Home FAQ 4.1: Art in life, life in art
2/21/01, 5:44 p.m.
I've just always had a passion for making things. As long as I can remember. With words, pictures, found objects, or whatever.
When you have a passion for something you do it all the time. So, naturally, you get better at it and also try to learn specific tps and tools from books and classes.
But a lot of what Dustin said below is a good point.
People can be taught things. How to drive a car or how to draw realistically.
But I think that everyone can already draw. But some people feel that
if it doesn't look like a photograph then it is not 'realistic' or good.
And I should point out that I draw a lot for myself but those drawings
are only sometimes in any neighborhood close to realism. WHat I would suggest
is drwing the way that you enjoy or have passion for and let it grow from
there. Start with your passion that makes you do it all the time and then
add on more nuggets of knowledge and craft from anyplace that you can.
Then you can choose from this toolbox.
Classes can help you polish your craft, or even give you basics of understanding.
But by doing it all the time is when you actually learn it.
4/30/01, 3:36 a.m.
This has nothing to do with Mr. Mack or any of his work,
which I truly admire, but have yet to find the right words to say..
Anyways, being desparate now, I'm seeking advice here to find a reason
to live each day. Having never known happiness for very long. Still not
being able to understand the concept of "carpe diem" and to see the beauty
of how the sun rises and falls etc etc...no book or person can teach you
this. So i'm wondering..what must I do?? How do people stand up each day
and go outside to face the cruelties out there? Anyone who can do that..I
must give them mad props for being so brave!!!
What do you do with someone so hopeless? Who no longer has the will
to try anymore? But can't find the courage to just leave either...there's
a saying "muon song khong duoc, muon chet khong duoc" for anyone who knows
vietnamese, that's how I feel life is and has always been...well, thank you
for reading my pathetic posting. Greatly appriciated.
Thanks for sharing.
I'm sorry that I may be unable to relate, because I'm very passionate about life and I see everyday as being full of fascinating possibilities.
Certainly everyone has challenging times in their lives, but I've been able to cope with those times by having an outlet to work out my passions, anxieties, obsessions and angers.
Based on my own experiences, I'd suggest that you find the one thing that you enjoy most in life, the creation or action that you are most passionate about, and focus on it in a creative way.
This has been my main source for funneling my more destructive emotions into a creative and more positive way of viewing the world.
5/31/01, 6:09 p.m.
The violence and the loss is such a downer in your stories.
Thanks for speaking up. I totally understand where you are coming from.
I pretty much designed Kabuki as a direct outlet for my own life situations and I suppose the book changes drastically as it documents Kabuki's (and mine) growth in the different eras of her life. I was in a diffent place when I wrote the earlier stories. I was like 19 or 20 years old. And I suppose some of the violence in the book reflects my own stuggles in life.
Though I can't stand to see it now. And i think Kabuki would feel the same way. Now, I am very much at the stage that Kabuki is in her interaction with Akemi. The inner decisions and peace, reflect in your outward environment. I've included below, my response to your earlier post which goes into this further. In case you missed it below. Let me know what you think.
I wish you could hide these from us and just make more gentle everyday
stories with wonderful beautiful characters creating wonderful beautiful
things and getting off on each other and each others loves and lives.
Do you have any personal motivation for showing the violence? Do
we need to know? Why can't they just talk about the bad times... play down
all the retribution/killings and destruction of human life by human life. There's too much of this in the world... show them all how much better it can be... You have an audience... they can spread the message... let's get creating and talking and spreading the word...
I wish Kabuki was free from all the violence...just the stories in Scarab and skin deep where they're in the flat, sketching each other and checking out each others comics...I like those bits best of all...
I totally relate to this. Those friendship scenes are my favorite scenes in the book as well. I love the scenes when characters are relating to each other, teaching each other and helping each other evolve emotionally. The Tigerlily/Scarab scenes. And especially the Kabuki/Akemi scenes. Akemi is the first character to accept Kabuki unconditionally. She is the catalyst that helps Kabuki evolve and grow and accept herself. She teaches Kabuki that the change in her world, her identity, and her reality start from
the inside. And then her outward environment will reflect that change.
When I was doing these issues with Akemi and Kabuki, I really felt like I was reaching a great change in the character that would mark the direction of future books. And I was getting a lot of mail from people who really
were able to be inspired from these issues and have it help thier own life
and outlook. I really appreciated that. I felt like the Kabuki issues were helping these many readers, in the same way that Akemi's notes were helping Kabuki to actualize her self and choose what kind of life and reality that she wanted in order to transcend the one that she had found herself in.
It was very rewarding to be in the part of the story that was inspiring and uplifting so many people. In contrast, when I went back to read some of the earlier books (Circle of Blood, Masks of the Noh) I was quite disturbed by some of the early violent scenes. I realized that the Kabuki stories were reflecting my own inner growth. Without too much self-analysis, perhaps those earlier tumutuous scenes in Circle of Blood were my way of dealing with situations in my life at that time in my life. Circle of blood reflects a certain need to bring out an internal order from an external chaos and stress. Parts of it are difficult for me to look at now. The violent parts especially. I'm just not in that place anymore. And I think that Kabuki
would feel the same way.
In Metamorphosis (1-9) she makes an inner change. And her environment changed as well. She left that violence behind. She left that life behind to grow the person that Akemi helped her relize that she is. Hopefully, in context, these books show that it is not where you came from, not what you start with, but where you decide to go, and what you decide to do with it.
Akemi showed Kabuki (as hopefully these books show thier readers) that every choice should be creative and constructive rather that destructive. These books, from Circle of Blood to Metamorposis, document Kabuki's transition from a product of her immediate environment to a self actualized adult. And I suppose they document my maturation in that very same way.
So while those early violent scenes disturb me probably even more than they do you, I hope that in context of the entire story, they will point to the contrast involved in this self actualized process of positive evolution.
6/28/01, 3:59 p.m.
There really isn't any point in me writing or drawing a story unless I am putting something personal and intimate into it. I'm really glad that you were sensitive to that.
As for the run you're drawing, I've been talking to some
other fans of yours, and the gereral opinion is that the very genuine aesthetic
of yours might scare of the average DD/superhero reader. What reactions have you been receiving so far?
The overwhelming amount of response that I have recieved has been very
positive. Sometimes I might get the implication that some younger readers
or fans of the more standard fare comics work might have some struggle
to appreciate some of the parts that they think are more "abstract" or
when the story is told in a different way than they are used to.
But how else are there sensibilities going to grow, unless they are introduced to something differnt. I bet that five, ten years from now they will remember those stories and look back on them fondly. Usually, I find that when people grow, the stuff that they tend to really love may also be stuff that disturbed, confused, or scared them when they were first introduced to it.
What I love to hear is when a reader says that at first they did not know what to think of it. It made a big impression, but it did not fit into their paradigm. And then after reading more they have really grown to appreciate it.
Readers have to meet me half-way. As a writer and as a reader, we are both going to get more out of it, the more we put into it. I'm not interested as a writer, artist or as a reader myself of reading something that is a passive experience. As a reader, as a viewer, I want to be involved. I want to be figuring it out. I want to experience it and not just have it told to me. So I can only write and paint the stories that I, as a reader, would enjoy. I can't bring myself to talk down to anyone.
Overall, I'd say that the response has been fantastic. Some people enjoy it right off, and others need a little more time to wrap their head around things. I like to work on things that different people can appreciate in thier own way (on different levels of understanding and intimacy) and at their own pace. They understand it and appreciate it when they are ready
9/26/01, 10:03 p.m.
I was wondering if you had any suggestions for someone interested
in the arts? Anything at all related to fine arts, would be well appreciated.
Any sort of technique, or style or...well, anything at all you could contribute.
Even a sort of outlook, or rather insight that could help inspire me? Please,
Mr. Mack! If you're out there, help? If not, okay.. I understand. Keep
up the good work, I love your art.
From my experience, the most important thing is to have the passion for creating. I find that techniques can be learned through work ethic, experimentation and self discipline. These things are all very important. But the self-motivating passion to create and joy of creating is what most people are missing. If you have that, then the rest is easier to focus on, because you will enjoy it. And you will focus on everything in your life through the lens of creating.
That way everything you experience in your life will help fuel your art, and the craft and discipline that you cultivate through your art will also be applicable in all other aspects of your life.