This is the space for our members to discuss and share their creative projects, ranging from written works to drawings, photography, and even craft projects such as knitting and woodworking. Self promotion is welcome (websites where we can view and/or purchase your work). Please do continue to preface if content is NSFW and be sure to properly spoiler/link such content.
Many of you have heard the story before, but shifting focus a little.
I only started drawing again in 2015, after over twenty years of focusing (if you want to call it that) on writing (with a brief period of sketching activity in 2002-03 with which I really should have stuck), and got into painting a couple of years later. My return to drawing actually started partly as a therapeutic reaction to my traumatic breakup that October; I’d fallen in love for the first time in forever and was completely unprepared for things going south. Drawing helped immensely, and much of 2016 was spent on a conscious upward curve; not only was I getting over my romantic grief, I was also getting better and more productive at my art (even if I look back at much of it now and shake my head at how amateurish I was; hopefully this’ll be the same in 2024). Not only was it fulfilling on those grounds, but it also gave me a charge that had been largely absent from my writing in the later years.
I’d gotten in the habit of taking a week off for vacation at the end of every August. I work in the service industry in a college town, and it seemed like a useful thing to do so I could catch my breath and relax before the craziness of the students’ return and (perhaps more so) football season took over. August had become one of my favorite months, too, as all of our summer festivals and whatnot are over and a nice sleepy vibe descends on the town before the semester starts again. I was a little concerned in 2016; my vacation the year before, much of it spent with my then-girlfriend, had probably been one of the happiest times of my life. I was worried that I’d be constantly comparing my life then with my life… then (if that makes any sense) and falling back into despair.
As it happened, my fears were unfounded and I had a great time. One reason for this was that I noticed a “comics jam” put on by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (pictured in the header) and Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, basically a drawing get-together with bar service. I was overdue for a visit to Detroit (I try and go a few times a year, visits generally centered around the DIA*) and thought that just the thing for this redemptive vacation. I went, had a low-key blast (though had to leave early, as usual, due to the bus schedules), and felt a lot better about what I was doing and then where I was going. Barely two months later, things were incalculably different and it took a while for me to get back on the horse.
I’ve been in a bit of a daze since last Saturday, delighted and then contemplative and then uneasy and then all the rest of it, and it was hard for a bit to focus on anything creative. Since then, I’ve rallied a little, and have been both painting and drawing while I figure out how to work with, not just the new, real but presently hazy lifting of that psychic weight, but also the growing certainty that this is gonna be a long winter (I’d never doubted it, but the changing weather and the season’s increasing proximity have inevitably brought home the reality). So many of the spaces, places and people that have inspired and informed my work in the past are just as shuttered and withdrawn right now as myself, and if I’m gonna move ahead with any creative endeavors, I have to find some way to access the kind of hope and vitality that were so welcome and unexpected in the late summer of 2016.
*My main personal worry right now, apart from threats to life, limb, or liberty, is wondering when I’ll be able to visit Detroit and specifically the DIA again. It’s open for timed, ticketed, socially-distanced visits, but the most convenient and accessible transit links between my town and Detroit have been cut, one probably indefinitely and one for the foreseeable future. I guess this wouldn’t smart so hard if I hadn’t last been planning to visit the very weekend that Michigan’s first lockdown went into effect.
How’s your work going?