It begins at childhood and develops gradually over time.
With every encounter, observation and experience,
the tale becomes richer
with a more expansive intellect from which to draw.
In the heart, an amazing adventure lays dormant,
waiting for the right time, when all the pieces are in place,
for the dream to come to fruition.”
This is an excerpt from my article in Communication Arts magazine entitled Building Fantastical Worlds: in Print, Broadcast, Film, Interactive Media and Beyond. The illustration annual article shares an inside look into the development of intellectual properties that span across multi-media platforms that started as childhood dreams. The featured artists and their story-driven work include James Gurney and Dinotopia, Tony DiTerlizzi and The Spiderwick Chronicles and Phil Straub’s Utherworlds.
As artists and illustrators, our work is more than a mere collection of pretty, or maybe not so pretty, pictures. Underneath all the window dressing, our artistic works are an exploration of who we are as creative beings. This internal need for expression comes out as an external statement about something bigger. When we create art, we are communicating with the culture. We are telling something about our story, our personal narrative, even if it is hidden behind the confines of a client project. Our voice is present, whether we realize it or not.
So, we need to ask ourselves the big question: What is our work really all about
and what is the thread that binds it together?
The answers to this question gives us clues, a sneak peek, to where we are going as artists. If we know where we are headed, then we can move in the right direction, readjusting our course when we fall off track. As we walk on our artistic journey, we may never really see a perfectly clear path but at least we have a compass to guide us when the fog sets in.
Having a vision for our work as artists and visual communicators takes a conscious effort on our part. It is an ongoing pursuit. As artists, we have to be honest about ourselves and our work, breaking free from outside pressures or expectations. In the days of social media, this is not an easy thing to do, especially for the younger generation who have grown up in the world of selfies and likes. We need to choose the path that is ours alone to walk. Everything else will only make us feel less than.
Knowing the right projects to pursue as well as the right people to do them with is a step in the right direction. Creating work that you are personally connected to leads to building leverage around your unique voice and vision. This is a place that you can build a solid foundation from because you live it authentically. It’s a natural extension of who you are and this is something you can continue to pursue into the third act. Bringing these insights to a conscious level will help you to better understand what your work is all about when it comes to direction and markets.
Check out my Rediscovering Your Creative Self podcast episode called Perception is Reality on changing your focus and perception by creating a new script in your mind about yourself and your work.
What we choose to create and put out into the culture has a ripple effect in its wake, making an impression on the lives of others. What we say with our work is truly our way, as creative beings, to converse in an ongoing dialogue with a worldwide audience. It opens up the question to every artist and illustrator as to what the overall meaning or legacy of his or her work is all about. I would like you to think about the aspect of messaging and communications in your work and what you would like to uniquely say and ultimately leave behind for the next generation to ponder and push forward.
Check out this audio interview with legendary, Hall of Fame illustrator Marshall Arisman who developed an MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC around the aspect of personal narrative and self-expression in the field of illustration. His contributions to our industry will be felt for years to come. Although he is no longer with us, his authentic voice and vision lives on within the hearts and minds of so many artists and illustrators.
No other time has it been easier to have an ongoing dialogue with a worldwide audience. With the proliferation of the web and technological innovation, artists are seeing how their work affects others through the use of social media and other online platforms such as Patreon. Some of us will be very outspoken and even political, while others are in search of a more deeper meaning that transcends what is happening on the outside to look more introspectively.
October of 2023 marked my one year anniversary working on my Navigating the Labyrinth of the Creative Mind patreon endeavor. My patreon site content as well as the patrons has grown so much since then. We now have a community of artists from all over the world.
The vast collection of content on the Navigating the Labyrinth of the Creative Mind patreon site now includes, an exciting array of video content in both the Masterclass and In the Studio Collections. We also have a great collection of content in the Just Imagine: Sketchbooks + Journals plus the Sketchbook Challenges and Events. Both the Working in Relief and Painted Passages Collections have weekly posts with lots of process and techniques shown. The Studio Basics Collection focuses on artistic best practices for the studio artist. Promotional strategies and practices can be found in The Art of Promotion Collection. The Masks, Props and Costuming Collection gives an inside look into how I create costumes for my figurative subjects. Insights from the Natural World Collection uses nature as an inspirational muse for creating artistic works. Exhibitions and Collections shows my work in various shows. Lastly, the Patron Art Feedback Collection houses recordings of all our live patron feedback events.
If that alone is not enough, check out what is happening with my podcast endeavor which was started around the same time. The Rediscovering Your Creative Self podcast has reached thousands of artists from 43 locales around the globe! Check out where the podcast has traveled:
United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Finland, France, Germany, Brazil, Netherlands, India, Italy, South Africa, Belgium, Bulgaria, Australia, Korea, Norway, Spain, Singapore, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, Poland, Chile, Austria, Japan, Romania, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Mexico, Denmark, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lebanon, Lithuania, Montenegro, Slovenia, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
This is a great reminder that humble beginnings coupled with lots of hard work can grow amazing things! Our creative endeavors shape who we are as artistic beings, impacting those around us in small as well as grand ways. Choose wisely, as life is too short to waste on distractions. Pursue your passions, creating projects that are meaningfully to you. Passion-inspired projects will never leave you with regrets.
Thank you so much for your support and for having a part in this belief that art can heal! I am looking forward to lots of exciting things to come! Stay tuned!
copyright 2023 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC all rights reserved