Sunday, February 14, 2010

Inspiration, Jrock art

Sometimes people at conventions will ask me what inspires me. Of course, to cover my/Alex’s Jrock fanart, I say that I am inspired by certain musicians and their music; in the case of our GDS collaborations, we take visuals from music videos and arrange them into a composition (which by itself is not a very creative endeavor, actually). But after mentioning my Jrock art, I pause and think about the rest of my art. I think about the art style I’ve been moving towards lately. What inspires that?

I like the question, because it lets me know that someone is interested in how a piece of art is conceived. But I also dislike the question, because it seems to me that it is not always a matter of inspiration. Lately, I have gotten several ideas for projects/drawings I would like to start. They’ve come to me in a stream, whereas usually, I start doodling something in my sketchbook and it turns into a picture eventually. But that doesn’t translate in my head into: I must be inspired lately. Inspiration, to me, denotes a sweeping feeling, a connection to something greater, maybe something divine, or something that feels really close to it. I cannot remember the last time I experienced such a feeling in connection with my art, let alone with my life in general.

Would it be accurate to say, paradoxically, that my inspiration comes from having no inspiration? From having to struggle to find some sort of purpose for my art? I don’t know that either. Lately, I feel like I have encountered a series of disillusioning obstacles, and frankly, I do not even really know the importance of what I do. I keep doing it because it seems there is not much, if anything, I would rather do.

Naturally, I am drawn to a darker aesthetic. The same aesthetic I first discovered in Kagerou, then found in Dir en grey, and continue now to find in a multitude of other sources, not music alone. I’m not talking simply about image here, sound and meaning figure in as well to create something larger, something that continues to speak to me even now. I’ve been trying to have my art internalize that aesthetic, so instead of drawing pretty, flowing pictures like I was aiming to in the past, I’ve been focusing on setting up an atmosphere and mastering the medium while creating something that resonates more strongly with what I feel inside, with the kind of person I vaguely perceive myself to be, and with the kind of disintegrated outlook on life and the world in general that I naively believe myself to carry.

Most of the time, I used to like it when people came up to my table at conventions and got excited at seeing Jrock fanart. I like meeting new people who are into the same music, because it always seemed to me like there is something there that we share to begin with that leads us to the same thing. And it seemed like that “something” had a strong uniting influence. Lately, I’ve realized that isn’t necessarily true, but that is a subject to be discussed another time. :P

Really, what I’ve wanted to do lately is take the aesthetics and general characteristics of Jrock/visual kei that first lured me in and try to incorporate them into my own art without having it be simple fanart, without depicting anyone in particular. I think that I’m slowly getting there; nonetheless, it seems that I have not yet developed this aspect of my art well enough. And whenever I draw Jrock fanart, I want it to be more encompassing and meaningful than a simple portrait; I know it won’t always work out that way, but I want to be much truer to the atmosphere and meaning of the music, which is what matters to begin with.

To me, the aesthetic I am speaking of is often connected to the depiction of the contrasting elements of the world/society, to social critique (whether active or passive), to the fragmentation and isolation of the individual, to the final ambiguity of meaning, and other themes I have been trying to explore lately and will be addressing more from now on. Those themes reverberate deeply within me. It is not simply visual. Inspiration is dead to me right now. What is alive is a sense of confusion, a lack of purpose, a vague yet poignant dissatisfaction with something I cannot even clearly define, a feeling of pressure constantly closing in on me and threatening to extinguish the last of my breath. That is what drives me now.

(Oh, so dramatic. >__>;;)

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