|"You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it - I'd like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?" - Ratatouille|
Latest drawings from class are forthcoming - it's been a busy few weeks and it will only get busier from here. But there are two things that have me thinking lately that I wanted to write about.
A Short Lesson In Perspective, by Linds Redding
- You should know before going into this that it's written by a man who has been off of work for 6 months getting chemotherapy for a probably-incurable cancer. I know it's long, but it's worth the read.
I have never worked in advertising - I can only bring my knowledge of the TV and film industry (and really, only the reality TV industry) to this discussion. And on top of that, I've only been in the workforce for 3 years now, so I voice my opinion with the knowledge that I really don't know anything. But I see the same thing happening to the TV and film industry that Linds observed happening in advertising. The pace of life that modern technology has forced us into favors quantity over quality (I feel like 24-hour news networks are a great example of this). I've had a few people tell me now that even as recent an invention as reality TV used to be different - one producer and one editor got together with their footage and had a year to cut a show. The business model that I entered was more assembly-line inspired, with many editors, sometimes more than 10, brought in to cut a show within two, three months. Speed is key. A fast turnaround is a must. Time is everything. And a 10-hour day is standard. (I've worked on a few shows where 9 hours is the norm... it feels like an extravagant luxury.)
I'm happy to be employed, working creatively, doing what I studied, with good people. And I'm even proud of the shows that I work on. But I do think, in this and in many creative fields, that quality is increasingly being exchanged for quantity and speed, that artistic risk is becoming endangered in favor of what's already tested well with the target demographic, and a healthy work/life balance is falling by the wayside.
The second thing I wanted to talk about was the recent death of my aunt Kathy on my mom's side. (Originally I wasn't going to write about this since this is an art blog - but it's my art blog, darnit, and I'll write what I like.) She was one of the kindest people I've ever met in my life, with a warm, quiet demeanor, and her early departure from this earth was shocking as well as deeply saddening. But her death also had an impact on me that I didn't anticipate.
When I started getting back into drawing earlier this year, I think I actually became so obsessed with the subject of art and with making myself a better artist that I got into a bad place about it. Everything that wasn't art-related was taking time away from my passion - including people. I started to meticulously plan out every minute of my free time so that I could devote the maximum amount of time to drawing and learning about drawing, and anytime something came up last-minute, I got stressed. You get the idea... Anyway, I had already been starting to get this under control recently, but when I found out my aunt died, the change was immediate. I instantly thought of how long it had been since I'd called or written. And I couldn't attend the funeral either due to hurricane Sandy - but I felt the grief and the love in the coming-together of the Hanlon family from across the country. Since then, I've realized that no matter what you're doing with your life, the only thing that really matters is the people around you. You could have the best job in the world, but the only thing that makes it worthwhile is who you share it with - and likewise, friends and family are what make the unbearable things just a little more bearable.
Like Linds said in his essay, "If you're reading this while sitting in some darkened studio or edit suite agonizing over whether housewife A should pick up the soap powder with her left hand or her right, do yourself a favour. Power down. Lock up and go home and kiss your wife and kids."
Finally, one last word from Anton Ego.
(I rewatched Ratatouille recently and this part of the movie always makes my heart soar... I think it might be my favorite Pixar. Besides The Incredibles. And the Toy Storys. And Wall-E.)