Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The role of a graphic artist

For the most part, I have been able to accomplish goals I set when I was younger through the first half (wishful thinking) of my life. In most cases I've had to take the "road less traveled" to get there and the picture was often a blurry resemblance of my vision. But I've gotten close.

As a kid, I wanted to do two things—become an Air Force officer and make a living as an artist. I wanted to be a pilot, but ended up as an Aircraft and Munitions Maintenance officer where I worked around aircraft and on the flightline.

I have been making my living using my artistic ability for most of my adult life when I wasn't in the Air Force. When I was in the USAF, I used my talents as much as possible as well. My vision was to be a painter and illustrator working in a studio full-time. The reality is that I have made it work being a graphic artist for a health care company while working on the side as a designer and illustrator. I have also worked for a long time as a fine artist drawing and painting.

Recently, I've been working harder on my painting and drawing.

I was describing my approach to my work to a co-worker recently. I said that when I work as a fine artist, I do what I want in the style that I want. People who commission artwork, do so seeking my style and my vision to their subject. When I work as a graphic artist, I have to put aside my own vision and become the conveyor of my client/customer's vision.

This creates a tough situation. Often, my customer presses for a solution where the message and the visual aren't in synch, or for an inappropriate or outdated approach. I give them my best thoughts, but they usually just want what they want. This leaves me with the task of creating my best effort to provide the wrong solution. This illustration is a perfect example.

In this setting, I hope it is a cute cartoon. I am not inclined to create trite images in my old age, but the cartoon is not too bad when removed from the context it illustrates.

I have been working on some paintings and drawings that I have to wait to post until they are delivered. I also want to post some illustrations I did for a book, but I need to see if the authors are concerned about putting something out before the book is created. I have been busy, but need to get more busy.

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