Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What the Flip?

I'm still in Chicago, and I still love it. I am, however, beginning to feel the crush. The rising pressure that's normally kept at bay by having a balance of resources in the store. The scale is starting to show signs of teetering, the brass needle wavering towards the edge of the zenith.

A job would probably fix that.

The state of employment here is, to say the least, feudal. Those that have managed to retain their place among the commonwealth are tempting arthritis, their knuckles white, the scabbed skin threatening to rip and bare cartilage to the cannibal bureaucrats with labor bloodied teeth.

Enough with the dramatics!

This does not mean I have been sitting idle. Just the opposite. I've been searching, scouring and proffering my skills as an artist like a rabid gambler. Institutions and individuals alike have made their desire for an artist public, and I have brazenly littered their electric landscape with my wares.

One amazing shift is the opportunity of such...opportunity, as an artist here in Chicago. Seattle was a soggy wasteland of whispers, daydreams and personal testing ground for skills and boundaries thereof, at least for me. Not an actual playground or launch pad for anybody not already 'in the scene'. Chicago is proving itself to be a virtual arena of ink & paint stained warriors, all vying for the attention of an appreciative people bearing just rewards. There's exceptions, of course. I've mentioned one Michelle Knowlen, who's still residing in the American wetlands of Washington and striking a rather impressive chord in this static din of today's day & age. Her artwork is recognized in far off lands, that is, Europa, and beyond.

Contradictions aside, I will now go into what and how I'm holding fast to banishing the Apron from my life, in lieu of late nights and pigment covered fingers.

Craig's List. Out here Craig's List is a wealth of opportunity. A lottery, if you will. Every day there is another post under the art related banners for something, some...thing that somebody can do with their hands and brains that others cannot.

Another is this new conterpart to Craig's List, called Kijiji. Similar, but it's young and still gathering a pool of people to make a community. One supercool thing is: posting an ad for yourself, letting others know what you can do, and that you are indeed available for creative work, is Free. Yeah, that's right. Free. Nice. You can even upload images (up to 8, with a good size alotment) to prove your point.

Also, every bulletin board I've passed in the city has had some sort of creative bent to it. There are ideas there, if not actual propositions of a profitable nature.

And of course, punching keywords followed by the city name (in my case Chicago) into Google, or your favorite search engine (besides the spineless, scabby kneed Yahoo), and seing what rises to the surface first. Example: publishing house Chicago.

What'd I get? Tate Publishing. Are they hiring? I can talk pretty and spell words in language, kinda. No, but they do need illustrators. I send them an email loaded with links to my online galleries. A day later I receive an email telling me they're reviewing my work and will let me know if/when they'll want an interview.


NBC? CBS? Warner Brothers? They aren't run by robots from the future. There's a billion people needed to make the tripe found on any given channel at any given time. And this is America we're talking about. The days of every kid growing up and going to college fell away with the fins on grandad's Buick. Make a resume, upload your work to Picasa, or some other free online image hosting site, and email these fools. Is TV the goal? For some, but if not, what the hell? It's a gig you can divorce yourself from after you get off, a gig that you can learn an incredible amount through sheer speed of process, and it's job secuity because television is the one thing that will always thrive when luxury takes one in the face from our thuggish economy. And you'll still be doing something relatively creative, or at the very least banding together with creative people working that system until they can make their own. And until you can make your own. If you live in a hub of this country, check out their website and take a peek at the jobs available. It's crazy. Really. You'll be shocked.

And one other place: art supply stores. I was in one today and they had a board dedicated to artists and artists only. Selling ther serivces, calling out for partners, like minds, revealing resources to fellow storytellers.

So that's what I've been doing. The pressure is mounting, but looking at it from a pace or two back now, I see that it has only been about a week, week and a half at most, since I got here. It's only been two days since I sent in my work for consideration for an upstart comic book company, one day since the publishing house caontacted me, three days since I emialed the advertizing agency, the other publishing house asking for illustrators. They have things to do too, and unlike me at the moment, they have a punch out time. So I guess this little chunk of words is about patience in the face of anxious talent (if I may be so bold). And I'm currently working on some cover sketches for a magazine that emailed me back with interest in my style and wants to see if I'm right for the job. So, it's all happening.

I actually need to get cracking on those designs because Nadja threw her attention their way as well, and they told her they like what she does too. Which is a real special kind of cool and suck at the same time. And her sketches are looking a lot better than mine.

Damn it.

I leave you now with a few images of where I'm dwelling.


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