Back to the roots of everything. This is a milestone in a way. Today I post the 200th image in my Family Styles series.
I say back to the roots… because that’s exactly what the work of Bill Watterson is to me. I’ve gone on and on about his lines and color work in Calvin and Hobbes for 25 years. And, I could continue to go on about it gleefully.
But I’d rather let his work to speak for itself. There’s Bill Watterson… and then there’s everyone else.
I’ve always loved the work of Edward Hopper… I may have only said that 3,293,112 times to you and the world.
Hell, when I applied to Graduate school I fancied myself becoming the next Edward Hopper. Seriously. I managed to get in the program without a single cartoon piece. My entrance portfolio consisted only of paintings.
I wasn’t concerned with becoming a better Frank Page… I wanted to be the next Edward Hopper… which is the definition of illogical logic. I guess I really needed grad school (and the subsequent student loans I’ll NEVER pay off) to get that horribly idea out of my head and bury it. Still… love Hopper.
I’ve studied the work. I’ve studied the man. For years.
But… (there’s always a ‘but’)
Sitting before his work and trying to re-create it… I’m realizing that I didn’t know him at all… despite what my overloaded bookshelf conveys. You only get to know an artist (somewhat) by painting a mile in their work.
So, I think I know Hopper better. I also think he and I wouldn’t get along. Just a hunch. Probably a personality thing more than anything.
Today’s strip hits more closer to home than usual.
Back in the old days ( the early/mid 1990s) when I truly figured out what I wanted to do with my life, art school was a much different animal. Marketing yourself as an artist was lightly touched upon, but it wasn’t really stressed. I mean, we were students still learning our craft… why learn how to market something you’re not exactly sure you’re good at?
So. I suck at marketing myself. I said it. I finished my undergrad in 1997. In the 23 years since that cold day in May, I’ve gotten about 10% better at it. Which explains a lot.
It doesn’t matter how great something is if no one knows it exists. That much I do know.
I’ve never had a huge problem with public speaking. Give me a room with 1,000 people in it and I’ll talk with no problem. Some butterflies of course, but nothing that would paralyze me. I actually prefer that to one-on-one speaking. I never shook my childhood shyness. I’ve gotten much better of course… because it was necessary. But, if I have an opportunity to avoid it, 96.432% of the time I will.
Bob is not, or will ever be as big as even the dot on the letter ‘i’ in “GARFIELD”. Some of that could be from the art. Some of that could be from the writing. But I would bet that MOST of it is from my inability overcome that crippling fear of nothing. The inability to be bold. The inability to… insert your own idea.
It’s all me. The work speaks for itself… but no one hears it in an empty room.