Don’t get sucked in by media, you probably already have everything you need to be happy

Tutorial / 28 September 2020

It’s easy to get lost in a world of music videos, polyamorous discussion threads and youtube videos that are as much advertisements as the commercials that interrupt them.

It makes you sit back and wish you had the money and attention of the rich and famous. Oh, the things that you could do if you had the money and fame of a celebrity.

Well, let me tell you, from the perspective of someone who has tasted just a small part of that success and creative circle in my life:

It’s empty. It’s vapid.

Fame fades. The same people who praised my work, 10-15-20 years ago, don’t know my name today.

Money dwindles. Once you start being seen in a lot of places, TV interviews, radio, online etc. on a regular basis, friends of their convenience come out of the wood work. People you went to high school with need loans. Less accomplished colleagues and acquaintances need help creating a project with little to no budget and benefitting no one but themselves, people in and on the periphery of the entertainment industry suddenly want to be your best friend and take prt in a fantasy lifestyle of parties, events, schmoozing and hookups. All on your dime, of course.

It occurs to me that I, and most people, probably have everything I need to be happy:

I have my art - a creative outlet that allows me to express my ideas and, if luck holds out, earn a living in this crazy world.

I have a roof over my head, food on my table and a circle of friends and family who live and support me.

That’s all I need. I can be happy with that, especially after having experienced the “high life”.

Accolades and applause fade. The mob is fickle. Don’t get sucked into believing that you should be working and struggling and striving to get noticed or attention from the world at large, in the hopes that fame and recognition will solve your problems. They won’t. And don’t believe the hype and extravagance. It’s fake. Smoke and mirrors. 

Most famous people are as miserable and broke as you are, and the ones who aren’t broke are still miserable.

Be thankful for your loved ones and supporters. Keep them close and don’t let the fake world you see on a screen suck you into belueving it’s real. You probably have everything you need to be happy with your life, it’s just a matter of perspective.

Here's some art!:


Thanks for reading,

Mike

It’s good to have an outlet

Tutorial / 24 September 2020

I gotta say, if you’re out there, reading this, during these cray cray covid times, it’s good to have an outlet.

Mine are art and writing. The majority of the writing that I’m doing now is for this very blog. Even if no one ever reads it, for me it is very helpful and therapeutic. 

With my anxiety, it’s like all my insecurity and overthinking create some type of psychological cyst that grows and festers until the tiniest bit of pressure causes it to errupt and squirt out all the anger and rage and disappointment that had been building up and festering.

So, when that happens, you may see more frequent, more negative posts, but now that I’m aware of it I’ll try not to let it get that bad again. I can’tpromise not to rant, but I can promise not to hold back my thoughts as often or for as ling.

In all honesty, just writing my thoughts like this improves my mood and outlook and frees up my mind so much, it doesn’t matter if this is read by a million people or none at all. It’s helping me copewith the insanity and in this moment, that is enough.

Also, here’s some art I did:


Thanks for reading,

Mike Gagnon


Your Grandkid is Weird Because You Sold Out

Article / 21 September 2020

For someone perched right between the boomers and the millennials, I gotta say it’s weird to see the 2 age segments that can learn the most from each other react like oil and water when thrown into the cesspool of the internet. If I’m really being honest and objective, no generation has taken more shit and criticism simply for being who they are than the millennials.

I get it, they’re goofy, but this is what you fought for Boomers; before you gave up, for whatever reason, and decided corporate brands like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart were reputable members of the community that you trust with your best interests.

As a GenXer, it’s really all I can do to say anything at all. I’d much rather play my typical role of the uncle sitting in a dark corner, hidding my cigarette from the kids and rolling my eyes at how ridiculous the older and younger generations sound when they squabble. Now I’ve gotta put out my smoke and think about how much shit I’m gonna get for telling the kids the dirty secret their Mammy and Pappy have been keeping.

Guys, I grew up as a child of the 80s and 90s. I grew up in a culture where you guys patted your backs and showed off with all of the self-aggrandizing film, and television, and pop culture you could. Media trumpeted about the great achievements you made with the hippy movement, sexual liberation, love and peace and saving the Earth.

What the fuck happened guys? I mean I know something happened between the events glorified on celluloid and when I was born. Before I was old enough to pull my pud, I knew the world that I lived in, did not work the same as the one they lived in. It doesn’t take more than a 5-Year old intellect to put together that if half the back-patting you did about bra-burning, desegregation and defying authority were true, then something must have happened, some sort of compromise, for the world to have changed so much by the time I came along in 1981.

I’m sure we asked when we were kids, maybe once or twice. I vaguely remember maybe being given a half-hearted “I dunno”.

So really, what the fuck happened guys? 

You raised us in a world that worshipped and praised money, fame, power, and violence, while telling us stories that extolled the virtues of austerity, humility, justice and peace. Somehow that also relates to how great of a guy you were for marrying the same lady you fucked in a field at a music festival or peace rally. 

So what finally got to you? Was it just the money? 

What was it that got you started? Did the system break you? Or did they seduce you with the promise of a better life than the one you had?

I mean something happened.

Maybe it doesn’t matter where it started if you still have the ability to look back and see it.

HOW DID THE GENERATION THAT FOUGHT TO SAVE THE PLANET BECOME THE GENERATION FIGHTING TO KILL IT?

Really. How did the generation that started Earth day become pro-coal? How did the generation that praised peace and love become the first one to broadcast bombings in foreign countries on live television?  How did the generation of free live become anti-gay?

Listen. I get maybe you’re insecure because deep in your subconscious you’ve been waiting to be called on your bullshit, and you resent that kind of judgement from someone that is your junior and you therefore perceive as having less life experience than you.

Guess what, they don’t have less life experience than you. Since you decided to give up your fight and accept the gnawing embrace of corporate capitalism into your lives, every generation after has been paying it forward, so that you can be comfortable. Boomers, we have more in common with your parentsthan you do. A financial system that is stacked against you has a way of making a person more frugal and have to make more sacrifices just to make due with less.

I like to think of it that way anyway and not some other way; like whatever the compromise you made was, has turned you into a bloodthirsty vampire, siphoning off of your subsequent generations to pad your retirement fund.

But that’s what happened.

In our lifetime, Genx has seen the cost of most things increase 400%. I’m not kidding. And it doesn’t make sense. It well exceeds the natural rate of inflation. Books, cars, houses, gasoline...it’s real easy to see. What causes artificial inflation like that?

Greed. Human greed. And guess what? It’s not going to the average working class person. All that extra inflation money went to senior staff, upper management, members of the board. The old boys.

As you slowly siphoned off the money in the wage pool that your kids would have been able to use for a down payment on a house, you justified it to yourself, saying that it was a small shortfall, your kids would have plenty of time later in life to work hard and make up the difference. It would be like it never happened.

After awhile you kinda got used to the taste of that extra lettuce, and with the way inflation and increased prices are going, you might just have to grab the rest of that wage pool money yourself. You took care of them so long, but you can’t take care of them if you don’t take care of yourself. Besides, that money will be so much more meaningful and make them much happier if YOU GIVE it to them.

Before you know it, 90% of your generation has spent the house fund for the kids on expensive toys and entertainment and you’re working 60 hours per week, demanding a larger and larger salary than your underlings, and justifying that your grandkids work full time and have to use the food bank, but it builds character and they can have your money when you die.

Hell, if the retirement bonus is big enough, you can dump whatever you want wherever you want. It takes like 100 years for those chemicals to show up, and we’ll have figured out a better cleaning and disposal method by then, I’m sure.

Except that last gamble didn’t pay off and your descendants are soon going to turn their gaze on you and ask you to explain why you would poison the planet that they have to keep living on after you, even as they watch that planet die. But nature’s resilient right? Feel free to choose any other cliche’d saying to help you sleep at night if you don’t like that one.

Now, I just want to take a moment to say; some of you Boomers are also the sarcastic uncle or aunt who sits in the corner smiling and trying not to laugh as they thoroughly enjoy witnessing us give our parents shit. We see you and we’re cool. This message isn’t directed at you. We know that you know the old “do as I say, not as I do” routine has gotten a little tired.

But really. What amount was it? A huge raise and we’re okay with polluting rivers? A decent holiday bonus, and it’s not so hard to look the other way when they burn a rainforest? How much did it take to make it okay to fill the ocean with plastic?

I mean for god sake, you raised us on tales of glorious tree huggers who just want to save the planet, all the while placating us with sugar and saturated fats so we wouldn’t pay attention too long and ask uncomfortable questions.

Well guess what? 

The truth comes out no matter how deep you bury it in potato chips and Sunny D.

The one good thing that came out of it was an idea. Hope. Hope that things could change and that another opportunity would come for people to stand up against the tyranny of an oppressive system and push back. Beyond that, and even more than that, maybe we could actually make a small sliver of that imaginary utopia real for our kids, simply by being tolerant and not trying to force them into the molds that you were forced into.

Your parents may have told you how to dress, think, act and love, but we’re not doing that to our kids.

My generation grew up talking about being confused about who we were, in large part due to the mindfuck of the mixed messages coming from you Boomers, lauding your advancements in enlightenment while calling for the blood of Saddam Hussein with childish glee.

We’re not here to call you out on the hypocrisy, but we just want to make it clear ahead of time that we will always shield our children from you, as long is there is a chance it will make them happier.

Now they’ve decided that they’d like to save the planet, and we’d appreciate if you’d get out of the way  so that they can finish what you started. No judgement. We’re not even going to push for you to explain this drastic 50-year long reversal of position.

At the end of the day, even if climate change isn’t real, why are you fighting people who want to protect the planet that you live on? You told us to listen to the children, because they’re our future. Okay, so LISTEN TO THEM!

No, I don’t want a same sex relationship, to dress as a furry, eat avocado toast or want a 3 foot rainbow mohawk, but if they do, why not let them? If they are healthy, happy decent people trying to make the world a better place, why try to make them behave differently? It’s not hurting anyone and they don’t need to ask your permission anyway, so why insert yourself?

Stop getting sucked into all the bullshit and just get out of the way if you can’t pitch in and help clean up this mess.

Also, here's some art:


Thanks for reading,

Mike

Not everyone will like your work, some won’t like you, especially if you are working professionally

Making Of / 17 September 2020

A big caveat for anyone aspiring to turn their passion for art into a career. You're going to meet horrible people. You'll also meet great people who, in my opinion, help balance things out, but you should be mentally prepared for the negative colleagues that you will encounter.

When I first started getting involved with the “comic convention scene” in the late 90’s, things were very different. Conventions were big if they filled one auditorium at a convention centre. An artist could get a table and sell thier work for less than $50. And overall, there seemed to be a lot more positivity and cooperation among peers.

It felt like comic book folks could just hang out and share ideas and just have fun drawing and making comics together. It seems now like a golden age where you could approach a peer with a collaberative idea and they’d say “yeah, that sounds awesome, let’s do it.”

Let’s assume that my memories are at least a little coloured by the naivety of youth, as I was not quite in my 20s at the time.

In my 20ish years in comics and entertainment, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some hilarious, personable and supportive colleagues and professionals. I’ve become friendly acquaintances with a number of known figures whose work I enjoyed when I was growing up, never expecting I’d get to meet, even work with them some day. Some truly wonderful experiences.

I also have met some people who were absolutely horrid.

One person I met at my first convention, who now works for a major publisher, eventually became my cyber bully for a period. To this day he’ll still show up out of the blue to bully and berate some of the same crew that we were part of (Toronto area comic creators riding artist’s alley) for their opinions on  Facebook. This guy really hated me. To this day I don’t know why or how I managed to get his attention or set him off.

Considering I was 17 when I started working professionally and doing cons, I made a lot of mistakes. In my career I’ve made a lot of dumb, immature, misguided mistakes and had a lot of expensive lessons. If fulling will g to own thosethings and the repercussions, which I fully intend to blog about n the future. Maybe I could have avoided some of these things if I’d had an industry mentor, but growing up in rural Canada sort of limits your access to professional comics mentors.

Anyway, this guy got involved in online hate threads (based on false claims) about a business I owned at the time. He essentially led a charge to virtually lynch me. He even recruited his friends and followers, random message board people and, most painfully, some of my own friends who believed the claims made about me without ever thinking to ask me about it.

Though I’m essentially fine with it now, it was very upsetting at the time at has left me with some PTSD-type symptoms, some of which I still struggle with to this day.

I sincerely hope that you never have to deal with this kind of situation and I like to think most comic artists never will. One of the reasons I got into teaching was to use my experiences to help other new artists avoid making the same mistakes and having to learn the same expensive lessons that I did.

Just like any other industry, comics is full of a wide variety of extreme personalities and off-the-wall opinions.

It’s innevitable, no matter what you do, no matter what your job, you’ll have peers that don’t like you, for whatever reason. Don’t let it get to you, but don’t be afraid to seek help if you feel harassed orthreatened.

It’s unfortunate that we even need this disclaimer, but that’s the world we live in.

Why do some people behave this way? Do they see other artists as a threat? I don’t know and I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t answer that question.

What I can say is that you don’t have to let the flaws of others affect your happiness. Keep your head down keep working. Don’t worry about trying to please the haters, focus on family, friends, fans and other supporters of what you do.

Also I made some art:


Thanks for reading,

Mike

Advice on how to determine who you should vote for.

Article / 16 September 2020

As the looming federal election down in the U.S. crawls into the very near future and campaigning begins here in Canada, it occurs to me that there are probably a lot of people out there like me, who feel that voting is important, aren’t decided on who they will vote for and also feel that all politicians are full of shit. Agendas, parties and policies can be a minefield to intellectually navigate, so here are a few things that I think about when I choose who deserves my vote.

1. When they share stories, speak publicly or debate, do they say “I” or “we”, when they talk about solving problems? Do they brag about past achievements and talk about how they will single handedly fix major issues, or do they talk about how colleagues, partnerships, bi-partisan projects, and public will work together to resolve issues and improve conditions for the people that they govern?

It’s my theory that a candidate that refers to the self and “I” more frequently than “we” my be motivated more by power, awards and accolades. They want bragging rights and to top the previous thing on thier list of achievements. Someone like that will devote little attention to solving the problems of the average person unless they can somehow leverage the situation to further benefit themselves. Conversely, someone who says “we” may have the wisdom and maturity to understand that there are oroblems and that it will take hard work and co-operation to make things better.


2. Any candidate that uses smear tactics, or tries to rally followers into violence and hate, is manipulating others for their own benefit. I don’t believe naturally occurs in humans. I certainly don’t believe hate organizes naturally on its own. If it did, we never would have survived this long. The variety of colors and races African and Eurasian continents would have all killed each other dead before anyone could have discovered the new world. Our ancestors had to have been tolerant of each other, or they wouldn’t have survived. Yes of course there was racism and war, but I don’t believe the sentiment that humans are naturally predisposed to war or that humanity has always been at war since the dawn of time. In order for someone to want to organize and create a group or movement based on hate, they must at least partially exist outside of that demographic psychologically before they can recognize it as a trait that they can use for their own benefit. If the organizer believed in the cause or had the same hate, they wouldn’t need to use someone else’s hate to advance their agenda, because they would use their own and they wouldn’t be afraid of speaking up independently. The person who organizes the hate group or hate rally has to have a mindset that recognizes the hate in others as an asset they don’t have, that’s why they need them. The organizer is a manipulator who need to take advantage of the actions of their followers because it will somehow benefit the organizer. It’s the actions of the followers that benefit the organizer when they purposely whip people up into foaming anger. No one who uses and manipulates people that way is looking out for the interests of others. Their behavior has already shown that they made the decision to put profit before morality or ideology. If you follow someone who preaches hate you are being duped. Don’t vote for someone who hates the same people as you, choose the person that you genuinely feel will work to make the quality of your daily life and that of your loved ones better.


3. Any candidate pushing a pro-military action is not to be trusted. War is real, war is serious and war costs people’s lives. Someone who fully understands the gravity of this does not use the gamble of those lives as a bargaining chip to win an election. The decision to go to war should be solemn and respectful, not a marketing campaign. I truly believe that humanity has come to the point where we are intelligent enough that any problems between countries, nations, groups, etc. can be resolved with negotiation and mediation. As long as both sides are willing to talk and voice grievances openly, communication and negotiation can always be used to solve a dispute. No more of this always having someone jump in and say “but what if they do this...” to try to undermine the point. We’re not five yars old any more. Clearly if one party demands the extermination, persecution or confinement of the other party, they aren’t being reasonable or negotiating in good faith. Yes, there will always be leaders who for one reason or another feel the need to prove status or be unreasonable, but when someone is like that, negotiations would stop and the issue would be forwarded to the U.N. There the nation members could make decisions about sanctions, aid relief, limiting trade, etc. as tactics to pressure the unreasonable party to reconsider and come back to the negotiation table with more reasonable demands. If not, only when all other options have been exhausted should the UN consider sending in military or peace keeping forces. This process should be respected and not condone direct nation-to-nation conflict and should never be used to weaken, take over, or otherwise take advantage of smaller or weaker countries, but only begin in the case of a dispute between two separate countries, a border issue or a human rights issue. With all that in mind, I don’t think any candidate pushing for war fully understands these things and just believes a military is a tool for them to bully others and take what they want. That’s also someone who doesn’t care about your well being.


So those are my thoughts anyway. Yadda yadda yadda, you may not agree and that’s okay.

Here’s some of my recent art:


Thanks for reading,

Mike

Why I blog (and why it sometimes seems so negative)

Work In Progress / 15 September 2020

I assume that if the title brought you in, you have some interest in reading this.

If you’ve read any of my other recent posts, you’ll know I’ve been writing a lot about my struggles with anxiety.

One of the reasons I started blogging again after a decade hiatus or so, is that it helps me manage and cope with the symptoms of anxiety.

I find that when I get the thoughts out, almost analyzing and explaining them to myself as I write, it actually helps release the thoughts from my brain so that they don’t consume and pre-occupy my every waking moment.

The nature of anxiety is a constant gnawing insecurity of being judged or attacked. That the things I say and do will make those around me angry. By getting the thoughts out, it relieves the stress and panic of having anxiety better than any counsellor I've ever spoken too.

By nature the thoughts and ideas expressed when you have anxiety most often have a negative connotation, hence the negative tone of my blog at times. 

At the end of the day, this writing is therapy for me and leaves me with a much better mindset and feeling of relief when I get the thoughts out of my head and leave them on the internet. 

So really, this blog is more therapy than any kind of attempt to gain a following. I may collect the entries into a book later, but that is no where near a major priority right now.

So, if you don't like the negativity or find my ideas offensive, fair enough, no need to read the blog, but you're welcome to come here and enjoy the art.

Meanwhile, here's some more recent art!


Thanks for reading,

Mike

Ready to get out of here

Work In Progress / 14 September 2020

One of the most popular sayings among those who don't like immigration and do like being oppressed by government and business is: "If you don't like the way it is, go back where ya came from!"

Well, I'm from here. Lived in, born and raised in Canada and guess what? I absolutely hate where North American society is going. Not the acceptance of LGBTQ or immigrants or anything like that, because those are progress. What I'm concerned with is the general de-evolution of manners, common decency, respect and having any compassion for your fellow man. As the U.S. empire crumbles, I don't like the way Canada is slowly, hesitantly going down the same path, as we always do. 

I'm serious, North American society has become so empty. vapid and combative that I don't want to be here. Any person in their right mind wouldn't want to live in the stress, anxiety and hostility that's become a part of life and interaction.

The internet has contributed hugely to this, but I don't have time to  get into that today. 

What I'm saying is I'd love to move somewhere warmer with similar or equal quality of life, without the crazy people fighting over masks, conspiracies and all the other bullshit going on. 

I do believe that if people put aside their differences and actually worked together, things could be changed and fixed, but the more I try to grab people's attention and get through to them, the more I just feel I'm shouting into the empty, cybernetic void. 

If we're going to be miserable as we suffer with illness, or stay locked in our houses, or watch society crumble around us, or watch the system that was supposed to provide a pension to support my generation in its golden years evaporate, we may as well do it somewhere that we enjoy. A sunshine filled paradise to watch the rest of the world work it's way through it's ugly teenage stage, if you will. 

Ideally, I'd like to build an Earth ship style home somewhere warm that doesn't get snow, like Spain or any suitably civilized South American country. A place with adobe floors and walls, a greenhouse for growing food, a few fruit trees and a recycling water system. I'd be happy to do the work and build it all myself and prepare now, build a place that is affordable without getting in to debt in a place with decent warm weather, where I know I am going to spend however many decades I have left. Essentially preparing for retirement earlier than usual; somewhere where it is cheaper to live and provide for myself as much as possible because this system, I don't trust it will be here when I actually need it, and even if it was, I wouldn't be able to afford live in this system on any estimate of expected retirement income.

I’ve seen a few people online say they realize this too, and encourage others who feel the same way to stay and fight for our societal improvement. It’s a fair point.  Good point. But maybe it’s a little too late? I feel like we have already tread that territory. Been there done that. Trying to get people to cooperate online just feels like shouting into the void.

I just want somewhere to spend the rest of my days in peace and with piece-of-mind, something I don’t believe I have the tools to achieve in the stresses and lifestyle of North American society.

I’m really worried about the existing travel restrictions and hope they don’t get tighter. I hope that we will be able to travel more freely again, I sincerely hope I don’t look back on these words in the future and think “We all should have taken off then.”

So I mean, if any of you “Good Ol’ Boys” ever do manage to round up a boatload of foreigners to send back where they came from, let me know. I may want to research the destination country’s rules to meet refugee status and hop a ride.

And here’s some art!: 

Thanks for reading,

Mike

We have what may be the first, last and only civilized option NOW!

Article / 13 September 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the world in general lately, ever since this whole worldwide mindfuck known as the ‘Rona started.

I’ve made it pretty clear on here that I don’t have faith in the current system and that it will collapse under the current and prolonged stresses and pressures that system will be under. I think everyone underestimated the side-effects and fallout of grinding an economy being run by incompetents and criminals to a halt.

I believe that to be true no matter what side of the argument you are on. Real or hoax.  Mask or no mask. Liberal or conservative. Act of God or Conspiracy. Regardless, I think human ego severally caused us to misjudge humanities ability to maintain a society under the systems we currently have. We miscalculated. Now we are just stuck in a corner unable to do anything but wait and watch the collapse caused by our mistakes.

I believe that same human ego, something that each one of us may be biologically prone to,  has caused us to over-estimate the strength of our systems and their ability to cope with the pressures that the leaders of our civilization have chosen to put them under.

So, I believe the system is going to collapse eventually anyway. I don’t believe that trying to go back to the way things worked pre-corona is going to work.

So, I believe, that we, as a society, can turn this into an opportunity, possibly the only time it will happen in history.

I think that if we, as a society, work together instead of letting our disagreements and differences divide us, can build a new system together without having to destroy the old one.

Essentially instead of tearing down and burning everything before we rebuild, which is how every civilization has been built before, including ours, we can be smart and civilized enough to recycle and repurpose what is left of the old system in a fair and measured manner. 

I think that if we want to avoid a collapse that includes a societal division resulting in a civil war in countries such as ‘Murica, we need to work together now and stop fighting with everyone on social media about differences in opinion.

We need to talk with each other, in a productive nature, to plan, discuss and figure out how we can make a new system that allows the basics if human rights to everyone and how we might reallocate resources, retrain those whose jobs may be affected, repurpose public property, and a number of other things that we would need to do if we wanted to be the first society in history built in civilized and compassionate manner, an approach that would focus on building and repurposing instead of destruction. 

Maybe we are the first civilization that has reached the point of simultaneous intelligence and enlightenment that we are capable of working together to create a new civilization that acknowledges the past without clingy to it, where every person treats every other person with an equal level of dignity and respect.

It might sound crazy, but if the alternative is watching society collapse as your friends and neighbours fight each other in the streets over differences in opinion, maybe it’s worth considering?

Also, here’s some art:


Thanks for reading,

Mike

It’s okay to be angry

Article / 11 September 2020

Okay, so I know we all try not to carry around negativity and anger in our lives, but sometimes circumstances occur that make anger the only sane response.

I’m mad. I’m mad at the state of the world. I mad that, if you say anything and speak out, there’s a perception that you’ll be labelled with the social stigma of being a crazy or conspiracy nut.

I’m mad, that I spent 30 years chasing dreams, reaching goals and developing skills, only to have the society that I developed those skills within crumble around me. I commited to chasing my dreams in a world where I expected that civilization would still exist once I felt confident enough to call myself a professional.

Had I known that the people steering the ship were criminally incompetent or corrupt or both, I would have had to choose a different path. When a person decides to follow their dreams, it’s because they believe that the people in charge of the basic infrastructure of society are competent enough to keep it running for the foreseeable future. In my lifetime, that’s how society has always worked. It doesn’t anymore. I love my life and don’t regret my choices, I just can’t help but feel like if I had known how bad things would get, if I’d foreseen society moving backward, maybe I would have tried to get involved in law enforcement, law, government, humanitarianism or politics or something else that would have improved the world in some way. 

I’m trying not be to resentful or negative about the world, but I don’t understand how everyone else in the world doesn’t seem to notice society crumbling around them, while I want to write an apology letter to future generations. I don’t know, it it just me?

I also made some art!:


Thanks for reading,

Mike

On a positive note

Work In Progress / 09 September 2020

Okay, so maybe since I’ve started talking about my anxiety, my blogging has taken a negative tone, and could use a positive story. Maybe.

Make no mistake; I’m still anxious and also full of anger at the general state of the world, but I’m also creatively happier than I’ve ever been. I actually have to remind myself not to fall in love with my work and let it go to my head.

But I am really happy with the quality of work I’ve been doing. More than ever in my life.

Since discovering things like kitbashing, photobashing and CGI modelling and incorporating some of the skills and perspectives into my traditional and digital illustration, I’ve been able to create art closest to the exact way I see it in my imagination than ever before. Lockdown sucks, but luckily I had a set of skills and experiences that once we couldn’t leave the house anymore, I was able to put those things together to help express and create ideas that I had brewing in my imagination for years.

Left to my own devices, I’ve rediscovered my love and passion for art and am creating more pure, raw, unadulterated imagination than I have in years.

History may never remember me as an artist or creator, but I can say that regardless of that, I have experienced joy through self-expression.

The other side of the coin is that now that I have the skills and confidence to produce my ideas at professional quality, it’s suddenly given me time to think and get anxious about all of the things that one sacrifices and let’s slide in order to focus on refining the skills needed to master thier passion. So of course I can dredge up all kinds of history to create anxiety about my relationships with every person I’ve ever known, but I am also present of mind enough now to remind myself that it is just my anxiety and I don’t need to panic.

I feel like all of my life experiences and career changes; writing, teaching, comics, video games etc. and the events in my life that caused or allowed all of the circumstances that made those experiences possible and necessary were meant to happen in order to lead to this point.

Sure, it would have been nice to be at this point 10 years ago, but at the same time, I don’t think I had the wisdom or experience to have navigated all of the personal and professional factors that got me to this point 10 years ago.

I’m not trying to insinuate that I am some wise old yogi achieving nirvana or that my work is perfect; it’s not. Of course I still make mistakes and imperfections, but now it’s more of a conscious choice. I have the confidence now that I believe that I really can change, edit or fix any errors that really borher me before showing it. In the past, mistakes and changes gave me a lot of anxiety, literally. Because of my anxiety issues, my subconscious was constantly telling me that I would never be able to fix an error once it caught my attention, no matter what I did. 

Now I am much more confident in my artistic decisions.

Then, just as now, I’ve mentally scanned every image and catalogued every mistake in my brain before anyone else ever sees it. Now I choose what is left on the canvas based on how I feel it represents my idea and if I feel like it achieves what I’m trying to convey as quickly as possible.

I used to feel defeated by my art. Dragging out changes and revisions for torturous weeks until having to just release it because I was out of time or spent too long on it. 99% of the time, any client that was waiting for the work was happy with it and moved it along to the next person in the production stage and I would wonder why I tortured myself mentally for days before turning it in.

Now, the mistakes on the page are much more conscious. I hate stretching out any project or piece of art over a very long time. I like to get ideas out and down on paper (or screen) very quickly. I feel like life and kinetic energy are best conveyed in my work while I’m moving. No matter how well you plan a project before you start, you are going to have to make some design choices on the spot, and I just feel like my mind works better while moving.

So basically my art is fuelled by anxiety and ADHD.

Anyway, I’m in a good place creatively and I appreciate everyone who is here to share it with me.

And BTW here’s some of that art:


Thanks for reading,

Mike