A long time ago, when I was still naive about many aspects of advertising, I walked down a hall at a new job and saw a giant pile of ice cream. Scoops of every flavor of the rainbow looked especially luscious under the photographer's studio lights. The owner of the business witnessed my Pavlovian reaction and laughed at me in his wicked way. The "ice cream" was mashed potatoes stiffened with sawdust and glue with lacquer on top.
Once in on the joke, I considered specializing in setting up food shoots. I devoted a good 15-20 minutes of watching a pretty woman adjusting acrylic blobs of fake condensation on the bowl and decided I'd rather scrape up road kill than work in food staging.
Moments like this have been popping into my mind because I've been backing up old files, including stuff from past jobs. Do you know that flash drives have to be plugged in once in a while to keep them valid? Or that DVDs eventually fail? Plus, store them flat or the data can leak out. I don't want to lose things because I can often rework something instead of starting from scratch. I've also been taking time to go clean up some files so they take less memory.
In the process, I found old art that didn't work out but has some potential. This is a rework of one of those pieces. I've always had an interest in this style of patterning, but never felt satisfied with my efforts. I fussed it and am feeling much better about my approach to the style. I'm contemplating making it a linoleum print -- or maybe fuss it some more before committing to cutting print.
I mentioned the "ice cream" experience to a photographer friend once, and he waxed nostalgic about other "food" concoctions. I expanded my road kill fantasies to include listening to food photography methods. All the same, the initial experience was cool and I like working with photographers. I just can't bear the tedium of their business -- which of course can't be confused with the delightful hours I've spent on art. You've just got to find your medium.
Sometimes I'm baffled by people who don't find their calling. They should do different things until they find something they like. I suppose trying new things means you'll be a rank amateur at all of those things until you've learned some skills in one of them. You've got to be willing to suck at something, and I happily admit I'm lousy at a lot of things. There's lots of things I can still learn, and learning is fun.
Dad used to say "You can do whatever you set your mind to", which I viewed as an open horizon of possibilities. Sis viewed it as a punishment if she didn't achieve success. Dad followed up with "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!" Sis looked dangerous about then, but Dad was right.
Play, experiment, try, and try again. Don't let short-term defeats limit you. We savor the successes we fight to achieve. Looking back on my early pattern work, well, some of it wasn't good, but I enjoyed doing it in a way making sawdust potatoes pleased my friend. I got better at patterns and still enjoy them enough to play around with previous rejects. I hope everyone finds their scoop of "ice cream".