it's gotta be internet marketing.

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    Oh, I can explain my subhead! Some kids showed up in the Art Discussion forum one day trying to pick our brains about artists. They confessed they were asking questions for a school homework assignment.

    Half an hour later, another kid (clearly from the same class) showed up asking the same questions and pretended it was nothing to do with homework, he was just really, really super interested in art. The more we teased him, the angrier he got until he burst out, "you are suppoobly a art fan!"

    I loved it so I kept it.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    I remember back 7 years ago when I discovered deviantart I was in awe of a lot of the stuff there. It wasn't that I was new to art having grown up in a house with lots of artbooks and art and traversing the artsy social circles with my mother, it was just huge collections of stuff I had no idea even existed. I didn't know you could do digital art like that, I didn't even know there were tablets. Now when I go back and check out the same pictures I more often than not cringe at the fact that I found them any good. That to me is already a sign of how far I have come and how stupid I was.

    Now when I see someone's work I really like, I just get a positive moodlet. It's like yeah, found some awesome art today. I don't know if I will ever be as good (because I feel by now my brain has developed enough to distinguish what actually is good art (to me)) and in either case I wouldn't really like to imitate anyone so specifically, but I don't feel bad about it. Sometimes I feel motivated, sometimes when I feel my life goals are somewhere else, I just enjoy.

    However , every now and then when I see someone's amazing work and I find out they're 18 or something I do get the 'what the fuck are you doing with your life, girl?!' mini-depression.

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    I think its funny you think living in the Paris suburbs in the 19th century surrounded by 3 centuries of the greatest art in the world made it easier for the people then compared to now. There is not one person on this site or anywhere working in games or Entertainment that will be remembered in 50 years. Its all disposable crap compared to the good art in museums around the world. That especially applies to people doing digital which is even more disposable than the traditional crap being made now.

    And just to prove how useless this navel gazing is, tell me who did the most comic book covers in the 1940's in America? See, you don't know. why? Because as good as that person was for their time period and the jobs they got, they made disposable crap that was tied to that era and is all but worthless now. And that is still better than the digital work (I can't even call it art because it isn't)being made today because it at least was a physical thing being made.

    Last edited by dpaint; April 6th, 2014 at 06:03 PM.
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    If you don't think this is art because he didn't make it by pushing dirt around with sticks on a piece of cloth...pah! This thread will now go to hell.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  13. #10
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    Photo bashing with some digital scribbling on top but comparing it to the Night Watch or Caravaggio's Crucifixion is just ignorant.If anybody with money and interest can buy a computer and software and do that it isn't art, its just stuff. Art has to be above what most people accomplish better than the crowd, otherwise it's just more crap.

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  15. #11
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    I'm guessing I've been painting longer than you've been alive. And yes, with dirt and sticks on cloth (I was such an art snob, I made my own oil paints because the commercial rubbish wasn't good enough for me). I long since reconciled myself with digital -- it is simply the same skill set.

    Riddle me this -- if I digitize the Night Watch and then burn the original, does the digital version now suck? Why not?

    Photobashing with some digital scribbling on top -- and making it look halfway decent -- is some of the hardest artwork I've ever done.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  17. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I'm guessing I've been painting longer than you've been alive. And yes, with dirt and sticks on cloth (I was such an art snob, I made my own oil paints because the commercial rubbish wasn't good enough for me). I long since reconciled myself with digital -- it is simply the same skill set.

    Riddle me this -- if I digitize the Night Watch and then burn the original, does the digital version now suck? Why not?
    First it wouldn't be the Night Watch. Scanning or photographing something real isn't the same as the real thing. Just like listening to music on CD isn't like being at the concert and seeing a musician play. Watching sex on the internet isn't the same as actually having sex. Its diminished only emotionally crippled people think its the same.

    [/QUOTE]Photobashing with some digital scribbling on top -- and making it look halfway decent -- is some of the hardest artwork I've ever done.[/QUOTE]

    That's your problem, it in no way means that it raises to the level of museum work, because you think its hard.

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  19. #13
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    You know, dude, you aren't good enough to be this obnoxious.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  20. #14
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    If you notice in my initial post I included myself in the crap category I have no delusions about what art is and yet I have more of a career than most people on this site.

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    Aww man, it's not the first time that this discussion resurfaces again. It won't go anywhere I'm afraid.

    Personally, I just don't give a crap. I don't give a crap about not being as good as someone else (I just enjoy their work) and I also don't give a crap about dpaints rather dark views (with all due respect sir, no offense intended).

    I just do what I like to do. That's enough of an incentive for me. I love looking at great artwork, so more power to those better than me, and I love creating art, so I just do that.

    Reasoning and overthinking and comparing will only get you depressed or convert you to fatalism. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

    But then again, maybe I'm just too simple a man, so take this with a grain of salt

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  23. #16
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    Thanks for that breath of air Benedikt. I think that's a good way to see things. And really that's all I wanted to hear. Just some light hearted contributions from people on how they deal with discouragement, not a big wrist slitting discussion about whether its worth me bothering to switch my computer on in the morning or not!!!

    Look dpaint I get where you are coming from. I really do. I would love nothing more than to devote the rest of my productive life towards being the best trad painter I can be. But... The reality is that I can't go to my wife who's currently unable to work and relying on me to sort shit out... 'hey darling here's my grand plan, I'm going to chuck in trying to get a job and instead I'm going to set up an easel and start doing some oil painting!'. I know that I'm just having a winge but every now and then things get to me and I don't have anyone I can talk to up here in the middle of nowhere. If I can't find understanding here then where else am I supposed to go? Hmmm I think I'll go talk to the cows about my art grief next time I'm out on my bike

    Behind that brontosaurus avatar mate, I know you're human!

    So cool it boys and girls. I'll pick myself up and keep swimming. I always have done.

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  24. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    Thanks for that breath of air Benedikt. I think that's a good way to see things. And really that's all I wanted to hear. Just some light hearted contributions from people on how they deal with discouragement, not a big wrist slitting discussion about whether its worth me bothering to switch my computer on in the morning or not!!!

    Look dpaint I get where you are coming from. I really do. I would love nothing more than to devote the rest of my productive life towards being the best trad painter I can be. But... The reality is that I can't go to my wife who's currently unable to work and relying on me to sort shit out... 'hey darling here's my grand plan, I'm going to chuck in trying to get a job and instead I'm going to set up an easel and start doing some oil painting!'. I know that I'm just having a winge but every now and then things get to me and I don't have anyone I can talk to up here in the middle of nowhere. If I can't find understanding here then where else am I supposed to go? Hmmm I think I'll go talk to the cows about my art grief next time I'm out on my bike

    Behind that brontosaurus avatar mate, I know you're human!

    So cool it boys and girls. I'll pick myself up and keep swimming. I always have done.
    I don't understand why people have to lie to themselves about what they do. Do people really think they are making something worthwhile? Seriously? In Mucha's The Slav epic some of the panels are 26 feet across and 18 feet high does anyone think that anything they do on the computer rises to that level of accomplishment? Sitting there in a living space scribbling on the computer over someone else photos, that is probably the tenth of the size of these guys studio spaces checking to see how many people liked your artwork on DA. Wow, welcome to your delusional lives.

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    I'm not even necessarily disagreeing with dpaints assessments (apart from his rather provocative definition of the terms "art" and "crap"- like there's nothing in-between on that scale. That's just bananas to me ). There certainly is a huge gap between work that is done now and work that was done by the great masters, no doubt about it.

    It's just that if you look at it from this grand perspective, it's all futile anyway. Maybe humanity will survive the death of our sun, maybe not. But at some point, concious beings will cease to exist and all will be forgotten at any rate.

    Why do anything then, if not because of that drive, that passion. I care nothing for the grand scheme of things, for the universe or about people who will or will not remember me or my artwork.
    You bastards are all going die anyways. Fuck oblivion. Carpe diem!

    Okay, that came out more cheesy than I intended. But you get the gist.

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  27. #19
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    No that's my point do it as work, make money, that's fine but worry about some other hamster gets more press than you or someone else is better? None of it rises to the level of putting in a museum. Who F'ing cares, if you don't do what you want and like to the best of your ability you are wasting your time. None of it will be noticed or collected or written about by historians; thinking about that as if its a possibility is insane.

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  29. #20
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    I agree with benedikt and dpaint about the being forgotten thing. We live in the information age, where none of us will ever be remembered ever again. It's just a fact and not worth crying about. Steve jobs will be forgotten in 20 years - no, make that 10 - and he fundamentally changed technology across the world. If Rubens or DaVinci was born today, they would face the same fate. Today's world doesn't care about quality, they care about variety. Look at the music industry. Where's the Beatles? Where's the Rolling Stones? The closest thing we have to a superstar nowadays is Lady Gaga, and she's already fading out after 5 years or so.

    Half of me thinks that all of the great masterpieces wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for cultural programs (govt. funded museums, etc) designed to save that kind of stuff. I think that they're still here mostly because they're old with historical value. They are invaluable, incredible masterpieces, no doubt about it, but that's not sufficient in a world that, for the most part, doesn't really care about art that much. Nobody goes to art museums anymore.

    *side note - Dpaint, I've seen the art they put in museums these days, and it's not exactly the kind of art I want to emulate, so I wouldn't necessary use that as a benchmark of success. I'd rather not draw soiled underwear as still life.

    Anyway, there's really no point in trying to be the best, because you never will be, and even if you are, you'll be forgotten just as fast. And that goes for every pursuit you'll ever do, not just art. Just enjoy yourself and don't worry about it! Of course, you do still need to be good enough to get a job (assuming your aim is commercial), in which case it's more a matter of supply/demand than quality. Don't sacrifice everything to become a concert violinist if you'd be just as happy as an oboeist. Every orchestra needs an oboe, and they can never find enough. Hope I don't sound like a downer, this stuff actually encourages me . Takes off all the stress at least.

    Oh, and don't worry about the younguns, a lot of them don't pan out, and most people plateau eventually anyway. They just plateau earlier. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare?

    Last edited by Dahlia; April 6th, 2014 at 07:41 PM.
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  31. #21
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    There are six billion people in the world. That's the talent pool. Some will be screwy enough to be artists. Of those, a miniscule percentage will be talent outliers. Sorta like being jealous of lottery winners, they should be a fleeting thought only. Because the thought has no benefit to you.

    Instead, as they say in engineering, "work the problem." Pursue your goal like a man climbing out of a smoldering volcano. Everything that enters your head that doesn't pertain directly to you achieving your goal is a waste of time. This is why discipline is so crucial.

    Discipline your mind; don't waste thoughts. Put your effort into woodshedding. And you will get better.

    How much better? Will you get enough better?

    Unknown, unanswerable. Therefore, the question is meaningless. It doesn't help. So leave it aside, and just work the problem.

    kev

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  33. #22
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    I have no delusions about what I do. I was in-house artist for an engineering company most of my career. Nearly everything I did was single-use, throwaway. The only things I've ever done with permanence were ink schematics for patent applications. I got paid for a job of work, and that was good enough for me.

    But I also don't have delusions that the past was a magical time of sparkly awesomeness. It was guys making a living, then as now, and 90% of it was crap. We just don't realize that because so little of the worst crap survived to come down to us. The techniques of oil on canvas are probably derived from the big canvas panels that were carried through the streets on feast days, back in the days no-one troubled to record the names of mere artists.

    Rembrandt is one of my favorite painters, but he wasn't a god. Among his contemporaries, his potato-ey nudes were a laughingstock -- he thought lumpy Saskia was dead sexy. A healthy dollop of the attractiveness of his pictures is down to the lovely golden patina that is, basically, rotting linseed oil. IOW Rembrandts didn't look like Rembrandts in Rembrandt's day. He fell out of favor in his own lifetime.

    The idea that really, really big paintings are important because...whoa, they're really, really big -- that's just monkeybrain stuff. The great paintings are what they are because of income disparity; because some rich guy could afford to support somebody (and his entourage) in a middle class lifestyle for ten years while they collaborated on something really, really big. Yay, I guess.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  35. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovingit View Post
    He's 20 years old and his work is excellent. I won't use hyperbole... he has excellent mastery of form, colour, lighting.
    Actually, his work looks kind of imitative, derivative and rather muddy right now. He never uses the full range of values, his colors are all lumped together. You can just see what he is going at, if you squint, but his works make me want to take a big brush with brighter paint and go over them to bring the light out. They have the look of half-done underpainting. Or perhaps he doesn't know how to calibrate his display - but even then they shouldn't turn out so muddy.

    In a few years he might develop a feel of his own, and hopefully discover the real painterly lighting. But for all that potential, if you compare him to someone with real mastery who works in a similar style - like Craig Mullins - he has a long way to go yet.

    The real question is, how do YOU get better without getting hung up on someone who you perceive as better than yourself.

    First of all, if you think this guy is that good, you haven't seen a lot yet. Broaden your art history knowledge. Or perhaps you don't know what to look at, yet, so anything marginally better than your work seems brilliant to you. Deepen your analytical and practical art skill.

    Second, don't compare yourself to others. It is as simple as that. If you do compare, you are going to find someone better than yourself at something particular - it is an inevitability given how many people there are out there and how different they all are. Angsting about someone else being better than yourself is nothing but childish insecurity, and all it does is waste your energy unproductively. Mind your own business - do not make it into some sort of a competition with a person who doesn't even know you exist. What should matter to you is that you make progress relative to YOUR current skill. If that improves, fine. If that doesn't improve, look into improving it.

    Third, looking at someone's good work and getting deflated is only a matter of attitude. You can equally well look at it and get inspired - learn to do that. Don't "cope", that's stupid - all you are doing when you are coping is carry your envy inside you and try to not show it. Find enough generosity inside you to be happy that there are people with good skill around. They create an environment of appreciation for good skill, after all, in which your skill will be appreciated one day too. Only weak and evil people try to stifle everyone they think is better than themselves, trying to destroy or ignore Mt Fuji so they can be a happy king of a mole hill. Strong people admire and climb Mt Fuji.

    Four, if you see someone better than yourself, be glad, because you can learn something from the way they are doing it, and incorporate it in your own skill set.

    Five, if you think there were no people with such meager attitude in that tiny suburb of Paris, you are mistaken: the size of the playground matters nothing. No one remembers them, though. The ones remembered are the ones who were passionate about improving themselves, not the ones who were passionate about getting ahead of the rest.

    In short: this is not a competition, compare yourself-now to yourself-past only, appropriate tricks instead of angsting, welcome good artists instead of hating them.

    You are passing up opportunities to learn and grow when you get all envious like this.

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  37. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Riddle me this -- if I digitize the Night Watch and then burn the original, does the digital version now suck? Why not?
    Because the original has all sorts of information in it that would not be digitized, and the digital version will not give the same impression as the original does.

    It ranges from the size at which it is painted (you'll need a display over 4 meters wide to look at it), to the complex layering of paint with translucency effects that cannot be lumped into an RGB pixel without losing luster. All that would be shed off if it is digitized.

    I had seen reproductions of the Night Watch before, and thought "what's the big deal". Until I actually saw the original. It turned out a completely different experience, and was breathtaking. I think I spent an hour sitting in front of it that first time, just studying the details. Reproductions didn't feel anything like that.

    A lot of oil paintings do not reproduce faithfully at all, and none of them have the same presence in reproduction. There are exceptions - Pre-Raphaelites often reproduce as good or better than they look in original - but almost universally, the original is more striking than any reproduction.

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    Hey Arenhaus - thanks for writing such a long reply! Of course I understand what you are saying. And of course it's just insecurity, but the higher the stakes the more you second guess yourself. As I said, if I were a 15 year old kid I'd be like - wow so inspiring - but when you're quite a bit older and the sole breadwinner wondering about what path to take and knowing that you can't afford to screw things up, it's slightly different. Of course having a winge isn't justifiable - just understandable. I think Stoat got that.

    I definitely don't hate or even dislike him!!! You're right, that's a juvenile thought. I don't know him from tom/dick or harry. I see skills that he has that I don't have at the moment and maybe for you - if you have that command of colour you think it's no big deal. I also know there's only one cure - more study - I'm groovy with that. For sure there's things I see which I think - yeah he could improve but what I'm marvelling at is he's 20! I couldn't THINK that good when I was 20... so that's what's disheartening. The only thing I envy is his age! No amount of study or hard work is going to bring back 16 years

    However I think Dahlia was very encouraging in her appraisal. The fact is that everyone plateaus for whatever reason. To my mind, there's not a huge amount of progress from Jaime Jones 5 years ago to Jaime Jones today - more of the same - but that could be like me listening to Jimi Hendrix and going - ahhh early stuff is just as good as later stuff. It could be beyond me to appraise! Perhaps once I reach the required standard for professional work, I'll also plateau and I don't feel like I'm a hundred miles off. Just a hundred years older.

    I don't know how old you are Arenhaus - but maybe one of these days you'll stumble across something that you really love and you'll think - if only I had done that sooner? That's what I feel. I know these are worthless and pointless thoughts - as Kev Ferrara pointed out - trim the unwanted away! But for most of you it appears that you found that love and stuck to it for a long time. Perhaps why Stoat has been the most sympathetic - because he's also coming back to things after a long hiatus.

    Anyhow as I said - winge over - I'll keep swimming Today is another wonderful day in the mountains and I am totally 'stoked' for my next painting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    I don't give a crap about not being as good as someone else (I just enjoy their work)
    I just do what I like to do. That's enough of an incentive for me. I love looking at great artwork, so more power to those better than me, and I love creating art, so I just do that.
    Well you are good enough to get work. I think that's the view the people take when that happens Currently all the amazing people out there makes me at least worry about how am I ever going to get enough to get work drawing. But then wanting to be as good as the awesome people for the sake of simply making cooler stuff is incentive enough to push on all the same!


    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    I don't understand why people have to lie to themselves about what they do. Do people really think they are making something worthwhile? Seriously?
    What on earth do you mean by "worthwhile?" If someone gets enjoyment from a piece that I do "hey look at that cool shit!" then in some sense it was worth while. If a cool book cover draws people in to buy a cool book or some concepting led a better design on a film that a lot of people end up enjoying then in some sense was it not worthwhile? Even if not to your taste even if not to the skill or depth of Caravaggio. Its not so black and white.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    the digital version will not give the same impression as the original does.
    Bit from the side of the original argument, this has reminded me again of the irony of Roy Lichtenstein's work, where the idea was to take very small panels and make them huge (I think one of them was around 2x4 meters), so you could see the art in a way you had never seen before, but the majority where people know of the works is from post cards or bags or little digital images which have turned the paintings basically back to what they originally were, couple centimeter wide images.

    "I eat comics and poop stylization"
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    Talent is a scam!It's all about conditioning and neuro-plasticity .

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    How do you not get psyched out by talent...
    Sorry, doesn't compute.

    I get inspired, blown away, excited by good art, never psyched out. It makes me want to work harder at my own stuff. And yes, at thirty seven, most people in this game are younger than me. Shrug. No big deal. It's not a race.

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    Roy Lichtenstein's work is pomo, it's supposed to be banal.

    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
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