Monday, September 04, 2006

Mindlessness


I saw this 13-ish fella pushing a stroller with his 2 younger siblings in it. He was sweating, miserable, rickshaw-forlorn, and he gravely looked up to me. I saw this image. I jumped to my easel and drew 'im.
It's funny, because for the past day or so I'd been thinking of what I didn't like about my job. What I don't like, I realized, is the Assembly Line and the Need for Manufacturing. The Assembly Line and the Need for Manufacturing is a syndrome of pain. You physically whip-out pale drawing after pale drawing of the universal face. There is no MIND in your endeavor. It is MINDLESS, and your activity is an act for wages only. You need to eat, to buy video games, to subdue your family and the welfare state and collectors; you're proving Marx's point: history is motivated by money. But I disagree with Karl. I think humanity's push is related to what the Greeks called Eros (and who made this quality a god) and by the trauma of great MINDS and by desperate animal masses and perhaps by the hand of suspicious powers/creator(s). But what end does my wage warrant such boring means besides the above mentioned? Perhaps an end called carelessness? Or selfishness? A house and spouse and child? But aren't those things often the result of urge and not mind?... But I digress....
I DO NOT want mindless work. That, technically, is DRUDGERY. I wish to be honored with finanicial reward by the use of my MIND in concert with my art. If drudgery is the only choice, then I'll drive a truck. It's a lot easier, and less hypocritical, less guilt. The mindlessness of typical caricaturing is a horror, akin to digging ditches or making one million cookies. I don't wish to be a factory-worker. Thought, pondering, searching, failing, finding. That's the good work. The work of the artist.
So, when it comes down to it, how do I continue within the current caricaturing business? Well, it's the greatest job in the world, I say. And I say that $20 or $30 is too much for the typical caricature, and not enough for a studied one. I will continue, and will learn, putting much much energy into the thing, and much much mind. I will not let it become an assembly line, and will recognize that while it is an "art job" it is also a form of entertainment, and that it includes a certain amount of selling. But entertainment and salesmanship are just the means to an end: a work of art, the work of the artist, my pleasure.

6 comments:

Steve said...

Tim I love this caricature! Hey, 3 weeks and we shall be side by side, drawing and laughing our heads off!! Can't wait!

-Mike "El Loco One" said...

You know Tim, One thing I do not understand is the whole mentality behind some artists believeing what we do is an "assembly line"
That's the first mistake one makes when talking about caricatures. If YOU believe your work is nothing but assembly line quality, then that's exactly what it becomes.
One thing I have tried to instill in the new artists I work with, is that Quality and quantity can meet a great balance if the artist chooses to do so.
I despise when I see a cookie cut out caricature artist, where everything looks identical to each other.
It's possible to distinguish each face you draw, get a good likeness, produce a quality drawing, and be fast. You and I both know that we have artists we work with who do just that.
Your stuff has improved leaps and bounds over the last two years, and I am thrilled by that.
And I challenge anyone to sit with me for a day and call me an assembly line. I take pride in EVERY piece I do, because I know that it's my work, my representation, that is going to be adorning wallspace all over the world.

Great pic by the way,......

Tim Gardner said...

Gosh, I don't know what to say, Mike. Do you think I was calling YOU an "assembly line"? Because I wasn't. And I'm not calling the retail stands that either. The assembly line forms in an artist's heart and mind when he or she cranks-out the same thing continuously just for the money, and goes home lessened by the experience. A shift or a gig is always a burden for that kind of artist. Indeed, Mike, you're a great artist who puts a lot of care into his art, I am certain. Hmm, maybe I worded my post wrong. I don't know. Sorry if you were offended. I'm an idiot.

-Mike "El Loco One" said...

No Tim, I wasn't assuming you were refering to me that way. But there are artists out there, that have refered to us in general as such.
Yeah I agree, when going to your shift is a burden, and you are an artist, something is definitely wrong. If someone feels that way, perhaps they are just in it strictly for the cash, and not at all for the love of what they do.
Going to work is never a burden for me, because I figure if I wasn't getting paid to do it, I'd be home doing it for free.
No offense was taken my friend.

-Mike "El Loco One" said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim Gardner said...

Oh, man, I totally thought you were mad at me. That's a relief. ... And to further clarify: for much of this year, up to a few weeks ago, MY caricaturing had indeed become a burden. I was miserable, hating the whole thing. March, April, May, June,... A real horror show. But something "clicked" all of a sudden, and I started experimenting, and exaggerating some, and it renewed me. I was learning again. Now I believe I can become quite good if I only dedicate myself to it. It's an exciting time for me right now, trying to figure-out how to "push it," without getting slapped and without going broke and/or getting fired. LOL.