Geez, I can’t believe I haven’t posted on here at all this year. Admittedly a new arrival in the family popped up in January, so all hope of a truly peaceful night’s sleep is way off in the distance so energy levels aren’t what they could be, but it’s no excuse and unacceptable to expect readers to “hang around”…
Thought that I’d take this opportunity to articulate what’s going on in what I believe could be a brain in this head of mine:
Somebody very knowledgable about careers and business once gave me some surprising advice. He said that motivation in work as well as relationships tend to suffer from the “seven year itch”. These situations reach peaks (or troughs) that make momentum pretty difficult, and can create real make or break moments in someone’s life. While my relationships don’t seem to have, in the past, held to this rule (Naivety and emotions making them brittle and not lasting more than a few years) I can certainly look on a calendar and see that many of my vocations have quite literally lasted approximately 7 years!
This brings me to my crossroads. For the past 7 years I have returned to my educational roots – my qualifications in graphic design have led me to a self-employed existence. This has been great while work has been plentiful, but with the recession, work has been scarce and tricky to maintain. It’s at times like this that motivation relies on your heart being in the work when the moivation isn’t putting food on the table, and I’m not sure it is any more.
So, I return to even further back in my youth. From the age of 2, I could regularly be seen lying on my stomach drawing countless dinosaur, superhero, Doctor Who and finally Star Wars sketches in biro on sketch pads that gradually increased in quality. Always a fascination in the human face and emotion.
My teenage years brought with it an overwhelming passion for pop music. A desire to deny the school bullies attempts to hammer me down led to learning to play the drums, then keyboard and then guitar. I went to a school where being good at sport meant more than academic prowess. Some were lucky enough to be as confident physically as they were mentally – for the rest of us who found themselves physically insecure, it was an opportunity for the under-achievers to put us in our place. Exam success meant nothing when you were being made to feel inferior and fearful on the rugby field. One day I will write a song called “Good And Bad At Sports”, based on a film I saw on Channel 4 years ago.
Perhaps through my love of music and the imagery that went with it, I pursued study in graphic design – it seemed the coolest of the arts at the time, and the closest to my love of music. The 80′s were an incredibly visual time for music and Peter Saville rocked my world. Those days have now moved on. I’m not the greatest designer in the world, but I’m passable for the work I’ve created. While design has a limited brief (Particularly if you’re dealing with a restrictive client) and possibly a predictable resolution, hand drawn artwork has an individual and freeform quality. Only the luckiest and most talented designers get the opportunity to “be themselves”, but I feel that it’s on the sketch pad that I get the freedom to be an individual.
It’s taken me until my 40th year to feel comfortable in my own skin and to put things in their place in my head. I still battle a huge lack of confidence ironically paired with a fairly large but fragile ego – this leads to constant frustration. “I should be successful – why am I not successful? Oh yeah – I’m useless.”
I need to make a decision. Illustration artwork gives me a buzz that design no longer inspires. I’ve proved I’m a pretty good (With a lot of work) songwriter and musical ideas man. It makes sense to throw my energies into those things, so that’s what I’m going to do. The bullies have controlled me long enough.