Corey - Where Have You Been?
While this post will hopefully encompass both older projects that have been on the backburner for awhile, alot of the intention behind this blog post is to provide insight into some real struggles artists can face both in the industry and everyday life.
It was Fall of 2016 and I had just gone through a grinder of a semester at the Academy of Art University. I suffer from multiple autoimmune diseases from both genetics, but also majorly due to poor diet. Artists generally often work long hours and it becomes commonplace for silly habits like sleeping at your desk, the piles of soda cans and energy drinks, and the like. For me it became too routine and this really ended up spiraling into something that I as an artist had never experienced before. What it was like to work both professionally, personally, and on myself all while feeling the most alone I ever have. The word scared me, but after 6 months of denial, I really finally accepted that I was depressed.
Depression is a serious issue that plagues society, it's a feeling that sometimes has no feeling at all, and as an artist, at least in my case my imagination ran wild writing the scariest stories for me to make come true around every turn. This turned into doubt which turned into consistency at work, but of the wrong kind.
But with life comes multiple opportunities and I was very blessed while working at Insomniac Games to be inspired by just an awe of talent, and with that many rough days became better, and along with that there were times where my confidence did shine through and I feel I made some really quality art, but with this being my first professional job in the industry it was apparent to myself that my health and rate was something that was never sustainable. Between the cigarettes, energy drinks, sodas, 20 hr days (not work, just general insomnia), celiac and ibs, and moving to an entire new city after graduation where I really knew nothing, it was like I was staring at a night sky of stars and one by one each star went out, each opportunity I had worked so hard for, and the scariest part, at the time I really could care less...
Not because of my own immaturity, which of course in hindsight did play a part, but because with autoimmune diseases and my own refusal to truly address a real problem that at this point grew at an exponential rate. I was trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits basically, and even though I had a phenomenal support system at work and online in my time at AAU, I still truly felt all alone.
The scariest part of it all was I basically had felt like a turtle for so long retreating into my shell. Never truly allowing myself an opportunity to shine and grow, not because I didn't want to, that would be foolish, but because somewhere deep inside, for the first time I truly believe I wasn't worth all of those hundreds of thousands of hours of work I had poured in re-working the same pieces over and over.
My point with this story before I get to my art is that if you are an artist out there who is/was like me in 2016, this unquenchable forest fire of indomitable will, at the same time it IS important to protect your health, both mental and physical, to know it's okay to take breaks, even if days do seep into weeks, and for some or at least for me, it became a reality. But with the ebbs and flows of the ocean, the bad tide started to fade back out into the sea and I honestly could never remember why I would get so flustered I would shut down health-wise, artistically, mentally, the like. Mental health is important in this industry, and while I had all the resources I needed to succeed, much like I believe Eric Thomas says, at the time, my talent took me somewhere my work ethic was not ready to keep me. The weirdest thing of all was it was never laziness in work or towards my career, it was always towards my physical and mental health.
From there I decided to go back to school this past Spring 2017 after my amazing time at Insomniac Games. I truly learned so much and there's consistent little lessons that pop into my head each day and make me smile with pride that I was truly lucky and honored enough to even have the chance to work on Spider-Man. While my Celiac continued to spiral out of control throughout much of the semester, it was around April that I was rather lucky to find a significant other who really understood and supported my journey as an artist and person and where I wanted to go. For the first time, throughout my stubborn celiac fits, I was able to feel like I was truly listened to. Carrying this forward it became easier to really dial back into the artist I was and this brings me to my next point.
Back-up Your Work Plebs
On a lighter note during the darker times the past year and a half health wise I really became a bit of a shut-in. I slowly began to delete works I felt weren't up to par, and while I was judging my current work with AAA industry standards I was seeing every day at work, it should have been more of a great goal to achieve look development wise instead of the consistent standard to hold myself to at such an early stage artistically in the industry. I've always been told even in interviews that I am far too hard on myself, but to really be grabbed by the collar by life and shown hey look what you did dummy, it was a rough lesson. I had deleted 3-4 works entirely from all my backups, off artstation, instagram, twitter, all of it, gone. At the time, through really brown tinted glasses I really put myself down so much so that I felt my art truly didn't belong on Artstation. So please, even backup your backups, save your screenshots to google drive, drop-box etc.
Updating Older Work
My Next 2-3 Month Sprint Artistically
Beyond Human and Ghost in the Shell were two sci-fi art teases I always wanted to dip my foot into but never had the chance due to other obligations. With that as my base goal I currently have just finished isolating my milestone guidelines for the project as well as created 3 style inspiration boards for the project's look development.
Here's till next time, it's so good to be back on the art train again! Go get those art dream jobs kiddos!!