Creating art whether fanart or original stuff is ridiculously personal. Forget about the results, forget the blood, sweat and tears. I’m talking about the internal struggle. The inner dialogue we have with ourselves while creating and then reflecting on that piece. For the last 25+ years or so I’ve been struggling to find direction, what I like, what I do well, what people are interested in, what am I interested in. I tried all sorts of drawing styles, some I liked more than others, some more successful than others… But it’s been a battle internally to find my thing.
This weekend I bought space at Granite State Comic Con aka GraniteCon in Manchester, NH and displayed my stuff… I broke all the comic con marketing rules of showing one defined style, having one lead voice to show what I do. I described it as an identity crisis. Cartoon portraits, charcoal drawings, prints of all styles, a book of comics, fire truck and ambulance posters, stickers, sketchcards, mini-prints. Everything I did in the last 5 years was represented.
Just before things ramped up on Saturday, a few very successful comic artists who I have great respect for walked by and took note. We had a small conversation about the seizure on my table and confirmed what I had been denying but sorta knew but never took seriously, that I have something unique and special and desirable going on and that I needed to embrace it. Run with it. Explore it and see what it’s potential is. But they liked it.
Without making a cent and actually in the hole a bunch of money, hearing this from them was better than the price of admission. If I sold nothing all weekend, I was good. The day proceeded and conversations with people, overhearing people’s comments and directly engaging in negotiation for a couple pieces further confirmed the successful artists sentiments from earlier.
So here’s the question I’ve been asking… If I’m decent at something, I enjoy it, people like it and are willing to pay money for it, then why have I been repressing it for so long. I mean, I tried really hard to make comics and do other projects that I am not truly connected to and i’m not sure why.
So here’s the lesson learned… Don’t be scared to do the thing you are good at in favor of doing something that you think you should be doing. The thing you do, the way you do it, the part of you that you leave in it for someone else to enjoy is uniquely yours and people want that instead of you trying to be/do something else.
For me, it’s a burnt piece of wood smeared on a large sheet of paper. It literally took 41 years for me to realize it and for this weekend to open my eyes. Today is a new day and I’m super excited. Things will be changing with the website, social media and all that. Hang on to your hats. It’s gonna be a fun ride.
Oh yeah, and by my accounts, the show went well. I made a few bucks, I met a ton of great people and now I know where my art is going. Win.