Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Portraits: Fat Captain America, Alice Cooper, Tori Spelling & Ernest Borgnine

I think one of the hardest aspects of being an artist is maintaining confidence. Sometimes people will say things about your art that discourages you. They may not even mean it to but some part of their comment/gesture/attitude will chip away at you. I remember an incident like this in college at SVA. I was presenting some of my work to the class and spoke about my interest in portraits. I am certain that no one meant to give me the impression that they thought it was a bad idea but there was an overall feeling that I walked away with: disinterest. Obviously I blame no one but myself for letting this effect me the way it did but it is something I have come back to again and again as an artist. You can't let anyone's opinions overshadow your own. Very often you will not get the reaction you want from a piece and I am always shocked at how difficult it is to put these doubts behind you. It has taken me years to get my art to where it is today and I am very happy with my progress but I cannot even count how many times I've lost confidence along the way.

I often imagine George Lucas telling someone about star wars and being openly mocked. Imagine if he let that stop him! Never depend on anyone elses vision but your own. Most people have no imagination, they can't believe it until they see it.

Recently I was forced to put art (and my social life) on the side as I went back to school for a degree in art education (somewhere I am very happy to be, there are no regrets in this regard). Having lost so much drawing time I could feel my abilities waning, It was subtle but I could feel it. I kept myself in the game by doodling incessantly in my sketchbook. Now as the school year approaches an end I find myself with spare time again. Last week I sat staring at piece of paper (on a weekday with a rare day off) and wondered what I should draw. A simple concept but it was daunting, after all this time where do I start? I tried a portrait but felt frustrated. I spent hours on it and put it aside. Then I recalled an idea I had, it could be as old as high school. It was a simple parody, It was Captain America only FATTER. I can't say it is the greatest thing in the world but it served it's purpose. I lost myself in that drawing, I had fun it made me laugh. The stakes were low and consequently I became unstuck. I guess one of the nicest things about losing confidence is how easy it can be to get it back (even though realizing that is the most difficult task of them all). After Fat Captain, I've been on a portrait kick. I'm not rushing myself, I'm just letting it happen and waiting to see where it takes me. I have specific goals I have not yet attained but I'm having a blast all the same.

Here is FAT CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Captain America,James jajac

Alice Cooper drawing. He is looking slightly wall eyed. Drawn with ball point pen.
james jajac,alice cooper

Alice Cooper finish. I am experimenting with digital coloring. I f___ing love these dot screens (color half tone in your photoshop filters). I plan on trying a new finish with traditional materials, colored pencils? Paints? Maybe both. That said I am pretty happy with this version.
james jajac,alice cooper

Tori Spelling. Why draw Tori Spelling you ask? Well, it was my lunch break, there was a newspaper, and that is pretty much it. Then again I am drawn to plastic people like her. I am not sure how I will finish this yet but I hope to post it when it is done. Please excuse her slightly off eyes.
tori spelling,james jajac

Last but certainly not least. Ernest F____ing Borgnine!! This was drawn with pencil, and colored pencil. A new technique for me, usually I do all of my drawing with ball point pen. Not perfect but I love it.
Ernest Borgnine,James Jajac

The title of the Borgnine piece is: "Ernest Borgnine has baked you a basket of cookies and he wants to watch you eat them".

If you are needing some confidence in drawing yourself here is a great column in the NYTimes by my ex-drawing teacher James McMullan. Jim McMullan Drawing Lessons! You won't regret it!

Happy Summer!
-James

1 comment:

Justine said...

I like the style of the Ernest Borgnine the best! Colored pencils all the way!

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