I've been making some big changes to my website and portfolio over the past year. Sometimes it's felt like like one step forward and two back. Other times, the work was completely stalled by my own doubts. What were these changes? I decided to give my SciFi art its own gallery, instead of hiding it away. When I read that sentence back to myself, it sounds like no big deal, but it was a decision I stressed over. I might still have the art tucked away if it weren't for two friends who saw its value. One friend wanted the art for his book covers. The other friend convinced me I had something special worth sharing with the world.
So what was the fuss all about? I've always had diverse interests. This isn't even the first time I've explored space and science fiction in my art, but it's always felt as if most people associate me with nature and fantasy. They wouldn’t be wrong but it's only one aspect of my identity. I don't think I've ever fit neatly into one box--who does? I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors. I do feel a strong connection to our planet, so it's not surprising it shows up in my art. The other side of me loves Giger's Xenomorphs, and as a teenager listened to heavy metal and alternative rock (and still do), played Doom and read a lot of Stephen King novels. I don't hide this other side, it's always been there, but it often surprises people who don't know me very well. I suppose I've also never looked the part!
I think for a long time I let how others perceive me influence the art I gave center stage. Behind the scenes, I was still working on my SciFi visions, just not promoting them very much. I'd convinced myself that the two couldn't coexist together, that if they did I'd alienate fans of my nature/fantasy art. I'm such an idiot...
The two artworks above were created using vastly different techniques, but they look as if they were meant to hang on the wall together. This summer they will. My website is in order and I've recently relaunched my store to feature both my fantasy and my scifi art. It's time to be true to myself, my art and my vision.
Beginning with LibertyCon next month and CONvergence in July, I'll have both genres present in art shows. I'm both excited and terrified, but there's also a feeling of calm that's spread over me. I'm embracing who I am and what I love. Being true to yourself is part of the that magical recipe that let's an artist create using their full potential. When you're holding back or trying to create something in what you think is a popular style, you're only hurting yourself.
Create the art you love, the art that drives to you to want to create every day. Be kind. Be humble. Be thankful for those that love your vision too.