Thursday, July 1, 2010


Striving to improve...that is what that has been going on with me since the beginning of this year. I understand not the urgency of it but something clicked within me and suddenly, time passes so fast and it's already July.

Time is something relative, and even in cultural studies we learnt that time can be elastic. It seems to pass by relatively faster when one immerses self in work. Once, i had the experience of having to suffer the loss of my computer for a few days, making it almost impossible for me to do any work. In that duration, time moved so slow that it felt totally awkward to someone like me whose days passes by in the blink of an eye. The day seemed to last longer and i was constantly checking the time at intervals to find that it ticks by so slowly.

Now i'm back into the hectic routine work i do for assignments...hell it feels as if someone is snatching away time from me. I have to sacrifice a lot of sleep to work on personal development and am constantly looking for ways to improve in both creativity and skill.

Why so serious?
Maybe because i feel inadequate to join the industry with my current level. I'm about to graduate in another half a year or so and i feel insecure. I suppose i'm not the first to be thinking in such a way but i can't help it. Just hope for the best i guess and try to lessen that insecurity with preparation, which i think i am trying to now.

It disheartens me a bit to know that before art school, my self study was much more efficient up to a certain level. Without guidance at that time, i had to rely alot of guess work and interpretation to get somewhere with my works. I have freedom of time to slowly analyze and learn from other artists.

Eventually though, i hit a wall and could not proceed further for i was without guidance on 'correct' art concepts. I virtually learnt nothing about art during my schooling days up to high school, simply because the schools i have been never truly emphasized art. So it was quite a handicap there.

"Take out your artblocks class, today we draw gotong-royong".

That was about pointers on how to mix your colors, nothing about the color wheel, nothing about composition, nothing about proportional anatomical studies, nothing about the types of mediums and the techniques to use em. At the end of the day we usually end up doing abstract art pieces which even i wasn't very proud of.

And so, it was really a struggle for me in the first 2 years of being in art college. Everything was so new and raw to me. Especially working the traditional way of color pencils, gauche, acrylics and even using the most basic of tools, the pencil. It was fun but truly stressful moment for me with unfamiliarity of tools since i have been self learning only digitally.

Anyways, i thought that art school would start bringing me into new heights with the right guidance. But sadly, not so in some ways.

As i was saying earlier on, i had more time to do analyzing when i was learning myself. It seems that luxury is no longer possible in art school. Everything i ever get trained on is speed. Speed in meeting deadlines. That way most of the time i took shortcuts and was not truly able understand fully the work that i am assigned with sometimes. It is not wrong since commercial works have harsh demands on speed these days. But i felt that i am learning even less this way. I just wish that the college would lighten up a bit but then that would be another problem in itself again.

i do at times look back at my pre-college works with awe and wonder to myself how i managed to achieve something of that magnitude at that time. Truth be told i hold a higher value to my older stuff although it is lacking in skills and looks fugly. I still feel endeared to them and treasure them like my own children. Maybe because it was the amount of effort i put into them. Although the concepts were not strong and i was lacking in the correct art sense, the process of building it painstakingly might have been the key to its perceived added value. I can easily rebuild something of that same quality or better with 10 times the speed now, but sadly the feeling will be different.

So i ponder to myself sometimes. Was it a right move from my part to bring myself to come to art college? would it have been better to just do self learning, taking a longer time but gaining much more out of it? what would it have been like if i just treated this as a hobby? Questions that might never have answers to them but that is just how it is. Regrets only serve to pull oneself down so i would just have to console myself that this is for the best.

The Road Not Taken. ~Robert Frost


  1. You are what you are today because of the decisions you make. So I truly believe your art skills is so pro now because you entered art college. :)

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  2. There's always room for negativity in self-reflection and "hindsight is 20/20" and all, but I do think that doubting yourself will bring you nowhere worth going.

    If you believe that self-studying helped you much more, there's always an opportunity to do so in future, so I think that you've suffered no losses by enrolling in art school. If nothing else, at least you gained a new perspective, right?

    Chin up, man :) I didn't get to chat with you during lunch the other day, so I have to get you for another time, haha!

  3. iori@ haha true. It does help la but it's a double edged sword.

    Terry@ thanx for the words of encouragement. I just foresee a very busy future that lies ahead to truly indulge in any more luxurious self studies hahaha. Though we didn't get to chat much glad to see you're still doing well :)