Constructive Criticism

I graduated college six years ago this month. The thing I miss about art school is honest critique from my piers. My time at the Savannah College of Art Design taught me that you can never see your painting as others do. Honest critique is pivotal for the growth of an artist.

As time goes by, I make more connections within the art world. In this grown up art world, constructive criticism is frowned upon. This is something I often forget. My biggest social blunders come from discussing a painting with its creator. I mean no harm with my comments. Just the opposite, a painting that demands critique is a painting I adore. College taught me that the only improvement comes from understanding weakness. How am I supposed to improve if everyone is too afraid to offend by speaking the truth? Feedback is something I crave, so it is something I give freely. One day, I will meet an artist who will crit my work freely. In return I will give the helpful criticism SCAD taught me to dish out. Until then, I should learn to shut my big, fat mouth.

Crit Me. Watercolor and ink on cotton paper. 6″ x 5.5″ (15.2cm x 14cm).

Unframed: $250.00

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Always Sunny

When I’m in the suburbs, I paint tall buildings. When I’m in the city, I paint park scenes. I don’t get it either.

Below is another painting of Rittenhouse Square. Philadelphia in late summer makes me smile.

Eye Contact. Watercolor paint and ink on paper. 4.5″ x 6″ (11.4 cm x 15.2 cm).

Unframed: $215.00

Dribbble Dave

Artists today are some of the luckiest of all time. The internet has afforded artists the ability to speak directly to their audience, without the filter of an art dealer or gallery. Immediately after finishing a work I can post it online. The work will be seen by hundreds of people before it is even a day old. While there is nothing like looking at a painting in person, social networking allows artists to share exactly what they are creating while they are creating it.

I am a huge fan of what sites like Twitter, Facebook, Deviant Art, My Space, and Flickr have done for contemporary creatives. Recently, I was invited to join Dribbble. Dribbble is like Twitter, but for designers and illustrators. Updates are called “shots,” as they are small screen shots of your current work. There are a lot of basketball references (not all of which I understand). I was lucky enough to get “drafted” to Dribbble by the very visually talented David Everly.  To show Dave my gratitude, I painted the following abstract portrait of Dave’s current Twitter avatar.

Dribbble Dave. Watercolor and ink on paper. 6″ x 5″.

Unframed: $200.00

Lacebook

Below are portraits of all my Facebook friends whose names begin with the letter “L.”

Click to enlarge images.

Facebook friends A, B, C, D, E-I, Ja-Je, and K.

Vegetables and Mile Stones

Below is a page from my wet sketchbook. It is a still life sampling of some fresh veggies.

Fresh Vegetables. Watercolor and pen on paper. 5″x8.5″.

Unframed: $75.00

My small mile stone is that, as of this morning, I have as many Twitter followers as I do Etsy hearts (615). I know that is a a triumph very few people can understand, but it makes me happy. The internet gives artists the wonderful opportunity to be seen.  It’s all we truly want. Thanks to sites like WordPress, Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter, my work is seen by thousands of people a month. Not many galleries can boast that kind of traffic. It must have been very frustrating to be an artist before the Internet.

What I’m trying to say is, thank you for taking the time out of your day to appreciate my work. It means a lot.

K Facebook

Drawn below are my Facebook friends whose first name begins with the letter “K.”

Click to enlarge image.

Facebook friends A, B, C, D, E-I, J-Je, and Ji-Jz.

The Rest of the J’s

Every Facebook friend I have whose first name begins with the letter “J” is now drawn. There were quite a few.

The first image is friends Ji-Jon. The second image is Jos-Ju.

Click to enlarge images.

Facebook friends A, B, C, D, E-I, and Ja-Je.

Dee Dun

The D’s are done. Every “D” Facebook friend I have is drawn below.

I’ve decided not to Facebook comment on the drawings, not wishing to influence the reception of the works in any way. This has grown harder as I post more drawings. As these portraits are more about how people respond to them than how they look, with the E’s I will post a few memorable comments from my Facebook contacts.

I expected the responses of others to be interesting. An unexpected result of creating these works is my own emotional reaction. The majority of my Facebook friends are people I have not seen in years: old coworkers, elementary school classmates, friends of the family, ex lovers, distant relatives, high school acquaintances,  and SCAD alumni. There are many friends I’ve let drift away that maybe I should have held on to. Looking through the photographs of these people feels intimate. I know them better after drawing them. Tagging is the hardest part, as it is essentially sending the practical stranger an e-mail with my name on it.

A project that was initially an in depth look at privacy in the age of social networking has brought me to wonder about the nature of a Facebook relationship. As banal as an internet only friendship may be, it is all I have with a lot of people I know. These portaits have brought them closer to me, but has made me no closer to them.

Click to enlarge image.

Facebook friends A, B, and C.