Graphic Arts?

I’m just coming off from browsing job offers with the keywords InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Entry Level, in various combinations.  Most of the job descriptions which require InDesign are, in actuality, Graphic Design jobs.  Most of the job descriptions I read which require Illustrator and Photoshop are, in actuality, Graphic Design jobs.

I’ve just looked at the three-year MFA program at a local school (the one I’ve had my eyes on for a while) and it says that the cost of a Design MFA for me — from there — will likely total around $180,000.  I’m guessing I’m not going there.

There is a book that I picked up titled Should I Go to Grad School?:  41 Answers to an Impossible Question, within which, all but one of those who received an Art MFA said that it wasn’t worth it.  The one who said it could be nice had one year’s tuition saved up already and had another year of her tuition paid by her grandmother, and so only had one years’ worth of debt upon graduation.

However, these people were referred to as “Artists,” not “Designers,” so I’m hazarding a guess that they weren’t in commercial art.

The thing is, it is indeed possible for me to get a Graphic Arts certificate within a local community college and go on to an apprenticeship.  I’m just not certain that what I want to do is Graphic Design.  If I did want to do that, though, I would need to take at least Typography in addition to InDesign.  Because family is into this as well, I have seen, as at least one thing, Emigré advertisements, so at least there is some exposure there.

The problem with doing a Graphic Arts certificate is that it is 1) only some preparation for the field, and 2) the classes can be at night in an area which isn’t known for being safe; however, I did just check the schedule, and it looks like this is not as big an issue as I thought.

I had been thinking of Illustration as an option.  I did see an ad for a Google Doodler, which looks like it would be what I’d been thinking of (with the specializations in Fine Art and Communications — which, I haven’t mentioned considering yet, but I am).

I’m going to try and hold off on attempting to make a distinction between which is better suited for me, right now.  What I’d been thinking of reads as being a professional communicator in the realm of commercial art, having a Fine Art background and utilizing Multimedia proficiencies, along with Business and Communications skills.  Then I’d do my own personal art on the side.

I did come to the realization the other day that I’m very much an Arts and Humanities person (art, philosophy, writing, foreign language, etc.)…the school I’m attending is pushing its tech programs really hard, but also has a viable Arts department (like many community colleges).  The Communications and Humanities departments…aren’t really promoted, though I can see the application of Communications to Business and Humanities to Art.  I’m lucky I even know these departments exist; it’s only because they were cross-referenced from within Business and Art.

I’m thinking that the Communications courses, though — would be very applicable to job-search and boardroom presentations, in addition to communicating with co-workers.  I thought there was a Certificate offered in this, but I can’t find it right now.  Regardless, I probably don’t need the entire General Business Certificate; but Marketing, Communication, Financial Management, and Business Law are still right on target.  The Business classes will be especially important if I become a freelancer.

Why the base in Fine Art?  I don’t see skills gained in Fine Art becoming totally obsolete, whereas Adobe CS3 (as I think I trained on in my beginning years) has.  Fine Arts are applicable to Digital Art, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true.  Also, because of the issue of training — I’m thinking there will be a lot of digital artists who can’t do work by hand, in addition to a lot of digital artists who can’t write well, or can’t present well.  I’m hoping to embellish my potential by working on my weak areas and building on my strong ones.

The iffy part is that I’m not sure how much well-rounded applicants actually are valued…


Revisiting career/educational foci — Multimedia, Fine Arts, Business.

I was just looking over backposts here and found this one, having to do with the possibilities of using skills in Technical Writing, Art, and Business in conjunction with one another, as a career focus.

At this point, I’m looking at things a little differently.  It’s no question that I view art as a combination of work and play — work, because it has to be done, it can’t just be imagined; play, because it can be done no other way (at least which I can see from here).  However…I have been noticing my flow of words and thoughts here, and have noticed that it seems very organic.  I wouldn’t think this would be something which would easily lend itself to technical writing, though I can take a class and find out.  I just am concerned that the style of my writing is more a creative/generative one, not a bold/direct one with a clear singular predetermined message.

I’m looking, at this time, at using skills based in Fine Arts, Multimedia Arts (Digital Imaging and/or Digital Printmaking), and Business, just with the knowledge that I can communicate well through writing also.  But I don’t have to focus on the latter, even though it’s a primary strength of mine.  Well — I suppose I could still submit a writing portfolio, and just not depend entirely on it.  It will at least give me a leg up.  I do need to find out if Digital Imaging is indeed something that’s salable on the market, however.

In this, I’m looking into Advertising and Marketing as potential paths I could go down.  I’m thinking that the impression I got of Marketing by taking Intro to Marketing last semester may not be wholly accurate, as my professor was somewhat eccentric…I’ll save the rest of my thoughts on that.

But all of that also leads me to the concept of taking a course in InDesign and looking at the Graphic Arts program at a different school.  From here, I don’t think I’ll want to major in Graphic Design, but I might need to have some fundamental knowledge of layout.

In addition, I have been told that the Graphic Arts program is “a good start,” but that I’d additionally need either further training (like a BFA), or an apprenticeship, to really be prepared for the working world.  This is if I wanted to be a Graphic Designer — which is not something I really have my heart set on at this point.  There is a certain “look” which is recognizable to me as Graphic Design, and I don’t want to be trained into/trapped in it.

However, I could produce images for people, and I could help with layout.  I think I could also help with copywriting, though to be honest I have little idea of what all the different editing and writing position titles refer to.  I think copywriting is when a person directly writes text for something that will be published.

But Multimedia Arts…right.  It’s actually kind of cool to be able to use computers for things other than just the Internet and MS Word, and I get kind of excited when I get to put my skills to use as regards this.  I’m not a photorealistic type, but I think I do have good aesthetic senses.  Fine Arts is probably what I really want to do, but it is difficult to make a living off of Fine Arts alone.  But this will help generate the effects of creativity which will help go into making me a competent artist in the realm of multimedia.  Like I said earlier, I don’t think that going into Multimedia Arts without a background in Fine Arts is a good idea.

And the point also remains that it is much more difficult for me to draw at this point in my life, than it was when I was 14.  But my drawings are probably of higher quality and (much) more refined concept than they were when I was 14.  I really want to take a Watercolor class next semester — I want to learn to think in color and not just in black and white, line, and value (though I have really only just begun to think in terms of value!).

The whole positive/negative space thing and the imagining-in-value thing I think are my next official steps…I should be cleared for Advanced Drawing after this semester, but I’m going to try and take Figure Drawing to get the Level 1 Animation certificate.  After that I can see if I want to go into Animation…but I’m not sure that I will.

The Business courses, on the other hand…will likely be helpful in managing my money and marketing my work.  For instance, something that was gone over in Marketing last semester essentially revolved around identity.  If I were to make images, I’d want to know who I’d work for and what they wanted, which is something I haven’t wholly figured out yet.  (Oh, hey!  Just looking through my Categories here, and — QUILTBAG-friendly companies?  Community centers?  Libraries?)

So there’s still more work to be done as regards research.  However, I thought I should note this.

The message that answered the question, “what is a demon?”

I’m still not sure I believe all of this.

Since I seem to have run out of quotidian things to talk about, how about I risk alienating some of y’all with some of the spiritual process that was the seed of my “nebula” drawing?

This comes in the wake of reading a little bit in the book I bought on channeling.  This is Opening to Channel by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer.  I’ll spare you the story on how I ran across the book in the first place and will instead enter with this thought:  I’m not sure if what the authors describe in the book actually is legitimate channeling (it is partially categorized under “Self Help”, which is not a genre known for being accurate to reality) but if it is (or even if it is not), I do it already.

Anyhow, a little while after I began reading the book, I began to get messages, which are normal for me.  I’ve been iffy on sharing this information because I know it could cause unwanted ripple effects for myself in particular — a reason why I’ve disabled trackbacks and pingbacks.  In addition, I have dealt recently with beginning to broach my philosophical/spiritual stance with an acquaintance, who basically wholly did not understand it or my reason for sharing, and because of that there is some awkwardness between us now.

The question for me — which I’ve been dealing with for years — is what a “demon” is supposed to be.  I have found no consistent external definition which holds true between religions, other than something hovering around “powerful bad spirit thing.”  I separate my definition of “demon,” in addition, both from religious definitions and from otherkin community definitions.  This is what a “demon” is to me, not what it has to be to anyone else.

My prior information read that a “demon” was a “tester”, in specific a tester of ordered systems.  This is not unlike holding a relatively identifiable role in relation to the Internet.  What came next was unexpected; I think this is because it didn’t actually come from me.  It did, however, answer my question.

This moved beyond “tester” stage to “tempter”.

I’m not really Christian, not into the Abrahamic stuff mostly, only with some exploratory forays into Qabalah and Ceremonial Magick, before the dependence on an alien system turned me off.  So this was a little bit of a surprise.  What stayed the same was the idea that demons — what I consider my actual demons in my actual situation; I don’t mean by this to implicate living people who identify with demons (which is a different dynamic) — test people by presenting them with options (usually ineffective or bad for them or someone else in some way), which they might not come to on their own.  Kind of like the Bad Idea Bears from Avenue Q.  Whenever a major act of hate or widespread destruction happens, regardless of the reasoning behind it, this is because someone failed a test.  The Manhattan Project and what came of it comes to mind, among other obvious human-engineered disasters.

The demons themselves aren’t responsible for the action, so this isn’t really a Fallen scenario.  In and of themselves…they’re influencers, so far as I can tell, but not necessarily actors.  The link to be made here is that if all of us tried, we could stop this.  The ones who actually commit the horrific actions usually are either oblivious, or think they are in the right.  They also often seem to think that the thoughts which arise in their minds must come from them (and quite possibly may think they must be right just because the thought arose in their mind and they see themselves as incapable of fallacy).

In modern U.S. culture, outside of a cult I know of (and try to avoid) and its offshoots, there doesn’t seem to be much knowledge of the concept that not everything that runs through one’s mind has to be sourced from oneself writ small.  Not only — in my case in specific — is not everything I think sourced from me, but not everything I think is true, and not everything I think can be believed or acted upon.  In this sense I even hold this proposal in a middle state, because even though I experience the spirit from whom it came to be very caring and pure, I can’t be sure that my mind didn’t just make this up.

On top of this, another jump was made:  demons, being incorporeal, can’t affect the physical level of reality themselves, so they get others to affect it for them.  For a very long time they have infiltrated and influenced the very structures which would seem to fight against them (Crusades, Inquisition, etc).  Not everyone who claims to be “Light” actually is acting from the Light.  Not everyone who thinks they’re “Dark” actually is.

Some of them, like myself, have seen — what my guide calls “evil” (I try not to use that term) — contaminating the people who say they’re from the Light, and have set themselves up in opposition to these people, thinking the people who say they’re from the Light actually are acting from the Light, when they are not.  Those who promote widespread suffering delude themselves if they believe they are of the Light.  They sully the name of Light and can lead those of us who are able and willing to take a stand, to explore Darkness, before we find that answers are not to be found where one is willfully blind.

I’m not saying that all those of Dark inclinations are willfully blind; I was socialized into that place, after all, and as a consequence, with help, I’ve gotten to this one.  However, my own experience shows me that there is a difference between emotion and knowledge.  I did explore what I termed “dark religion” (to avoid stating particular groups) for some years, but I’ve seen the effects it has had on some others who explored more daringly than I, and I decided to give the Light a shot.  In return I got this message.

Those who see themselves as “Light,” without a state of intuitive vigilance and mindfulness (much as I hate to jump on the “mindfulness” bandwagon — but I see that I will need to do so both with skillful listening and with art), can become pawns of what is essentially “evil” by not paying attention to the quality of their actions, and whether or not they bring more pain, suffering, and destruction than healthy joy into the world.  These people attack those they see as Dark without realizing that they themselves are bringing the Darkness they fight against into material reality.

Or, I assume that they do not realize this.  Perhaps they do, and they continue anyway because it “feels so good” to think one is superior to others, and to have an excuse to dominate and subject others to pain at the same time as they can feel good and right about themselves.

The reason I believe I got this explanation, in specific, is that Christianity is one of those things which I have historically been turned off to because of the hypocrisy, division, and hate that is allowed, celebrated, and encouraged within many Christian groups.  Therefore, to allow the widest opening to love, I received a message which sounds Christian and at the same time came from a (legitimately) caring place.  In addition — I’m not Christian, but a Christian-sounding message may access the widest number of hearts, at least in my country.

The way to guard against this tendency to give into the Dark is to remain mindful.  I’m told never to break my code (I didn’t know I had a code), never lose my spiritual vision.  Life doesn’t have to be as fraught with difficulty as it is; and it’s always been our task to create our present and our future.

All that said, I’m still not totally…cognizant of what to do with my own thoughts which do stray into “Dark” territory.  It’s unquestionable that they’re still there; I’m just much more in control of myself and attentive to them as what they are, at this time.  I’m thinking it’s the nature of the human condition to exist as free agents between the two camps (if there are only two; I suspect there are more).

It’s just that sometimes I really want to be on one side because of the quality of companionship, and at other times I get really angry at people for harming others and their finding (or pretending to find) joy in it.  And there’s no question of there being rage there.  But, as I learned early on, the problem of violence cannot be solved with violence.  The meme travels from the punished to the punisher.  It’s impossible to get rid of violence by enacting violence, but it seems to be the only way many people know how to deal with things they don’t like.

I believe the “personal duality” project that I have in words described above (i.e. the nebula drawing) was supposed to show an indeterminate state.  Instead, it showed a state in which, for the moment, the light was driving back the darkness.  It would be interesting to chronicle this in artwork.

I’ve eliminated trackbacks and pingbacks, but comments are open.  If you’re respectful and I can tell pure intent (pure malice doesn’t count — I think you know what I mean), I may let you through.

Thinking back on the critique from yesterday —

I had intended to make it out to an art store today to pick up some materials, but I ended up staying in bed for a while (I went to bed after 2AM last night) and then didn’t have the motivation to actually get ready to go outside.  But that gets into multiple health issues, which are somewhat beyond the intended focus of this blog.

Regardless, my sleep schedule seems to be messed up again.  Multiple factors lead into this (like my incipient caffeine addiction), but mostly I think it’s sleeping during the day and being awake and active after dark.  I’m sure that if I had drank the tea and then not taken a 5-hour nap, I would have gone to bed closer to 10 PM.  I would have been wiped out, and hopefully would subsequently have had the energy to get up at 9 AM.  That would have given me more daylight hours to read and draw — and shop.  And cook and clean and do laundry.

Anyhow.  I did note some things down last night while trying to sleep, which was nearly the only period of time in which I actually did anything today.

I recall from my Communications text that we only remember about 1/3 of spoken information shortly after it’s delivered to us.  I forget the exact number of minutes it takes for the other 2/3 to disappear, but granted this, and granted the fact that I was trying so hard to listen and pay attention that I did not take notes during my own portfolio review…I’m left with some impressions but few words.  I’ll try and note some of these below; keep in mind that some of these impressions are from me, and others are from my class.

-Each stroke matters.  Remain mindful.  I found this out when I was reworking an image of the autoantonym, “Temper.”  This entailed a fairly involved process of attempting to illustrate a hand-hammered copper bowl.  Why? you ask.  I’ve been involved in metalworking classes in the past, and it was just what came to mind — the softening of metal through heat.

I’d say my first attempt was more successful than my second, mostly because in my second I didn’t take the time to visualize what I wanted to do and what I was doing, before I did it.  In the first, though, I was taking my time because I really didn’t know what I was doing, so I had the time to pay attention to all my strokes.

There are aspects of curvature that will differ depending on where the hammer mark is placed on the bowl, and its geometric/angular relation to the viewer.  This is something I seemed to intuitively understand the first time around, but in the second run I ended up just drawing relatively flat circles for hammer marks, as though the bowl were a 2-D cutout.  In consequence, it wasn’t as sophisticated in its illustration as it could have been.

-I was told repeatedly that my use of color was very strong, and to keep going with it.  I attribute the skill in this to have been practiced both in my color dynamics class and my beading (which I haven’t been doing much of, recently, although one of my in-laws would like me to make her a necklace, and asked a while ago — I should get on that).  Particularly in two pieces — my “Integration of Opposites” piece and my “Self and Other” piece, the use of color was very powerful.

In Self and Other I was trying to avoid using clashing overtones while mixing colored pencil hues.  It only really happened at one point when I got too careless and mixed a red with a warm orange overtone and a blue with a cool violet overtone.  (I’m not sure if it was Cadmium Red Hue and Ultramarine, but it was something obviously clashing like that.)  This turned into dirty brownish-greyish-red instead of violet.  However, I knew this could be remedied because of the principles of subtractive color mixing; I added a red on top of it which would absorb the violet/orange hues (subtractive color, right?) and was able to successfully mask the fact that there was a dirty-looking spot on the paper.

-This is something that isn’t wholly anything which anyone said, more than my own goal:  I want to work on my use of positive and negative space.  That is, I want to pay more attention to it.  I feel like there were a couple of images I presented which were definitely playgrounds of positive/negative space, but it wasn’t wholly something I’d had the ability to see before putting them on the wall and backing away from them.  For example, I hadn’t noticed how complex each shape in my tessellation was, until I was about 25 feet away from it.

The “nebula” piece I did, as well — which I want to re-do, but can see so many different potential paths to do it that the thought is daunting — involved swirls of dark and light areas.  In one of these, I could see that it looked more like the light area was swirling into the dark area rather than the other way around; I wished that more of my swirls were ambiguous like this, because I really liked the effect of my brain switching between seeing white into black and black into white.

-This one is from my prof., which is to try and be less restrained in my work.  This arose when I made a giant geometrical pattern on a giant piece of paper because, hey, I get a giant piece of paper to put my giant fractal on, right?  But the assignment was to do a gestural drawing with detailed areas, and my fractal was a little too…uh, mathematical and predetermined, I’d think? to be considered gestural and spontaneous/in-the-moment (which I think was the point), even though I did have to really move my arm over a large scale to get the initial image.

I think it was too exact/precise to fulfill the purpose of the assignment — we have been doing a lot of assignments which lean towards getting us to let go of tight control when we’re drawing — for instance, blind contour drawing (tracing an outline while watching our subject — and not our hand) and Suminagashi (an essentially uncontrollable printing process which I’ve gone over earlier in this blog).

-The last thing I’ll mention is that I got some comments on how my process was evident in the portfolio I presented, which is something I don’t remember hearing in anyone else’s feedback.  I think my work probably had more elements of cohesion to it than most other people’s, in theme and motif.  Like:



Leaves/plants/flowers (like the water lilies that appeared twice)



Light sources (stars, star sapphire)

Graphic elements (strong color, black-on-white, clean delineations).

You know, now that I think about it, the symbol that I sprung off of for my gigantic drawing…the fractal, that is, did grow rather organically.  It wasn’t quite a binary generation, more a tertiary one, which explains why it sized itself off of my pages so quickly.  I wonder if I influenced anyone when I was making that gigantic fractal (like the one person who did a gorgeous piece based on equilateral triangles).

I do have more to note, particularly where it comes to my nebula drawing, but this is enough for here and now.

weird people (of which I am one)

Okay, so I am up late!  I had a frozen matcha drink and then slept for 5 hours, yes yes?  No, I don’t know how I fell asleep right after drinking matcha.  Anyhow…what I want to talk about here is…well, coming off as “eccentric” (to put it kindly, as I would want to, as this is public record).

I know that revealing too much of myself to people can make me look like I’m unstable, but my history is littered with disheveled thought that I myself have struggled to make sense of, and my coming off as “weird” in addition.  The spirituality/self-discovery stuff may not be literally true, but it helps me, and it is essentially my own truth, for now.  By that I mean that it is an ongoing, developing narrative that I can’t run away from.

(Speaking of which, I recently have had a sequence of understandings which cause me to reevaluate my spiritual position.  I know where I was before was mistaken; I just don’t know how fully to flow with the new information, as I’m now aware of new dynamics.  It recasts me as Light, when I’ve seen myself as not-Light for years, following the definitions which have been proposed by bigots and [rather stupidly] accepted by myself.  At this point I know that if someone is preaching and encouraging hate and hateful destruction, they aren’t acting from the Light, even if they claim they are.  But I have a tendency to take other peoples’ words and thoughts too seriously.)

Not much can be gained by denying one’s own truth in order to fit in, or to avoid looking “crazy.”  Well — maybe that’s not true.  One gains social acceptance, conformity, and a good job.  One misses the opportunity, however, to do the work of cultivating a sincere and honest relationship with oneself and the world.  Because unless you’re engaged — you never reach the deeper levels.

The key to managing this seems to be who you tell, and obviously (this is a blog, right?) I’ve been telling too many people.  But I don’t have a lot of friends.  I just worry that I’m relying too heavily on inappropriate supports (primarily authority figures and helpers who have no choice but to deal with me…which is the problem) to get my needs met.

The good thing is that I’m in an Art class as my primary class, and I find a lot of people there either understand the weirdness, or are in the same position themselves.  I remember one of my friends (back when I was in Drawing class with him in 2010) telling me that people advertising psychiatric drug trials would often target art schools.  😛

In addition, there is a difference between “weird” and “dangerous.”  I learned this probably about a decade ago, but it still doesn’t help when I get random people in the library who want to treat me like I’m their friend when I just work there and they won’t go away.  I don’t want to talk to them, but I have to be there because it’s my job.

I guess part of it is just familiarity.

That drunk guy, though?  Yeah, I haven’t had to work the desk in a very long time, and the last time I was on desk was the time he went off (in front of me).  I’m thinking the fact that I know that guy and dislike him, and knew he was a problem long before management recognized it, is the reason why I’ve been protected from being forced to deal with him.  Having to deal with people like that is the main reason I don’t want to be in a public service position for the rest of my life, and it’s the main reason I don’t like being on the front lines, as I am when I work the desk at my regular branch.

The thing is that I really don’t want to be like the drunk guy and try and make friends with people who aren’t interested.  Business as business, play as play, right?  It would be better for me to play with other students than to try and nurture a relationship with an authority figure who may feel prevented from saying “I would rather not talk to you about this right now,” or, “I’m just your instructor; you’re surrounded by others who are more appropriate as friends,” or, “please stop sending me four-page-long emails.”

I know it sounds funny when I write it like that, but sometimes it just helps to write an email to somebody, regardless of whether they read it or not.  Just having someone there to write to gives an arena to me to attempt to work out my thoughts, and my puzzling things out is often the important part — the response I get is often not the point.  And I don’t want to pressure people to respond to me!  Maybe what I should do is write out emails to people but then not send them?  Hmm.  The drawback to that is that then they’re cut out of the loop when it comes to my process.

But is it really important that they know my process?  Every step I take in trying to feel my way out of the darkness that is my unknowing?  I didn’t have to explain what was behind my “nebula” drawing today (which I only did as I did [it doesn’t look like a nebula] because it would never have been ready yesterday otherwise) even though it did take up 5 3″x5″ cards, right?

I guess that’s what blogs are for, huh?

Part of a suminagashi print

This is a snippet of one of my Suminagashi prints; I’ve found that scanning them does blow them up in size.  This is the same print that’s used in my current header.  I used a black-and-white one just for display, because the others I have don’t seem to show up well in the scanner.  I think I need to find a good image editing program…

A snippet of a print — black ink (Boku Undo) with Sumifactant on AquaBee Pen Sketcher’s paper.