I am an Artist: Will Dawg

1. Why are you an artist?
I’m not sure why I’m an artist. Like many other artists it started for me as a young child.
I would watch Bob Ross on Saturday Mornings with my grandfather. He was amazed
at what Bob could do in 30 minutes time with paints and a brush. My tastes in art have
become a bit more refined than that over the years but I think there may have been a bit
of wanting to please the people that cared for me. You know, like how most kids want
to be kind and will bring their mom a dandelion from the yard just to see them smile.
It was something relative to that feeling you get when they do show appreciation and
affection. I just wanted that feeling. As I got older and art progressed I stopped longing
for that feeling from others and realized that when I made art or even drew a picture that
I was pleased with that feeling was self generated. There’s nothing wrong with a little self
nurturing I say.

2. Is there a concept behind your work? If so, please tell us about it.
As an illustrator my work varies depending on the needs of clients. My personal work
is often times just evoked from spontaneity. I’ll see an image or get a feeling about
something. Sometimes it’s just colors that flash through my head for periods of time.
Then it’s up to me to try to decipher what it means and translate it into something visual.
A lot of times as I’m working out the line drawings I sort of evolve a pretentious story to
help develop what supporting imagery and or compositions might be beneficial to the
piece. Then again sometimes it’s just a random group of images compiled together and
I let the viewer dictate the story to themselves. I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of
people misreading my art. I think it helps sometimes to hear alternative opinions of what
the viewers are looking at. It opens creative possibilities for the next piece that I probably
wouldn’t have thought of myself. Another reason my work is not so concept based
spanning entire works is that from one painting session to the next my mood and ideas
will have changed. I like to be fluid with the ebb and flow of my inspirations. I don’t want
to pigeon hole myself for the sake of conception. Some artists are great at maintaining
themes and concepts. That’s just not my thing really.

3. Why do you use the medium that you use?
Well. I’m actually well versed in most of the traditional media. I like water based media
the most simply because it’s easy to clean. Plus with the advancement of water media
over the years there’s really not much that can’t be duplicated in terms of effects or
techniques that oil based media can produce. The replication process is sometimes
painstaking to perfect but given enough practice it can be achieved. That’s just my take
on it though. Don’t get me wrong. I do own a good amount of oil paints and turps and
all that goes with it but since I left school they’ve been collecting a lot of dust. Sorry oil
paints!

4. What is the inspiration for your work?
I’ve got lots of inspirations for my work but one of the biggest ones I would say is the
work of other artists. I’ve noticed this sort of infinite loop in creativity. When I look at
other artists works and dream of possessing the creativity or technical abilities as they
have and strive to attain it, I sit back and think to myself, well even those individuals
whom I deify have artists that they look up to as well. As you slowly progress and build
upon your skill level you never really look back much at the other artists who hold you
in the same regard. So to some degree you do achieve that level. The only problem is
that you seldom know who it is that thinks of you the same way. It’s not a problem per se
but if artists were informed of the fact that other emerging artists hold them in that regard
they would intuitively see that they have indeed progressed. It took me a long time to
figure that out, believe me.

5. How do you come up with your compositions?
Sometimes I just let compositions come forth by their own will. Sometimes I disregard
composition all together and just go with what I like. I know composition does play a big
role in the effectiveness of conveying messages but sometimes the lack of composition
is the message. But, when I’m trying to stick within the guidelines of convention I will
often follow the order of importance. I’ll sometimes make a numbered list. 1 being the
most important aspect of the piece then 2 and sub sequential numbers being of lesser
importance. Then base the size of the components on that list. In illustration (for clients)
compositions just can’t be ignored. So I usually create a list based on the importance
of the components for them. Then once all that is ironed out I check to see if any
component or combination of them might lead to a logical layout based on the classic
geometries that have been employed since the beginning of art studies.

6. What is the role of the artist in our society? and in Texas?
That’s a tough question to answer because of the paradox nature of the question. I
mean…everything worth -while that is enjoyed from everyday life is ultimately a spawn of
the creative process of an artist. Yet, artists are treated with such little regard as though
our role is a trivial commodity. As an example…just browse C-list for any given state and
see what people are willing to pay an artist for their works versus the quality of work they
expect in return. That statement doesn’t only apply to C-list…it’s a widespread problem
so I use it with the intent of a blanket statement. People neglect to realize that everything
they own, use, want and adorn has stemmed from the conceptual ideas of an artist of
some form or another. Take for example the clothes you’re wearing right now. Before
they were made they were a design on paper. So is the car you drive, the TV you watch
every night, the movies they display, the table you eat your dinner on, the house in which
you live…and so on. Our role is vital to the appeal of the masses and individuals. But it’s
very seldom looked at that way by every day people. I mean…did you ever once look at
an ordinary object and think “I wonder how the designer came up with the concept for
this?” No…probably not. It’s just not something we do in our everyday lives. We just take
things for granted because they already exist and we no longer need to think about it. I
think that mentality has carried itself across the expanses of other creative needs as well
and has become an infliction within the creative fields. People don’t ever see what goes
on behind the scenes in the creation process therefore they have no idea how
complicated it can be or how much skill is required to produce the required results. I think
that is probably one of the biggest fundamental knowledge gaps between artist and art
buyer and is what warrants the low paying offers and consequently the resentment. As
far as Texas goes, I’m probably not the best man to answer that question. I’ve been here
only about 4 years. I assumed Dallas being a well established city would be on the
forefront of the art scene in Texas but so far it seems years behind comparatively. But
that’s my only frame of reference. I know Austin is booming in the arts and has been for
a long time. It just seems strange to me that Dallas wouldn’t want to mimic that and give
its satellite city a little friendly competition but it doesn’t seem to be the way things are at
all. Maybe I just need to get out more to notice something to the contrary.

7. Have you ever encountered someone/something that is anti-art (believes that art is not of high value)?
How did you react to that?

I’ve learned that harping on others isn’t the thing to do. It never changes the
dynamic. I’ve seen people post up entire rants and bash others for the ridiculous offers
being made. Sure I get angry at the offers. They are in fact ridiculous as previously
stated but little and loud anonymous complaints via a post go unheard and unheeded.

Case and point: here’s a C-list post I found just today. The ad reads: we are building a recording studio and would like the outer panels of the sound booth painted with hip hop flavor. I will buy the supplies and smoke you out for
your time. Thanks.

Hm….so if I have this straight, you want me to come and decorate your recording studio
(probably in your Ma’s basement, an assumption based on the method of payment).
You’ll buy the paint and in return you’ll pay me in weed.
Nice…and classy too.

This is the sort of thing that is just way too insulting for even quasi-professionals to have
to sift through this sort of nonsense in hopes of finding a plausible gig. It’s aggravating to
say the least.

I know there’s a ton more venues out there to find opportunities but since that is where
I found your post and am replying to it I’ll stick within that framework. I don’t think that
was the intention when the idea of C-list was concocted but that’s definitely what it
has become. I’m not sure that there is a way to get it back streamlined with a more
professional dynamic to it since A). It’s available to any and everyone. And B). Some
of the talent on there is sub- par too. I think it would be really cool if something to the
effect was implemented where registered users can be locally rated by clients ONLY
who have used and paid for artist services. There could be a sub category rating by local
registered users who would rate others based on their work portfolios but the secondary
rating would be a supplemental rate system more or less based on popularity. That
way you could at least get an idea via other local users and past patrons of the artist
about whom you could possibly be dealing with. With some sort of checks and balances
instated it might be a little easier to keep posters like the above mentioned just off the
list. It’s not a flawless idea by any stretch but at least a step forward I would hope.

8. As an artist how do you deal with rejection?
I’ve learned to take rejection quite well over the years. I’m my own worst critic and
nobody can say anything about my work that I haven’t already internalized that isn’t
probably true. I’m not really concerned with the opinions of others anyways. They are
just that…opinions. Everyone’s entitled to them I guess. Besides…taking on a little
rejection without resentments can cause you to be a better artists if you use the crits
constructively. Everyone sucks at art early in their endeavors anyways. It’s nothing to
be ashamed of. I mean, did Da Vinci come shooting out the birth canal with a bunch of
masterpieces tucked under his arms? No…he had to work at it. And, I’m sure there was
a whole time period where he was learning the ropes when he probably got rejected and
wasn’t thrilled about his own abilities. There’s nothing wrong with staying humble about
the fact that someone rejects your work but you shouldn’t let it eat away at your self-
worth. Just keep moving along and ride the wave so to speak.

9. What are your ultimate goals as an artist?
I don’t have many goals as an artist. To me that statement is a loaded question. What I
mean by that is if you have a goal as an artist that means you’re using the creative
process to further some agenda. I want to work at Walt Disney or someday I want to be
famous or I want to (fill in the blank). I’m not saying that goals are bad to have. They
definitely prompt focus. But I’ve found that once the goal is achieved the dream often
dies. That job at Disney isn’t as fun as you thought it would be or all the fame has
demanded so much creative pressure to produce more and better paintings, etc. For me,
art is just something I like doing. I’m dedicated to the craft, not the potential benefits of
using it as a career catapult. I would surely take them if they came along, don’t get me
wrong, but it’s not something I strive for. I mean, you see this all the time especially in
the music industry. One minute your song is #1 on the charts..the next you can’t even
get a signed contract. I know there’s a bunch of factors involved but one of the
fundamental reasons I see this happening is that while artists are coming up they are
more in tuned with what’s current and fashionable. As they reach a certain level they
lose sight of the trends because they feel they have arrived. Meanwhile the dynamic of
the industry changes beneath them and they can’t seem to keep track or adapt to those
changes because they lost their focus by not being humble about their success. The
same thing happens in the art world too and I think it’s the same fundamental problems
that are to blame-swollen egos and loss of focus. When you’re dedicated to the craft and
not necessarily concerned with the outcome of its pursuit then it’s much easier to stay
sharp and be able to change and evolve creatively. Would I like to be rich from art?
Yeah. Would I like to be famous, without a doubt but am I concerned about whether or
not either of those two scenarios plays out…not really. I’ll still be an artist no matter what.
To stay creative indefinitely, I guess that’s my real goal.

10. What does art mean to you?
What does art mean? Well, close your eyes for just a second. While they’re closed,
imagine living all your life like that, as if you were blind. How important is art now?
Every day we walk around with blinders on. We’re stuck in our daily lives, going to work,
getting dresses…routine, autopilot motions. Theirs is so much stuff that happens that is
just ignored. Everyday moments, simple things. The way the light shines through your
windows in the mornings, A newly unfurled fiddle head of a fern, the glistening of dew on
the grass, a kind interaction between two total strangers in the parking lot at Walmart.
Everyday moments and things which are just so poetic by virtue but dismissed without
thought. All these little things which bring absolute intrinsic beauty to your life that you
would only miss if it were gone. I think that’s what artists are really trying to tap into. The
moments in between the automated daily responses to show the world that so much is
flashing by without even a glimpse of recognition. To sort of jostle you awake for even
a second to say “HEY!!! Here I am, and here’s my painting of this seemingly ordinary
event or thing which did actually take place here on Earth that nobody seemed to notice
but me. WAKE UP and take notice of your own everyday ordinary moments and notice
just how beautiful they really are!!” But much like the thing or the event, the paintings
also go unnoticed. We’re not just image makers and painters. We’re literal dream
weavers. We’re shaping the realities around us and making possible a better, future
reality one stroke, idea, concept, color blend, pencil line, etc at a time. We can create the
most awe inspiring artwork to elevate the spirit or just the opposite. I mean…just look at
all the talent and creativity that goes into making violent video games and movies. We’re
not perfect beings by any stretch or better than anyone else who is not an artist. I’m not
saying that. I’m just saying that without art and the work of artists this world would be a
very mundane and miserable place to live. Don’t you agree?

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