Every now and then this whole artist thing gets to me; I feel lost in this messy thing called life: reality: purpose. I find it all quite overwhelming.
I went to Vancouver’s Arts Comics Festival a couple of weeks ago and met some incredibly talented people. I was so excited on my way back home: sleep deprived, food deprived, and running on a weird sense of the energy; the whole journey was ending as I sat on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, cradling a box of goodies, art from other artists, that I traded copies of The Destructive Artist for.
I decided to write about each of the individuals I met at the festival, 1. As a token and appreciation of meeting them, enjoying their art, and having received some of theirs for mine, and 2. As an attempt to maintain the relationships, possibly evolve them into friendships (or as far as social media can develop friendships these days), and maybe, just possibly, get some shout outs from them to their fans about me and my work.
It’s been three weeks and I’ve only written about two of the artists I met, three if you consider one of the posts was about a duo. I was posting them on a weekly basis, even though when I came back I had the gusto and desire to write about all of them at once and post them day by day with strips of TDA.
Over the past week or so part of me gave up. I fell into the all too common swell of some kind of depression. I’ve had no problem creating work, as I’ve been drawing bristol board after bristol board of art, but rather, the lack of affirmation, appreciation, and knowing of my work drives me into a hermit-like state.
I regret not writing all of the reviews at once, as it now seems painstakingly irresponsible for me not to continue, even though the urge seems to have broken.
That is, until I call up my dad to talk about my life, and eventually look at Sam Alden’s website, http://gingerlandcomics.blogspot.ca/, since he was the next artists I planned to, and from here on out will, write about.
Sam is stellar. When I heard the title of his comic, 8th Grade, I figured it would be the same high school drama and stories you read everywhere else. And maybe they are. I wrote about them too last year during my series of True Tales of High School Drama. But, as Sam or my work will prove to anyone who reads it, though we tend to experience “universal norms”, what we take out of and express from it is always unique to the individual.
The story is compelling: it tugs your heart: the words and characters are so spot on that at times the story seems realer than memories of my time in high school. It’s so easy to empathize with the characters, the setting, the whole story, that it’s a pleasure to get sucked into it. And the art is beautiful.
Rarely does one get the opportunity to watch an artist at work, be it a musician playing a song, a painter painting an easel, a chef preparing a meal, etc. However, at VanCAF, I had the pleasure of watching Sam draw several “sketches” (I say this in quotations because if you look at Sam’s art it’s clear to note that anything he makes is far beyond a sketch). The subject matter of these sketches ranged tremendously, but the way in which he held his marker and pulled images out of thing air, or rather transported them from his mind to paper, was remarkable, breathtaking, inspirational.
I just had the pleasure of browsing through another one of his collections, Haunter. Sam’s use of colour, and the story’s lack of verbal narrative, takes you on journey that I can only refer to as hallucinogenic.
Sam seems to have a lot of fans, and I’ve heard others speak highly of him, but having met him, I can’t imagine that this is why he produces. He has a serene simplicity about him, which seems to be a beautiful mask for the artistic talent and expressions that lies beneath, and makes it’s way out. He’s an interesting, if not intriguing, package.
Sam, thank you for inspiring me to write about you and to get me back on track with something I said I would do. You’ve inspired me to not give up, for at least one more day.