Boing Boing and Penciljack have got me in a nostalgic mood. I get this way a lot because I'm inexorably mired in the past and tend to refuse to acknowledge that the future holds any meaningful change. It's not that I fear change, or that I don't want change, it's that I don't think the change will be worth all the commotion. It's a cynic's life.
I was especially moved by legoloverman's classic space designs and it got me thinking that here was someone who must have been hoarding pieces since he was small. (I'm assuming he's roughly my age. I'm also assuming he's a he. Any girl classic space model builders going to disagree with me? Didn't think so.) Plus he must have either a keen appreciation for the pieces or he's an engineer or both. But what got me is there must have been a choice a long time ago, in someone's youth, that this is what they want to do. They're going to master this because they love it and they found out early.
How many of us can say that's happened to us? I'm venturing to say not many. Who finds out when they're 9 that they love crunching numbers or fixing pipes or cleaning septic tanks or breeding chickens or any other number of inglorious careers. I knew I liked to draw but because of my teachers in high school specifically and to a smaller extent college, I wasn't encouraged to draw. My parents did their best, but their main concerns were as follows and in order of importance; roof, food, clothes. After that I think we were kind of allowed to do whatever as long as it didn't involved grain alcohol, people named Skeetch or an amicable association with the local bail bondsman.
I didn't find out I COULD be a good artist - a paying artist, until I'd already made too many choices about what it means to be an adult in a working society. I didn't know about graphic design and when I was in high school, there was no web design. There were computers and computer art and computer graphics and presentations, but it was relatively new. There was desktop publishing in the form of brochures and magazines and other publications, there was advertising (which my grandpa had done but I got the idea he didn't want that for anyone as it was probably very stressful.) I never had the idea that I could support myself being an artist when I got older and because art and soccer were all I knew, that's all I did. When I broke my jaw playing soccer, that's the last I played and went into theater instead.
Of all the things I think I could have done differently, going into theater was probably the biggest one. If anyone struggles more than artists, it's actors. At least artists can freelance or work in marketing. Actors have waiting tables? Instead of acting and music, I should have taken more computer courses and learned about the business of art. In fact, if that's one thing I could pass along to young artists is that you have to have a head for business or else someone else will run your life. That someone may be a mid level management person in a corporate environment, it may be the line cook at the BK Lounge, it may be a spouse or significant other that supports you. But if you don't understand how to make your art work for you, if you aren't savvy and tirelessly self-promotive, you'll end up doing something you have to in order to be able to do something you like.
The ideal society isn't one of peace or prosperity or plenty or well being, it's a society full of people who do what they love to do and are recognized and rewarded for doing it well. I say ideal because surely no one wants to be the subject of Dirty Jobs.
And with that I ran out of muse. Carry on.