When i was in elementary school I remember we had an art teacher called Mr. Voltz. He would always bring sketches from his students. I vaguely remember this one black and grey sketch of some hammerhead sharks under the ocean. The first "good" sketch I remember completing was this skeleton we did around Halloween. I used to draw my grandma's porcelain vases and other figurines. I do not really remember what prompted me to do this. It was just something I did. I had no hope or aspiration of becoming a great artist, I just drew. The breaking point for me happened when me and my cousin came up with the idea to start a clothing line. I used to get up at 5am, kid you not to watch fashion week and take notes on the designers. This is what prompted me to really start drawing. I remember asking my brother to draw a butterfly for me. This was our logo for our line "Raejess." I started drawing fashion sketch after fashion sketch. Ideas just poured from my brain. I could not stop. I made booklets with catchy logos and slogans, tag lines. I came up with multiple business names. I even made surveys and called people in the phone book asking them about their fashion preferences. I had my own office set up in my room. My grandma used to own a typewriter and I made a name badge for myself. My badge was identical to the ones they give you to wear in retail jobs. I even made little hand typed promotions and pasted them to cardboard in the shape of a butterfly to send out to family members announcing my fashion line coming out. Using ads from magazines, I collected advertisements from major fashion lines and made these creative scraps books. I attempted to teach myself how to sew; made pillows using scraps of fabric and old jeans. I was just so creative. I made a fashion mural on my wall from aluminum foil. I collected every tag, every magazine ad, anything advertising fashion for inspiration. This is where it gets good. I literally drew hundreds maybe even a thousand fashion sketches. Not one sketch I made was identical. I did not use any references,these were purely my ideas, purely from my brain. I would draw one thing and then that would lead me to having another idea. I could not turn my brain off. It was crazy! I had to keep a notebook handy to write down ideas. I had ideas in queue. I kid you not, I am not exaggerating. I could not stop spewing out ideas. I had hypermesis (look up pregnancy hypermesis) of the brain, I couldn't stopping vomiting ideas. Around the time all of this happened, I was about 13. When I went to high school I produced less fashion sketches, but i still continued to draw. Sometimes I would sit in class and draw what was around me and sometimes I would just press the pencil to the paper and ideas would just bleed them self from my hands. At one point I remember I used to write little stories on my sketches. Sometimes I would draw things that probably would never make sense to another normal being; fantasy. For a few school projects I remember going above and beyond and doing a King Tut painting. My mom got this general's graphite set for me out of Walmart and it came with a little pamphlet which had some art tutorials in it. Of course, all of this was over my head; especially at that time. However, i did learn something from that small pamphlet and I knew that i wanted to become better at art.
All of this seemed like an impossible feat to me. I never thought it was really possible for me to be good or even great. It just seemed so complicated, I couldn't fathom it. Most of my ideas starting from the time I was in high school (which is really when I started really drawing) have always been want some would consider "dark." Sometimes what I drew reflected how I felt. Fast forward a few years when I graduated high school.
I have had several periods where I would sit idle and not draw anything and hate myself, but i felt like I couldn't live up to my own expectations and I could never be what I wanted and i felt so shitty that whenever I tried to draw something I would hate the result ( Funny how that works out) .I still knew i wanted to be a fashion designer even though i had not drawn any fashion sketches for a while at that point.
I applied to several art schools and I could not afford the 100k tuition. Also I had no credit and no one to take out a private loan totaling 18,000 every year for 4 years. I ended up attending an online school until eventually I found a school I could afford provided I paid for my own apartment in Chicago. It was a chance, but when I was 19 I packed up my bags, hopped on a plane and moved to Chicago. I found a roommate off craigslist prior to going there and worked out the costs. I had money saved from pell grants and from working 2 jobs over the summer. The school turned out to be a total dissappointment and I withdrew after one semester, but I remained in Chicago. I started to realize at some point that maybe i never loved fashion. Sewing was beyond me. I was always hoping I would be able to take art classes which would teach me to be better at my art. I could not deal with the vanity of the industry,. I just wanted to create. I did not want to follow old trends or have to market myself based on what a million talent less, brainless people thought was good at the time. I did not want to make people feel like they were worthless because they couldn't afford to buy a certain brand or because they had their own ideas about what they liked and did not just mock what they saw everyone else doing like so many brainless people do. I really did not care how much that career promised, it was not in my heart. I wanted to be free. Money is not everything.
I continued to work on my art and I became exposed to a lot of artists in various mediums. People who were working to make their dreams come true. I got into tattoos when I was 18. I looked at a lot of tattoo artists and found inspiration in their work and started to get different ideas about art. I met an exceptionally talented painter in Chi Town. He exposed me to many artists and levels of skill and talent I did not even know were possible. I used to watch him diligently hoping to glean techniques. Being around someone so great also made me very insecure about my own work and my own abilities. For a long time I doubted that I was an artist because I was nowhere near the talent level of all the artists I had been exposed to. I always thought that it must have taken years for these aritists to get to where they were and I felt old in comparison. If I would have worked harder and picked up an art book years ago I could be that great, but I since I didn't i wasn't an artist because I wasn't serious and dedicated as they were to have reached their level. Even through my insecurity I started to research art tutorials and going to the library searching for good art reference books.
I started doing art studies and tried to copy various artists. The results are what you see in my 2010-2011 works. Black and grey had always been the medium i chose to work in. I suppressed a lot of who I was by trying so hard to be like what i thought would make me an artist. Through all of my mental struggles feeling so pressured pushed me to get up everyday and do tutorials like I was in my own home school. If it were not for meeting all of these people, if it were not for that negativity I may have never been smart enough to know that all I had to do to get better was pick up a book or open a webpage. In 2012 I started to read about color and dabbled with oil paint, pastel, acrylic, watercolor. I have tried various mediums, even tattooing (though I wasn't doing this for fun. tattooing is very serious. I was close at one point to a great artist).
When I first learned about color it did not process with me at first. Color is big. Color is complicated. Color is also beautiful. At some point in time ,months later my eyes just started to pick up on different color schemes that occur in advertising and in nature. I love to see color compliments. I get really happy when I go in a store and see a sign and note that they used only primary colors or complimentary colors to make a certain part of that ad stand out. Between now and then I have become interested in advertising and typography. I write blogs and I like to edit photos for my blog similar to the way they do movie posters. Last year I made a home art book for myself. Basically art is big. You have figure drawing, color, shading, painting, perspective. Everything has planes, light, shadow, form. The real world is complex. I love realism. I don't want to draw cartoons. I like to study objects as they occur in real life. Art is just so overwhelming and complicated and I could draw everyday the rest of my life and I swear I will never be good, never perfect, never know everything. It's just not possible. So I broke down the different areas I want to work on for the time being and I have collected resources over time and i split these resources up into categories and broke the categories down into 4 week increments so that i can focus on different areas I want to improve on most without going crazy. The way I designed these courses all built up on each other. Last year I did a massive art study. I drew so much and it's amazing it's like you're training the memory in your fingers. I noticed that when I kept doing these exercises i would just go to sketch and automatically remember the shapes and proportions. Shading is something i really enjoy doing and i remember when I could not shade. I just used to draw these big chunky lines and then one time BAM! I drew this potrait and it was so smooth and I was like DAMN! I was scared to finish it because I was stunned at what I could do. It's funny how much of this whole drawing, creating is mental. If you feel like shit your art is going to look like shit. Throughout my journey as an artist I have gone through so many periods where I just did nothing and I felt depressed, I felt like I was killing myself because I was wasting away precious time feeling sorry for myself instead of picking up a damn pen or pencil and getting closer to my goals which is to be a skilled artist. To be able to communicate all my ideas and who I am to the world in such a beautiful way. I am nowhere near where I want to be as an artist. I lost all of my original sketches I spent over half my life working on to an abusive relationship. The hundreds (thousand) fashion sketches I did, gone. Imagine how painful that feels. I can't even look back and remember who I was so last year I decided I would be better. I would create better art, even better than what I had. i would make mass volumes, even more than what i created before. This is my journey so far. All I can tell you about me is that I will never be happy with myself, i will never ever feel a sense of satisfaction until I become "good" at my art. Until I can make a career, accomplish something with my talent. This is the only thing I truly want out of life and this is the only thing that will ever make me happen.