Artists and Energy Vampires {How To Protect Yourself and Your Art} Halloween Special

Appropriately for Halloween I have started thinking about Vampires…

Bizarre as it may sound, Vampires are not necessarily the mythical creatures from films and stories. There ARE real life Vampires operating all around us feeding on our life energy and nowhere do these predators operate more successfully than in the art world.

Do Vampires really exist?

Sounds like a bunch of daft mumbo jumbo right? Have I been drinking too much Halloween punch?

Think about it. Most of us know people who we dread being around. After being on the phone to them for ten minutes we feel exhausted and in need of a lie down. If they pop round to visit we feel depressed, knackered and possibly even ill after they leave. We try and make excuses to avoid them but they always seem to know when we feel low and call just at the time we least feel we have the energy to deal with them.

These people are what I would class as Energy Vampires. They emit negativity and suck all the joy and happiness from a room. They leave greyness in their wake. They feed on the life energy of others in order to make themselves feel better or more powerful. They are draining, exhausting and damaging to be around.

How to spot an Energy Vampire
Energy Vampires are easily recognisable from some common characteristics.

  • They like to criticise and complain and bring down positive people by destroying their confidence with subtle undermining comments.
  • They are jealous of people who achieve things in their life and consequently do all they can to sabotage them in order to make themselves feel more powerful.
  • They suck the lifeforce out of everyone around them.
  • They are the passive aggressive killers of dreams and generally never have much positive comment to make.
  • Life is never good for them, something is always wrong, be it the weather, their job or their spouse.

You come across them every day in all areas of life. They might be a friend, an aquaintance or someone you meet through your artistic practice. In defense of the Energy Vampire they often don’t realise what they are doing and have unhappy and damaged backgrounds so a little understanding is called for.

Artists are easy prey for the Energy Vampire

Unfortunately, artists and creative people are particularly easy prey for an Energy Vampire. The very act of creating some kind of Art – Sculpture, Painting, Photograph, Music or Print is a baring of your soul.

Standing in my first exhibition after all the work had gone up, I was shocked at how vulnerable I felt. My inner thoughts were out there for everyone to see. This act of translating your soul out through your art makes the Artist sensitive and open to negative people who seek to drain their power for their own ends. Its easy to trash someone’s confidence when they have put their entire being, thoughts and energy into a piece of work. There are also people who are jealous that you are doing something you enjoy, or are good at a particular artistic skill, as its something they feel they can’t do well themselves. Consequently they might rubbish your output in order to feel better about their own work.

How do Energy Vampires attack?

The attack generally comes in two equally damaging forms: Destructive criticism and the Destruction of Dreams. Lets just look a little closer at these two.

Negative or destructive criticism of your work: 
Constructive criticism of your work can help you flourish and develop as an artist but destructive criticism destroys, undermines, damages confidence and is one of the biggest reasons Artists stop creating. The tragedy is that some Artists will just stop creating work for the rest of their lives, believing that their Art has no value. No one appreciated the work of Van Gogh during his lifetime  but what a tragedy if he had just given up because someone told him his work sucked and he listened!

Destroying your dreams:
Being told “no one ever makes a living as an Artist” “You need to live in the real world” “You’ll never make it” and variations on the above can make working and living as an artist seem like an impossible dream. Energy Vampires are often very unhappy in their own lives and like to make sure everyone else is similarly unhappy by dashing their hopes and dreams.

How to defend against Energy Vampires

So, what can you do to thwart the energy vampires from draining you of your creative lifeforce?

  • Recognition
    The Best defence against energy vampires is wonderfully simple – recognition. Once you can spot a Vampire at work it’s easier to stay strong in the face of their negativity and realise that it’s their issues at work, not yours. Recognising what they say or do for what it is, invalid and undermining, will allow you to avoid being dragged down and to shake off any criticism.
  • Nourish your protective confidence
    Build confidence in your work. A healthy confidence in your own work will give you great protection. Develop your work and skills in positive ways and become involved with positive organisations for mutual support. Some people will love your art. Some won’t and won’t understand it. That’s OK. The main thing is that YOU love your work and are happy that it’s the best you can produce.
  • Avoidance.
    Simply stop hanging around with people you know bring you down and are bad for your psyche. Make sure you surround yourself with people who create positive energy and support your dreams.

So keep strong. Keep Painting, Sculpting, Photographing, Printing, Designing, Drawing, Playing and Making. Keep your dreams alive and hang onto your creative energy.

 

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.” ― Mark Twain

Do you have experience with Energy Vampires? How did you deal with them? Share with us and have a spooky Halloween…

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What to Consider When Printing Your Artwork and Photos

Guest blogger Carla Eaton shares some tips and tricks to ensure your printed artwork is perfect…

No matter how good your computer, camera or editing skills are, your artwork is going to look different from the original once it has been printed.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are prepping to print in order to get the sizing and quality you desire.

Printing Process

Most commercial printers offer several ways you can choose from to print your artwork. Here are some of the more popular methods:

Offset Lithography: In this printing process, ink is applied to a special printing plate to form the image, which is then transferred to a rubber blanket that presses is against paper to produce the final print. This method creates high quality prints and very popular.

Giclee Printing: High-tech 8- or 12-color ink jet printers “spray” inks onto the substrate, which creates the final product. This method creates high quality images that reproduce your artwork in various sizes and onto various surfaces (canvas, paper, textured papers, etc.) easily.

Laser or Inkjet Printing: The most common types of printers, these may not be the best route for prints. This method is best for smaller prints, or for those who are just starting out and printing from home. Image quality will not be the best.

Print Sizes (Image size vs. print size) and Proper Resolution

Chances are, your original artwork isn’t going to be in the size that people will want as a print. Offering different sizes of your piece is common and creates more options to buy your art.

Resizing an image is not that simple, however. You will want to consider resolution and pixels. Standard print resolution is 300dpi. Make sure your files, documents and images all are set to that; any image with a resolution lower than 300 will be printed fuzzy and blurry. Read more on understanding image resolution here.

Most image editing software (Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP, etc.) will allow you to resize the image easily. Keep in mind you want a high resolution and that really depends on what size prints you want. A high resolution file may cause your computer to be slow, but the printed product will be well worth it. You can also avoid that by taking your artwork to a commercial printer.

Bleed, Trim and Safety Margins

Bleed: The bleed line extends past the trim “to which artwork or a background color is extended so that the blade will cut through it.” If your artwork extends to the edge of a document, you should set a bleed line so that your artwork doesn’t get cut off awkwardly. The bleed margin establishes an area to account for a small margin for cutting error.

Trim: The trim refers to the edge of the paper or the size of the finished product. These lines indicate where the product will be cut down to for the desired size. It’s important to remember, however, that errors can be made during the printing and cutting process, so important content should be kept within safety margins.

Safety: The safety lines refer to the area of your document/artwork that is not meant to be trimmed. Any important content or text should be kept within the safety lines to ensure it does not get cut off.

Although it varies by what you are printing, it’s important to set up the bleed, trim and safety line for every file. Generally, your bleed line should be 1/8” beyond the trim line, while the safety line should be 1/8” inside the trim line.

File Type (TIFF, JPG, or PNG?)

There are so many ways to save your image file – TIFF, JPG, PNG, PDF, GIF, etc. – that is can be hard to figure out which is the best for printing your artwork. Whatever you choose to print, make sure the file is saved as a TIF, JPG or PNG.

TIF: Lossless type of file – generally considered the highest quality format for commercial work. It does not lose any of the data associated with the original image, is highly versatile, and works with almost all color profiles (including CMYK which makes it great for commercial printing).

PNG: Lossless type of file – no compression and no JPG artifacts. It uses ZIP compression which is somewhat more effective color compression than with TIF files, which makes it smaller than TIF but larger than JPG.

JPG: Lossy type of file – generally used for photo images. High quality JPGs can be used for printing as well, but the files can be extremely small and unable to effectively scale up in size. Also, the more you edit and re-save the JPG file, the more quality you will lose.

If file size is not an issue, work with TIF images to maximize quality and size of your artwork.

 

External references and resources:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=382489

How do I prepare and optimize my art images for the web?

Carla Eaton has a B.A. in Mass Media with a Minor in Art and Design. She enjoys writing on the topics of business, technology, and design, and currently blogs for inkfarm.com, who specializes in Dell printer cartridges.


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Reader’s Showcase | Weets | Unbounded Thought


Eric G. C. Weets was born on 3rd August 1951. He is a self taught, multidisciplinary, contemporary artist.

Weets has no academic training. It was denied when he was young and later, when he was old enough and had a chance, he refused because by then he read a lot about art and came to believe that formal training destroys creativity. Weets’ quest to create timeless work, made him negate all his other works on canvas, prior to the year 2007.  Because he felt those works miss that something, which makes the work exceptional, original and thereby timeless.

Presently, Weets has retired from public life completely and is almost living in solitude.

These paintings are about the purity of unbounded thoughts, most probably more subconscious than conscious, than a painting painted in a classical way. I feel these works have to be seen, enjoyed and thought about, if only to gain a different perspective on ordinary, daily living. And is not that, the purpose of art?

Insight into why Eric G. C. Weets is creating his art.

“I don’t think I can really talk about art or talk about why I do it or how I do it. I think it is not necessary even. I say art, I mean painting, for me. I did it, always. There was never a question why I do it, I could not leave it. There were times that I didn’t want to paint anymore and keep myself busy with other things but even with year long pauses in between, I have always come back to painting. So, for me, it’s a part of who you are. I cannot really figure out why it is like that. It shall be born in. (They say it is a gift. But I think it is not really a gift, it is simply something you have it within you. See gift is something like a present which is given to you but this is not a gift, this is something that belongs to you, it is a part of who you are, your identity.)

But the question stays, why art? Now, most probably, it is because I had no other choice. We carry that in us and in the end, it had to come out. It’s like, it has to take birth, because it is there. It cannot be otherwise than to come out”.
Eric G. C. Weets.

See more of Weets work here

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Artists. Are you a hunter in a farmers world? | Can we survive in a non creative system?

I can still vividly remember the cold dread of it. The shiny white plastic desks. The curled corner laminated yellowing posters on the walls. The vague smell of wee coming from the boys toilets next door. The icy squeeze of fear around my heart. The sinking feeling at the beginning of each lesson, knowing I would never be able to follow what was going on. Gazing out of the window across the playing fields to the trees beyond and wishing I was anywhere but here. .. This was C Block. My school maths classroom…

But there is another school room I remember. Full of light and interest. A calm place, with bunches of strange dried flowers in pots. Shelves of ceramics. Bright colour on the walls. Palettes stacked in the sink for washing and a smell not unlike baking eminating from the warm kiln. The school art room. My spiritual home…

Did you get into trouble at school for…

  • Day dreaming
  • Not concentrating
  • Fidgeting

Did you feel like an outsider.?

Another brick in the wall

Many artists have a very difficult time in the schools system. The education system is primarily there to create a compliant workforce for offices, factories and the industrial system. We often don’t fit in but we are made to feel that it is us who are wrong..

  • We emerge with our ego battered and the confidence knocked out of us. Our self belief is damaged
  • We are often told we are wrong/stupid/slow/unacademic/unintelligent/disordered.
  • We are often pushed into jobs that we are highly unsuited for because we are told “art isnt a real job. You will never get a job doing that. You can do art as a hobby”
  • Once trapped in these unsuitable jobs we can struggle mentally to stay afloat.
  • Our creativity becomes subsumed under the weight of everyday life and our creative light dims and flickers weakly.

A hunter in a farmers world

If, like me, you have always felt that your thought processes worked differently from the norm, especially when at school, I have found some interesting research recently.

Creativity may have a genetic component which has helped man evolve through creativity and language development. Research by Richard Klein, professor of anthropological sciences at Stanford University in California has pointed to the fact that…

A single mutation in a “creativity” gene less than 100,000 years ago led to the rapid development of art and culture and the ascent of Man, according to a controversial view of our early evolutionary history.

The mutation in a gene called “foxp2” – identified by British scientists in 2001 – caused an explosion in the complexity of language which underpinned the social and cultural revolution leading to the spread of Homo sapiens.

A fascinating book I am reading at the moment The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child by Thom Hartmann, posits that creativity is a component of a highly adaptive skill set traceable to our hunter gatherer ancestors. When our creative life force becomes too big for society, a creative mind can be mislabelled “disordered” or “disfunctional”, symptomatic of ADHD and drugged into compliance, but Hartmann’s book argues that these skills are in fact a positive which result in innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs…

IF we can just survive the school system and society in one piece…

Thomas Edison, the great inventor and creative mind, was expelled from school for behaviour which would probably have him labelled as having Attention Deficit Disorder. He went on to become probably the worlds greatest inventor, creating the electric light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera amongst a plethora of innovations.

Leonardo Da Vinci was described as eccentric and impulsive and easily distracted, rarely finishing any of the paintings he started. Today he would very probably be labelled disordered and have a hard time at school… Back then he was recognised as a genius…

Hartmann describes having this creative skillset as being like “A hunter in a farmers world”, a very apt description of being an artist in society today.

Don’t be afraid to think differently…

Skills which aided our hunter gatherer ancestors, such as the ability to constantly scan the environment for danger, allow us to assimilate large amounts of information quickly and visually. We notice the details in life and can then combine them in non linear ways to make new and creative thoughts.

Our ancestors would have needed the ability to concentrate long and hard on finding food and hunting. We can discover this ability for extreme focus ourselves when we find something that truly engages us. Have you ever lost yourself for hours or even days in a painting and lost track of the passage of time, forgetting even to eat?

Conversely, the things that dont click with us are extremely hard to engage with {see my comment on maths lessons at the beginning of this post ;-)] and our creative visual mind will begin looking for other opportunities and brainstorming. {Cue getting shouted at by the teacher for daydreaming}

So why am I telling you this.

There are several heartfelt reasons for writing this post…

  • Because I have found it extremely interesting {and reassuring} to find research which describes in detail the way my mind works and explains a little of the possible historic background to creative thought and why we may be wired as we are. We are not the “weird arty kids”. We are the hunters who think differently. This is a GOOD THING.
  • Because it is an explanation as to why school may be tricky for those with creative brains.
  • Because too many creative people are told that their thinking is faulty when in fact it is society that is messed up…
  • Because too many artists are the square peg battered into the round hole in the education system and never manage to recover the initial joy they found in creativity as a child.
  • Because too many artists are forced into “proper jobs” which destroy their souls and make them ill, day after day, year after year…
  • Because it is never too late to nurture that creative flame and get it flickering brightly again, whatever your age.
  • And especially because we need to nurture the creativity of our children and help them find better opportunities and understanding than we were given when we were at school…

It’s not you… It’s the system…

The things that you have consistently been told are wrong with you, are actually YOUR GREATEST SKILLS.

The system is frightened of the kind of skills you possess and will try to supress them but you need to keep strong. They are the creative skills that are of VITAL IMPORTANCE in the emerging economy of the world. The education system hasn’t caught up with this yet.

Because the world desperately needs hunters, outsiders, and visionaries right now.

The people who have an unquenshable creative life force.The people who think differently. The people who have the vision of the way things could be. The people who don’t just toe the line and follow the status quo but who innovate and find a new and better way…

The creators. The thought leaders. The inventors, The entrepreneurs. The misfits. The shamens…

We have enough sheep. Lets go out and hunt…


Please share your thoughts and how you fared at school in the comments below…

NOW. PLEASE watch this wonderful, funny,  profound talk about creativity in the education system by the wonderful Sir Ken Robinson.

 

Image courtesy of tackorama.net

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Reader’s Showcase | Zhenlian | Meditative Paintings

Evening Romance

 

My name is Zhenlian. I am an artist from China. I  graduated from Teachers Training College in Hong Kong as a qualified art teacher.  I have worked as art teacher in both Primary and Secondary schools in China.    I have retired from my work since 2002, since then I have devoted myself to painting.

Dragonfly Attractions

 

I like to experiment with new medias which I have not had much experience before, such as acrylic and Chinese paintings. I am fired with inspiration in whatever I paint, in fact, I am more inspired now than when I was young.

Fairyland Tales

 

I am often inspired by nature, flowers,waters,trees,fruits etc, I don’t paint what I see but express what I feel, I often see the theme of a subject before me, and I choose to express it in colors and forms. My paintings are meditative and poetic.

Bornfree

 

I enjoy painting animals too, especially cats, I usually add a humorous touch to my animal themes. Most of my paintings are conceptual realistic in style, that is to say my paintings appear very realistic but there are always some imaginative elements in the composition of my works. I think I would rather call this Conceptual Romanticism. My paintings are integrations of the real and the imaginative.

You can see more of Zhenlian’s beautiful work here.

 

 

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