Scribbly sumi ink lines like folded air delineate the forms of bandana-masked apocalypse kids. Colored pencil over watercolor depicts a fairy and butterfly atop an enormous mushroom. The Mandalorian’s polished helmet flashes with specular light deftly realized with musical smears of gouache. A wolf’s vacant skull pincushioned with arrows and laden with esoteric symbolism is drawn with the crisp and unfailing line of a micron pen. No hatching no texture or gray values. Dune characters realized with every possible approach and instrument. All of this with just 30 seconds of flipping with my seemingly tireless left thumb against enchanted untrustable glass and its purple Instagram button. I want to paint. I want to hatch. I want to go real. I want to go expressive. I want to go minimalist. I want to be James Jean. I want to be Evan Cagle. The parade never dies. You dance with infinity. 



“There was never an age when such an amount of artistic food was at the disposal of students. Cheap means of reproduction have brought the treasures of the world’s galleries and collections to our very doors in convenient forms for a few pence. The danger is not from starvation, but indigestion. Students are so surfeited with good things that they often fail to digest any of them; but rush on from one example to another, taking but snapshot views of what is offered, until their natural powers of appreciation are in a perfect whirlwind of confused ideas. What then is to be done? You cannot avoid the good things that are hurled at you in these days, but when you come across anything that strikes you as being a particularly fine thing, feed deeply on it.”

by Harold Speed


This excerpt is from The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed, and it was published in 1917. (The book, for its philosophies alone, is excellent and worth picking up) This passage struck me powerfully for its prophetic quality and also because I was surprised the reproduction  and accessibility of art on a large scale was already  prevalent enough to invoke such a warning. Harold Speed lived until 1957, so he probably saw media production and consumption proliferate even more after he wrote that passage. I bet I can guess what he would have to say about infinite scroll. 




by Harold Speed

Or you can go narrow and deep. Cut things away. Minimize. Look at less.  Stare and observe and contemplate a few pieces or even one piece, and assess what it is that has rang within your spirit for years, and investigate what calls your admiration. Deconstruct and understand it. Understand the artist and his or her motivations. Maybe you can drink all the waters residing in that one well, or maybe you discover them to be inexhaustible.


I don’t think I’m the first or the hundredth or the last person to comment on our entertainment abundance, but I can use some reminding here and there to consider my relationship with it. I’m gonna try to go narrow and deep for a while.