Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Frustration Is Needed, But Annoyingly Painful

This post is a late response to the video above. It's Will Terry's video, "Are You Frustrated With Your Art?" that is on his YouTube channel. I agree and disagree on several things, but the reason this is a late post is I had to decide if I wanted to rant a post or write something people could learn from. Latter took over. However, anyone reading this should watch that video as Will Terry does hit some major points. To simply summarize my rant with both agreeing and disagreeing to the video: schools(all levels) are rushing through the process of teaching and mainly just skimming instead of teaching a subject in depth, schools are throwing away important skills and job training to just keep putting the same stuff(just harder and harder levels) into kids and adults', and last schools believe in the "Random Character" method for preparing us which is great for beginning in school, but it results in us being worst off once getting into high school, college, or jumping into the pool that is life. That's sums up what my opinions are that are resulting in not just artists becoming frustrated as they try to get to their dream, but also people of all job fields.

Oh, and to summarize what a Random Character is, instead of going in the gaming term, I'll tell you what broad sense I am using it for. It's referring to someone who is learning to know everything, like a Jack of All Trades, but do not have the actually experience in any of it enough to be helpful. Basically, for the artist version, that guy who keeps collecting all sorts of drawing books and looking up tutorials, but never doing any of the practice and such to get that knowledge into skills. Hence, it's better to be a Jack of All Trades where you at least got the experience and defined enough skills to possibly go from a Master of None to a Master of Something. Though, sometimes it's not the person's fault for this to happen, but either way it does cause a lot of frustration when you do try to become good at something.

I can do complex figures again!
Now, everyone has had rough spots in their lives. It can be just something simple like the coffee maker dying. Or it can be something big like that painting you been working on for so long being destroyed right when you are almost done or you lose your day job. However, there is no way to really escape the frustration that comes after it. I dealt with a lot of frustrations through my life and I think everyone can agree they at least been mad at something before. However, a lot more people are finding themselves dealing with this now than ever for many reasons. We'll just stick around what artists starting out deal with for this post.
Doing Line Art Is Much Easier, too!
 One of this does relate back to the video at the start of this post. This is also common for not just artists, but a lot of job fields. It's the Catch 22 people find themselves in either with getting out of school and trying to find a job or switching careers. You want to get that job, earn money, and such, but you lack work experience or the experience and skills for the job? So, what do you do? Apply all over the place or go back to school? Well, the apply all over the place(for both your degree type job and others), you might get you a lousy job, but hey, we got to start somewhere. You can at least begin to earn some money to get supplies and such to practice and get your artistic talent off the ground. Though, this in itself can become a frustration as that lousy job wears you out or it's an okay job that eats up a lot of your time. The other choice of going back to school is like stepping into political cartoon area and I rather also not rant. So, I will just say that college degrees are becoming too much of a cost just to get a job. Also, for artists, there are now alternatives that are affordable like School of Visual Storytelling and Chris Oatley's Magic Box that you can also do while working either a part-time or full-time job easier makes more sense than college. In fact, Noah Bradley has started up his Art Camp again with this time two Art Camps to choose from or do both for a good rate for a 12-week online course. Not saying college is bad, but it's system is bleeding students dry while making the teachers who really love doing their job and doing it right suffer as well.
Coloring was annoying at first, but got better.
Hence, you can already see some frustrations in that last paragraph many people could be thinking. "Why did I get this job?" "Why can't I get work?" "Why did I go to college for this?" Why did I spend all that money for college?" There are plenty more, but I rather keep this post from turning into an essay. However, this is to point out you cannot escape being frustrated. It will and always will happen even when your are prepared for it. It will range in size and complexity, but it will always. However, there is one thing that I see and realize I almost fell into after work dried for me after my first big freelance gig(and still have not got any since). That problem which also leads to many quitting their dreams and future careers too early and putting them in regret is the fact they will not face what is bothering them. Which is actually an important process that a lot of people learn from without knowing till later on in life.

Now, what do I mean by not facing the frustrations? What I mean is basically figuring out the problem. I do not mean going straight to solving the "problem." There are plenty of artists who have rushed into trying to solve what they think is the problem, only to get into an even worse position. If you do not know roughly what the problem is, then that right there is a frustration on its own, but if you do not figure it out and keep pushing along. It will just haunt you and bother you till A: you work hard to figure it out(making mistakes and all) and improve, B: you quit and give up what you were doing to never come back again, or C: same as B but, like me sometimes, you come back and try again and keep a cycle till you get it. All of them are hard, but the one that will hurt the most will be B as often people will regret it and make themselves more miserable.
Almost Done, Needing Some More Details
However, when you begin to try to figure out the problem first and then solve the problem, you will find yourself often times snowballing into a whole new way of doing things. A great example is someone I follow who is not an artist. His name is Paul Wheaton and he is known as the Duke of Permaculture. His Youtube Channel is his name and here's to it: Paul Wheaton. He also runs the forums known as Permies.com that also leads to articles Paul Wheaton has done. Now, before moving on, Permaculture is "permanent agriculture" which focuses on using what we have and using basic science and ecology to live within one's means. Basically, it's a hod podge of many different ideas and concepts for living, food, and so on. Now, Paul Wheaton was originally an engineer and his buddies and he would always complained about their biggest frustration: pollution. Well, after it nagged him for a while, Paul Wheaton decided to do something about it and began researching about pollution and so on. This lead him looking at energy usage being the cause of pollution and went to those energy efficient light bulbs, so he did an experiment on them. He found the CFLs were a joke, the now illegal in the USA incandescent lightbulbs were not just better, but helped with the bigger issues of energy, and that light was just a TINY fraction of energy usage. Most of the energy we used came from heating, which the incandescent happened to give off freely in the winter. I am going to summarize the rest, but Paul Wheaton basically kept figuring out the problem, but as he solved it he discovered more problems, but also more solutions. It's kind of a never ending process, but its a good one to be in! It means your on the right track!

And My Finished Piece For The Concept Cookie Mother Earth contest.
Now, you are probably wondering why this Paul Wheaton and permaculture has to do with being frustrated, art or not wise? Here's the deal. A lot of people become frustrated, but the keep staying frustrated and do nothing about this. They just live with it and push on with what nags them dragging them back like a ball and chain. However, when someone goes and actually does something they are frustrated about and try to solve the problem, we are either called weirdos, geniuses, and a whole hod podge of other things like Paul Wheaton, mainly other artists, and more people beginning to blaze new trails for fixing problems and trying to help others figure it out as well. Even later he gained the title Duke of Permaculture and the Bad Boy of Permaculture, but back onto the point. If you stay mad at the "bad guys" as Paul Wheaton puts it, nothing will happen and you'll either stagnate, change course and maybe regret it, or so on.

 I can do a real life example with images you are seeing on this post. Each process has it's own little problems, but if you do not learn how to deal with each problem, you can really see it in the finished piece. But, sometimes, learning of and fixing the problem is fun. . So, instead of throwing your pencil or brush away with tired of messing up... Look at work and begin to dissect it down and try to figure out the problem. Sure, you may have to ask for help and even be embarrassed to ask for it, but it's better than becoming so frustrated that you go nuts! As you become a great problem solver, who knows what path it will lead you on. You might become a great artist, a permacultist, or even finally make your dream reality or find your dream without knowing it. Me? At this moment, I am still figuring it out, but I am enjoying every minute of it, even the frustration that comes with it as you can at least laugh at such events once you gotten pass them.

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