Friday, February 12, 2010


It's 8:43am, but really, i've been up for about 3 hours already.
I should have taken a photo of the
coffee stains around my eyes (thank you sarah harmer for that one.)
I've been thinking a lot about the possibility of heading in a new direction with my work (I know that I sound as though I'm beating down that dead horse) but it's something that has been lingering inside of me for a long time now.
Don't assume that my need for change means that I will terminate everything else that defined who I was; who I am. It just means that I'm seeking out new possibilities.
Metaphorically doodling?
Do illustrators doodle anymore? Or have I been blinkered into such a narrow way of thinking that I believe that the only way to go about illustration-making is by letting my ideas and concept advise my hands.
I mean isn't that the way that it works?
We read a story, we're given a strategy, and then we move forward coming up with a visual to try to adhere to the parameters of the assignment?
But do we have to approach our image-making this way all of the time?
I read a quote by Marshall Arisman in his book, "Inside the Business of Illustration," co-authored by Steven Heller, where he mentions that "before we can tell someone else's story (as illustrators) we have to be able to tell our own," (not verbatim).
I love that line; I love that way of thinking, but how to do you get to that point?
How to you begin to tell your story when you're not even sure what it is that you want to say, or how you want to say it?
And how do you do it especially when you've been taught to create in such a straightforward manner; having a picture be informed by an article, or story for example?
I don't think there is necessarily a militant answer.
One thing that I've been embracing is a kind of free associative process in my personal drawings, moreso near the beginning of my process when I'm blurry in my thoughts of what to create. I'm aware that I want to draw something, but I'm not sure what it is, and so I begin to doodle, in essence. I begin to ask myself questions, such as "what do I like?...who am I?...what do I hate?...what did I used to like?...why?...what are the qualities and characteristics of my work?..."
It's not so linear but it's at least one starting point for me.
And quite honestly it might not even amount to much in terms of a drawing, but it raises me to a space where I am oftentimes surprised at the outcome.
The drawing at the top of this piece was really just a free assignment that I did on my own, with no art direction, no story, no concept - it's truly a glorified doodle. It began as that, as shapes drawn lightly in yellow ochre watercolour paint, and as I moved the brush around on the surface of the paper, a repetition of objects began to take shape some of which began to resolve itself as recognizable figures. I did this drawing about 2 years ago, and the process was so enriching.
Looking back, I realized that by challenging the way in which I worked, I became introduced to a new way of practicing my art and illustration.
No, I didn't psychologically throw out anything,
but readdressed and reevaluated the process of my creative work. Instead of conceiving of a concept, a thesis, a statement and then finally creating a drawing from that original source, I decided not to; I placed that method of working onto the sidelines for another day.
The other day came when I was hired by Maxalot to create a custom design wallpaper for his Exposif Collection. I had free reign, and the aforementioned image that I had done of the homoerotic Bellmer-esque sausage eaters, were fresh in my head. Somehow through this, I managed to reinvestigate the drawing and
represent it in a form that I believe was more commercial.

When I was younger, and shifting through styles, not only in terms of art and illustration, but also in terms of styles of dress, the styles that define a clique of friends, the styles that come with living one's life; I felt in order to style a new life, I would have to give up my old one. I understand that this happens to many people, it happens as we get older; we grow into our new selves, we learn new things through our formal education, through our neighbourhoods, our friends, the media, and slowly, we begin to develop a new way of seeing, thinking and behaving. For me, it was very difficult to reconcile the thoughts of the new person that I had become, versus the one who I used to be - a kid from Scarborough, Ontario. But overtime I realized that it's not about letting go of my previous self, but creating a dialogue between the past and the present.

*I'm all about giving props to people, the title came from Leslie Feist's lyrics from her song, "Past in Present." She's totally bad-ass!
Fiest, Leslie. "Past in Present." The Reminder. Interscope, May 2007.


Steve said...

Love the last paragraph! I feel like myself and the few close friends I have are experiencing a certain transition now that the "art school" thing is coming to an end. Not just with our styles in art, but as you said, the way we live, styles of life, points of views on the world etc. Great post!

Steve said...

oh also, sorry if I was zoned out the other day, when you passed me on 23rd and said hi; I had just woken up and didn't even realize who was saying hi at first lol, then in my head I was like ah that was marcos >.<

Marcos Chin said...

thanks for responding steve, and no problem about the other day - i didn't take offence whatsoever.
it's funny, but part of me feels much like how i felt around the time that i graduated - not exactly the same, but in many ways. i recently spoke to a few friends who i went to art school and some of them are in similar shoes - transition i guess... the thing is that i sometimes wonder when that point of equilibrium or homeostasis will occur?
oprah says being 50 years old kicks ass... just kidding... but i think she said something like that, but was far less crass.

Molly Sugar said...

Hey loved the purity of this post and could relate a lot to your last paragraph. The last line was especially insightful. I feel there is this ever-evolving and changing force within your voice as an artist that will continually grow and morph. This applies to all aspects of your life too. As you say its hard to see and wonder when an equilibrium will occur. I think this curiosity and pursuit for an equilibrium in fact drives more change. As long as this curiosity is present, everything will be ever-evolving. - Just my insights, this post got me thinking!

Marcos Chin said...

thanks for sharing molly... i agree... i always figured that by a certain age, i would have things figured out... but however cliche this sounds, i end up just asking more questions...