I was browsing through some of my older work today and for some reason it struck me just how much my work bears influence from things I have seen. I spend so much time looking at other creative work that sometimes I feel over saturated by it. You start to pick and choose and push and pull the elements that you think people want to see and what you think will gain favor. Unfortunately, without even realizing it, the end result is that I end up producing work that resembles things I have seen and like much too closely.
A lot of times I will kick off working on something by gathering inspiration and then starting out. After I have started on something, I cast aside the inspirational resources and work until I feel I am done. After that, I usually never look to the inspirational sources again and trash them. Its not until much later that I will sometimes stumble across something on the net or in print, that I realize just how close some of my work turns out looking like whatever I looked at before I started working. I have always had a powerful memory and I used that memory to get through classes as a pre-med/chiropractic major for the first couple years in college. I switched over to design later in my studies. It’s a great thing to have, but sometimes I think it hurts me because I take a mental note of something and am able to recreate something I have seen very quickly and easily (just from memory).
So I end up being a junk man, a collector of influences and images with no real original or individually recognizable feature. I am growing as a creative and a designer just by continually working, but in order to reach something that is really my own, I need to push away from my current process and do something completely different. One of my greatest influences in the past was Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant). Although I still have a lot of respect for Shepard and always will, I am not sure anymore if I agree with appropriating imagery and inspiration. I think the real objective of an artist and a designer (creative not commercial), is to reach something that truely represents you as an individual and carve out your own space.
As a result of this questioning and searching, I will be cleaning house. I am going to be slowly casting out things in my portfolio that I think too closely resemble things I have seen. I will no longer be appropriating imagery or collaging appropriated imagery into my work. I will still be blogging like a mad man, but I am pushing away from the computer when I start working on my personal art and design work. I am picking back up the pencil and starting there. Hopefully, a change will begin to emerge in my work that I have been seeking and my real identity as a creative will begin to finally emerge. That is my end goal. This won’t happen overnight. It will be a slow process but in time I think my creative work will take on a completely different aesthetic that belongs entirely to me.
I have never hidden myself from public scrutiny on this blog. I wanted it to be something different. I wanted it to be something that helped me grow as an individual, artist and designer, but also share that growth and inspiration with my peers and the world. I think of it like a conversation I am having with a very large audience. It helps me to state my intentions and bear my flaws and mistakes. I just want to hit the reset button on some of the things I have done and turn over a new leaf.
As a result of this epiphany, I will be culling down my print and design work and casting out the things I think don’t represent my new ethos. And eventually, I will most likely pull my work from the site, and continue Changethethought as a source of creative inspiration while housing my studio work elsewhere (Changethethought studio, if you will). I am no where near what I hope to achieve as a designer and artist and I hope committing to this new model will push me where I want to go faster.
Again, thank you for visiting the blog and being a part (even if it’s just spectating) of my growth and journey as an artist and designer. I won’t bore you with my inner-struggles anymore. Back to design porn.