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Art and Attitude

I recently attended an animated film festival where one of my films was shown. My film, “Feathers”, took me 2 years to make. But it doesn’t show. It’s nothing special really, with a plot that wasn’t really thought out, poor composition and mediocre animation. I’ve been more proud of the accomplishment of finishing it than the film itself - the goal I set with this film was to make a 2-3 minute film “all by myself”. Prior to starting work on Feathers, my longest animated work lasted a little over 30 seconds. It was mainly created as a challenge. Made harder by the fact I was graduating from middle school at the time, and I had a ton of schoolwork and studying to do.
My mother has seen the film on multiple occasions. But after viewing it on a big projection screen, she had this to say (paraphrasing):

“I didn’t get some parts of your film. It’s quite unfinished, isn’t it?”
I agreed with her that certain things were unpolished and poorly planned out, but I said I’m still happy that I managed to finish it at all.
She got mad at this. She started yelling about how I’m lazy, how this is “no festival film” and how I could’ve done better.
I try not to let her remarks get to me, but after so many years of similar comments, it’s hard not to…
Having heard this, and having seen many other short films at the festival, I immediately started thinking up ideas for a “festival-worthy” film. Sketching out a couple of them, I realised I was being driven by spite.

It got me thinking about something I think about from time to time, something I’m sure fellow artists can relate to. Why do I want to make art?
Is it because I want to be proud of myself? Is it because I want to “win at art” by earning a big award or becoming famous? Is it to prove my family wrong?

I certainly don’t want to be famous, that’s for sure. I analysed my need for personal achievements more closely and came to the conclusion that it’s not the achievements themselves that I want. I’ve won a couple of small awards, been to a few festivals - it’s not the things I won that I reminisce about, it’s the nice moments I had around them. Getting to visit another country, watching animated films with other animation enthusiasts, those sorts of things. I must admit that I don’t go out much and rarely get to participate in social events. I think that’s the need being fulfilled here.

Making art out of spite, to prove something to someone, maybe even yourself is… destructive. It makes creation feel like a chore.

I need to keep my goals in mind, no matter what anyone tells me. If I lose sight of them, I’ll become unhappy with my art again. I believe the primary thing driving me to create is the need to share my perspective, my inner world through my characters and my stories. Or sometimes, just a want to draw existing characters that I love, or just a need to experiment with visuals.
Sometimes I still catch myself practicing a habit I developed when I posted to Twitter - drawing something, anything at the end of the day just to have something to post to keep my account relevant. This is part of the reason I don’t often post my art publically anymore - I want to prevent being forced to draw by a need to “produce content”.

I am not a “content creator”, I am a person that wants to connect with others online, through my art or through other means.

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