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My Art Philosophy and the 5 Books that Shaped It

Good morning, everyone! The sun has arrived after many long weeks of rain and clouds, and it truly is the best.

For years, I’ve been thinking of my personal philosophy about art. More so out of rebellion against the university I was attending, which only wanted to view art through a political perspective, I’m happy to say as someone who is just a few years shy of her thirties, I think I finally FINALLY came up with an art philosophy that I am happy with. I believe my time in Italy, and being surrounded by beautiful art every day, most of it not costing me a three cent penny, helped shape it, but the books below, were probably my biggest influences.

DISCLAIMER: Now, I’m going to come and say it, yes, these are affiliate links. If you purchase any of these books, I do get paid a tiny bit, and yes, my writing this post did start off as me trying to use affiliate links effectively, but as I got to writing, and reopening these books for this article, I just fell back in love with them all over again. I enjoyed writing about these books and how they helped through roughly the hardest times of my life. If you want to buy any of the books below, or know somebody that might enjoy them, you would not only be supporting me and my dream to become an independent artist, but you would benefit from their wisdom.

My dream for the future involves filling everybody with love and inspiration for art- to want to take the places they love and fill them with beauty. I want everybody to discover the artist within. I am convinced if everyone read these books, then my dream for a future where everyone, especially you, can become an artist filling everyone you love with joy through the power of art, this dream might just be just a little bit more realized.

1. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Don’t worry so much about making art, just do it!

I believe one of the greatest challenges artists of any medium face is creating a new idea. It doesn’t help that copywrite laws are seemingly becoming murkier and murkier.

Steal Like an Artist is the first book I read in this list. It’s a short little book with adorable illustrations. Not only does it tell you to stop worrying so much about creating an original art (after all, nothing is truly original), but how to stop overthinking and actually get started in becoming an artist.

It’s a very short with easy to follow rules. They are as such:

  1. Steal Like an Artist
  2. Don’t Wait Until you Know Who You Are to Get Started
  3. Write the Book you Want to Read
  4. Use Your Hands
  5. Side Projects and Hobbies are Important
  6. The Secret: Do Good Work and Share it With People.
  7. Geography is No Longer Our Master
  8. Be Nice (The World is a Small Town)
  9. Be Boring
  10. Creativity is Subtraction

My favorite of these rules (after the first one, obviously) is rule 3- which translates to Paint the Kind of Art You Want to Paint. It helped me imagine what kind of art would I like to see in the world? If I could make the world more beautiful with anything, what would it be? I then create that art.

I came to find out Kleon has written some other books as well, including a Steal Like an Artist Journal. Kleon has also written Keep Going (10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad), and Show Your Work! I’ve never read these books, but if they’re half as inspiring as Steal Like an Artist, then I’d say they’re worth looking into!

2. Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel

Protect your history, and above all, don’t let yourself be the one who destroys it.

I actually came across this book in a bookstore for cheap while living in Italy studying art conservation.

The thing about it that struck me the most was one of the terrifying second chapter. It was written through a perspective of a man seeking what I wanted most, to beautify through art, his beloved place he called home:

“As a young man, he had dreamed of being an artist and an architect… He had wandered in the wilderness for a decade, almost destitute and virtually living on the streets. But his true destiny had finally revealed itself. He was not destined to create, but to remake. To purge, and then rebuild…”

Robert M. Edsel pg 15

Reading that chapter filled me great rage and discomfort. This man and I shared this vision for our respective homes, but this…monster… was also responsible for the slaughter of many of my ancestors.

If you haven’t guessed by now.

That man was Hitler.

The great adventure of seeing the Monuments Men team up and recover the art Hitler kidnapped was exciting, but it was over shadowed by that second chapter. Like a foreboding warning. Whispering, “When creating and protecting art, Beware. Do not be driven by hate. Beauty, history, and legacy will not be obtained by the blood of your enemies.”

Troubled, I brought up that chapter during a lecture from one of the Superintendents of Florence. She insisted that Hitler simply wanted to obtain the art to elevate his own power- nothing else.

I don’t accept that. It’s too… simplistic. And it doesn’t take into account that evil man was also human, and if any of us underwent the same life experiences he did, it would be likely we would have turned out just as cruel and vile.

It felt like watching Peter Pan with your child, who asks you, terrified, if there was a chance he could grow up to be like Captain Hook, you simply brush it off and say, “Of course not, Timmy. He’s bad. You’re good.”

It was an interesting choice to see the second chapter was written through Hitler’s eyes. In that moment, he wasn’t a monster, he was human. A human filled with inspiration, dreams of art, dreams to rebuild and a strong sense of vengeance for people he felt he needed to blame for everything going wrong.

I took this as a warning to watch out. There’s a monster in all of us. If we don’t pay attention to history, or ourselves and our own hate and resentment, we will become something inhuman and truly evil.

3. Glittering Images by Camille Paglia

After attending university and getting my art history degree, I discovered Camille Paglia (only to find out my mother discovered and admired her first, so in a sense I consider her almost a grandmother to me). She is a woman who has a passion for art and history at a level that I can’t even imagine- and the strength, boldness, and conviction to defend art. Her very words can tear your soul to ribbons and make you rethink everything you once believed. My passion for art as a tool of free expression and strength in the face of criticism and banality is heavily influenced by her.

The reason why I recommend Glittering Images is because it’s also a relatively short, quick, and easy book to read to get started into art history as well as Paglia’s sharp wit in general. The book was written specifically for the homeschool mother demographic to teach their children art history, the very art history they probably wouldn’t get in school.

Not only that, but because Paglia herself is such a strong woman who lives and breathes out of a hot, burning passion for art, strong sense of character and honesty, and is not afraid to speak out against the petty, spoiled, mutilated version of what is and isn’t acceptable art, she actually encouraged me to look at several forms of art of which I previously disdained (more out of rebellion than my own actual thoughts) with an open mind. Least of which, her beautiful analysis of the Mustafar fight scene from Star Wars episode III, a film that I just didn’t like, and yet,

The Mustafar duel, which took months of rehearsal, with fencing and saber drills conducted by word master Nick Gillard, was executed by Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor at lightning speed. It is virtuosic dance theater, a taut pas de duex between battling brothers, convulsed by attraction and repulsion. Their thrusts, parries, and slashes are like passages of aggressive speech. It is one of the most passionate scenes ever filmed between two men, with McGregor close to weeping.

Camille Paglia

She showed this, and even the performance art of the 1960’s and 70’s that I previously disdained in a new light that peaked my curiosity in a way other than, “If you don’t get it/like it, you’re just dumb and don’t understand” like how it was taught in university.

Glittering Images is not just an art history survey book. It’s a work of poetry.

4. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Don’t take things so seriously, love your critics and enemies, or at least love the art you love more than you hate them.

For those of you who might not know, Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a former Atheist who converted to Catholicism. Historian, Philosopher, and Theologian, He has written dozens of books and poems and is beloved by both Christians and Atheists alike.

Orthodoxy is the sequel to his book, Heretics, where he critiques by playfully poking at the the popular agnostics and atheist philosophers of his time of his time such. Including, but not limited to H.G. Wells, George More, and James McNeill Whistler.

If I were to put the sum of his critiques in one sentence, it would be,

Naturally, after the book was published, his critics were not happy. They, quite understandably, demanded that Gilbert explain himself. It was probably even more frustrating that he critiqued them very much like a court jester: not hostile, just gently nudging that there might be some holes in their serious beliefs, and now everyone in the room is giggling.

It would have been better if he responded like a stern, angry preacher, sure the wrath of God would fall on the heads of these godless heathens, that way they could feel martyred and justified in their discoveries. Not Gilbert. No. Gilbert, treating them like a five year old boy would talk to his big brothers, simply asked them to stop being such sticks in the mud, to take a break from bragging to everyone about how smart they are, and just come outside and play. It’s sunny out and Mom just made lemonade.

Alright, they said, He explained their philosophies, but what about his? Gilbert, seemingly believing he was being challenged to a duel, picked up his pen and with much delight, responded:

“No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne. I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all the other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it.”

G.K. Chesterton: Collected Works (Orthodoxy), pg 214

As little seriously as he took his brothers, this silly man takes himself the least seriously of all.

While Chesterton specializes in theology and not so much as art, his wit, humor, and glowing sense of benevolence probably was the thing that shaped my art philosophy in the most important way. His almost jester-like response to his critics

When you’re passionate anything, In Chesterton’s case, religion, and in mine (and most likely yours too) art, you’re going to face critics or encounter people who are just… wrong.

Now, I’m not talking about legit criticisms, where people offer feedback that if taken seriously, could be used as an opportunity to improve your art. I’m talking about bitter, nasty people who insult your work because they just get a kick out of making you feel bad.

Should you get angry at them? Insult them back?

No.

You should instead treat them like they’re stick-in-the mud older sibling who thinks they’re so much better and smarter than you and need to show it. You should respond to their insults with a sense of humor.

5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Yes, I have an affiliate link above, but since Meditations is in the public domain, here is a link to the free pdf if you would like to download it!

As an artist, it’s easy to get swept up and emotionally invested in things. It’s easy to compare yourself to others or think you’ll be great if you could achieve X level of skill, or make X amount of money or what have you. I found that many artists, myself included, tend to get very emotional especially when it comes to their art. I know for a fact there is a sense of hopelessness I feel knowing that the thing I’m most passionate about, and the most skilled at, doesn’t exactly put bread on the table as easily as getting an office job.

But, there is a strong wisdom in stopping, looking at the present situation around you, no matter how terrible, and realize that’s the only moment you truly live in. Might as well figure out how to enjoy it with dignity and meaning

Marcus Aurelius is one of the greatest philosophers known to mankind. Both he and his meditations on the philosophy of Stoicism have withstood the test of time on such an impressive level. People usually think “Stoicism” and imagine an emotionally repressed man who just does not care and is very good at suppressing his emotions. Not so.

One of the key tenants about this book is being happy. Particularly, finding happiness in your current situation. It’s very difficult, but the truth is, you can’t change the past, you can’t always predict the future, it’s just best to this one thing: Live in the moment. Bad moments will pass, and the good moments are worth stopping and being grateful for.

I downloaded the PDF to Meditations two months ago and have made a habit of writing a journal about it every day while analyzing each little section of the book and how it can be useful in my own life. Meditations helps put the insecurities and hopelessness I feel about my art in perspective. Since then, I found that I’m more willing to accept things as they are rather than getting angry about things in the world that I can’t control, I can focus better on the things I can,

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The Notre Dame Fire: Trying to Keep a Stoic Perspective

Hey all.

I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to post about the Notre Dame fire. I didn’t think I had anything of value to add, and I’m personally disgusted by people who want to turn catastrophic events into ways to essentially boost their own internet careers, but after mulling it over and following my rule to stay away from social media for at least 24 hours when a catastrophe, I learned a couple of things I think are worth sharing.

The general consensus is that the fire is not caused by arson, that it was an accident. Newsweek reported last month that churches all over France have been vandalized, so naturally, there are quite a few articles saying that we can’t just rule out arson for Notre Dame as well.

For now, I’m willing to believe it was just an accident, if new evidence comes up later that this was an attack, then of course I’ll believe that- but either way, it doesn’t really matter how it happened and spinning conspiracy theories won’t solve anything.

The Notre Dame Fire

I Wanted it to be Someone’s Fault

When I first heard of the fire, I was shocked, sad, and angry. The craziest thing was that I wanted the fire to have been caused by someone- that way it felt like there was someone I could direct all this anger at- especially if they meant to do it maliciously- I just wanted someone to blame.

Before you start calling me a psychopath, think about this for a second. How many times in the past couple of years did something bad happen and you wanted the person to be caught- and receive a just- or even more than just punishment? Most people seem to have that mindset in some form or another- from the death threats that went to the kid who accidentally started all those forest fires in Northern Oregon to Kathy Griffin calling for the names of the Covington Catholic kids a few months back- and the hundreds of people who responded in kind.

I’m not excusing this behavior, in fact I think it’s abhorrent how riled up people can get and target individual people making themselves more malicious and psychotic than the accused themselves.

It just scared me knowing how much in that moment- if that horrible tragedy happened- it better damn well have been caused by someone.

For this reason, I’m relieved that it’s just an accident- the last thing we need is to become animals and start descending on someone- and also frustratingly watching people try to defend their actions if they happened to belong to an ideology they agree with- causing even more division and chaos.

Despair… or Acceptance?

So, after that whirlwind of rage- other interesting thoughts occured.

Some background: I’ve always been a very emotional person, which attracted me to the philosophy of Stoicism- especially Marcus Aurelius, and I’m currently working an office job that causes a lot of anxiety for me- to alleviate this, I started keeping a daily journal where I write about my feelings, then I take a segment from Marcus Auerelius’ Meditations, analyze it, and write about how it pertains to my life.

So, after I had my initial shock and allowed my brain to go to that dark place, I realized: “There’s nothing I can do about it. Notre Dame is all the way across the world. I have to focus on what I’m doing right now, which is working and being the best office worker I can be.” Normally I have to work really hard to calm myself down, but these thoughts just surfaced without much effort- so I think the journal is helping.

Heck, when my husband and I pulled into the driveway at home after work, he looked at me and said, “I’m sorry dear.” He said it with the same sympathy you would give someone who’s family member was dying or in intensive care and you’re not sure if they’ll ever be the same again.

I thought right then and there that would be the point where I lost it- where I would start crying. I felt tears coming up, but instead all I said was, “There’s nothing we can do about it now. Let’s go inside and make dinner.”

Again, I did bury or bottle my feelings deep down, I just thought about what I can do at the present moment and what I can’t. The stuff I can’t do would not be fixed by getting upset or emotional.

The Positives

So, this tragedy happened. Getting angry or sad won’t make it un-happen. So what are some positive things?

  1. I believe it brought more attention to the other church vandalizations, it might actually wake people up and realize, “Oh crap! Our history and culture is being destroyed right under our noses!” I’m optimistic that people will care more about that now that we practically felt like we lost Notre Dame. I personally felt like I didn’t know the extent of it until the fire happened. It sucks that it took a major fire like that to bring awareness, but hopefully this can be
  2. No body was hurt or killed.
  3. A lot of the art and relics that were inside the cathedral are fine. In fact, since Notre Dame was under restoration, those things were already removed. The Crown of Thorns and the many statues that would have been inside are okay. Now- the fire was caused from the scaffolding because of said restoration, but again, trying to stay positive.
  4. It unified people. From what I have been seeing on social media- the loss and grief brought people together. Christians and Atheists alike came together in this time of grief over their mutual culture.
  5. At least it is repairable. Thankfully Notre Dame is mostly made of stone- sadly, the spire may probably be lost forever (but you never know, maybe they can save that too!), but at least it’s not bulldozed like the many Assyrian monuments in 2015.

Finally, where do I sign up?

After I gave myself 24 hours to grieve and sleep, my anger turned into… determination. I couldn’t do anything while the fire was happening- but now I’ve been thinking what can I do? Is there someplace legitimate I can donate to? (In times like this you have to be careful, so many awful awful people will start fundraising campaigns only to turn around and steal the money). Maybe they’ll take volunteer conservators who don’t have a masters degree, but quite a bit of experience? I don’t know if I honestly can up and leave and go to Europe again, but I’m willing to have my mind changed.

When a piece of culture endures destruction, it’s a tragedy that robs future generations of their past. We can’t be complacent and let our culture be destroyed, but when it happens, it’s more important than ever to come together and do our small part to prevent our beauty, history, and legacy to slip away.

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No, I’m Not Carrying the Weight of the World (It Just Feels That Way Sometimes)

mark
I don’t have time to draw something, so here’s a sculpture of my good friend, Mark.

This isn’t really art related… well… unless you count philosophy.

I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’m completely burnt out. I’m trying to take a step back and evaluate my life as it’s been for the past year (which hasn’t been very long). My energy is completely shot. I don’t think I’ve made a video for the past couple of weeks now. I’m still planning on doing Rome Stories, but I’m starting to think maybe it’s best to put the social media on a hiatus until I get my energy back again.

The biggest stressors: school, work, and social life. All these things are feeding into each other and making things worse.

First of all, there’s school. I just got my logic midterm back and I really didn’t do well. The teacher said he’s going to calculate a curve at the end of the term, but you know there’s always that one asshole who got a perfect score that makes it invalid. It’s not just this one class either. To be honest, I really enjoyed it, but I’m just not good at it. This is my last term before graduation, and I’m just burnt out. I’ve been driving myself so hard and now that it’s the last term, even though I’m taking fewer credits than before, I have to fight with myself to sit down and do work. There’s the big change that comes after spending so many years in college, and that in and of itself is really scary. I’m at least fortunate enough to know where I’m going from here, but, then again, leaving the country isn’t exactly a cakewalk either.

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of having a project hanging over every week that I need to force myself to work on, I’m tired of my braindead classmates, I’m tired of teachers who are more concerned with pushing with a political agenda rather than encouraging different thoughts and viewpoints… you know… discussion, and I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut even here to an extent for fear of being scrutinized or graded unfairly for daring to have a different opinion (I’m just happy when the election happened, I wasn’t taking any on campus-classes, that’s not a safe place to be anymore for anyone). I’m just praying to God it’ll be over soon and I pass. That’s it. I don’t even care about getting all A’s anymore, I just want it to be over.

Work has not been all that kind to me either. I work a retail job, and I know no one really likes working retail, but for some reason, I HATE working there. I’ve never hated it there before. I used to like my job. No matter how bad things got, I always thought “It could be worse, I could be not employed,” and that would be enough to cheer me up again.

I left a department I really liked to grow and develop in the business. That’s probably the reason my attitude’s changed so drastically as well. Before, I liked working there, and felt like I had an attainable goal, but ever since I found my calling. It’s like there’s nothing there for me anymore. I’ve stopped caring but I don’t want to. I’m not going to be there much longer anyway, but until I finally have to leave, I want to be a good worker and do my best.

The customers have been getting worse. I even though about this. Is it me? Is my attitude making me project them this way? At least that I could control. Ooooooooh no. My coworkers have noticed it too. I come home every day feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. My muscles have all been hurting (which has also made it really hard to sleep), and having been dealing with rude, demanding, and downright horrible people makes me come home at the end of the day feeling exhausted. I want to paint, but have no energy to. Malcom in the Middle is on Netflix now, that’s been a welcome distraction.

And that feeds into my social life. I haven’t really hung out with any of my friends in months. Because of work, I just haven’t really wanted to see anybody either. Anybody except my boyfriend, but with the trip to Florence coming up, if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t know what the future of that relationship is going to look like. The isolation feeds into everything else. This is also why for the first time since high school I feel the need to blog about my problems.

I’ve really been trying to stay positive about everything. Which is why the teachings of Marcus Aurelius have been really appealing.

Heh. This quote was on Reddit this morning:

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

Despite everything I just said. I know at the end of the day, the only thing I can really control is myself. While it’s tempting to scoff at the power of positive thinking, that’s really the only thing one can do in these situations. Sure, I can’t change a lot of things that are happening in my life, but I think I could be handling them a little differently. I think I’m going to try this:

School: So, I got a bad grade on my midterm. Up until relatively recently, I always tested poorly, and still managed to pass every class I’ve ever taken. I’m hopefully going to meet my teacher for office hours tomorrow and every afternoon I’m available for the next four weeks and hopefully I’ll understand the material better. Hopefully I’ll ace my final after this, but I won’t bet money on it.

Work: Well, I can’t do anything about the customers. But it’s really stupid that I’m allowing my life to be ruined by these assholes. As shitty as work’s been, they passed a policy that says that we are no longer allowed to “clopen” (close then immediately open the next day) This gives me the opportunity to get into a better sleep schedule. I’m also going back to gym this week now that people who tried to make working out their New Years resolution have hopefully given up by now. Getting back my Amazonian figure would do wonders for my self esteem as well as get the endorphins going giving me energy to do work and the other things I’d like to do.

Social life: That’s easy. Make some calls and go hang out with people. I really think going to Paint Nites and other social gatherings would do me some good as well.

 

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Your argument is invalid (Logic is hard)

vulcan
Logic is HAAAAAAAAARD!!!

So, it’s only been a couple weeks into the term, and already my logic class is starting to open my eyes. And always in ways that I like.

I remember looking back on a lot of political groups I followed on Facebook and such and remembering someone with an opposing viewpoint comment by saying… eh, sorry for strawman-ing a bit, but they essentially said,

“People don’t have basic human rights if eating meat is outlawed. That’s logic.”

No, that’s not logic, that’s your opinion. You can very well survive without eating meat, there are plenty of examples of healthy people who don’t have meat, and lots of alternatives to getting protein other than meat. etc. etc. I’ve seen a lot of comments where people try to pass feelings for logic, and it’s really annoying because generally if you try to say your own values are “logic” and everyone who disagrees with you is illogical, you’re shutting them down and not understanding their side, and if you don’t understand their side, then you can’t make intelligent counterarguments and hopefully change their mind.

I’m particularly passionate about this because it seems like every time I was in an art class and politics came up, it was basically the worst thing ever. In my experience, people who had more artistic brains tend to not be naturally good at making logical arguments (myself included). So, such discussions would generally be people getting emotional and anyone having an opposing viewpoint (like I don’t believe Marxism is good for art because look what happened to the Avante-Garde artists after the Tsar and his ilk were overthrown) got ridiculed, shut down, and a lot of hurt feelings were passed around on both sides. Nobody got a broader viewpoint, nobody understood anyone better, and everyone just got pissed off.

This is part of the reason why I was inspired to take logic. With the University’s values of art being more based around how art needs a “political message,” a topic I disagree with more than agree with (isn’t that propaganda?), I wanted to be able to use all the facts I know and put them together coherently into a solid argument. Now that I’ve done quite a bit of reading on logic, I learned the hard way that it’s actually pretty difficult.

Here’s what I mean:

“All birds have feathers, all robins have feathers, therefore, all robins are birds.”

robin
Example: Robin with feathers. Not a bird.

Now, we know for a fact just in our daily experiences that robins are birds, so they must have feathers, but if you look at the sentence by itself, there is NOTHING apart from the conclusion that implies robins are birds. We just know that birds have feathers and robins have feathers. There is an implication that there are robins that may not be birds.  Just that robins have feathers. But it can be a little difficult upon first hearing this sentence  to break your own experience and way of thinking.

Conclusion? This argument is INVALID. The conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Now, once the rules of logic click, it’s a lot of fun. It’s basically a whole bunch of puzzles. I’m really sad that logic isn’t a requirement to get a degree, and with as much use it has in the real world, it really should be.

Now, I’m seeing invalid arguments EVERYWHERE all over the internet. It used to be that I would see a bunch of facts from biased sources, but now I also see that facts don’t string together coherently, and the fact that this is just the stuff I learned from week 1 of BASIC formal logic. That’s pretty scary. 😦

 

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Post-holiday Blues/Upsides of Working Retail

Hey, friendlies!

Blah. That’s just how I feel is blah. This past weekend was absolutely insane at work. It’s this kind of weird thing with retail that we’re all well prepared for the rush before the holidays, but AFTER the holidays, it’s just mayhem. I didn’t change my school schedule for work, and while that may have caused me to miss out on some money, the knots in my muscles are glad I did that. Yesterday, I had it completely off, and I slept in until noon and I didn’t get out of my pajamas all day. I did get started on some artwork though!

20170103_145639
“Sea Scapes” Oil on Calcium

 

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My first painted rose that I’m actually pleased with. ^_^

Come to think of it, I may have been a little sick too.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons

Now that I’ve had some time to recharge. I want to talk about working a “crappy” job like retail a bit. I’ve worked at the same place for several years while going to school. With graduation just around the corner, the increase in irate customers (like, there actually is an increase in irate customers, I thought at first maybe it was just my perception of them after working there for so long, but my managers actually said there was an increase in irate customers), and especially the holiday season really taking a beating out of me, I’ve found myself really not being satisfied at work lately. I used to love it. Heck, even the idea of having employment was enough to keep me going. But lately… that feeling is just not there.

Sometimes I really just want to go home and do art, but I’ve had no energy to. Usually, I would’ve uploaded a couple of YouTube videos by now, but I’ve barely started on any this week.

There were times here and there where I felt like I didn’t care if I got fired, worst case scenario, I just apply for a couple of new jobs every day and have some more time to work on artwork.

And now, for my much deserved slap in the face to come to my senses!

Here’s the thing though. If I allow myself to sink farther and farther into this way of thinking, it’s not going to be good. In fact, it’s really bad.

I’ve had my fair share of meeting people looking for work who didn’t apply to work at say, Starbucks or retail because “it’s beneath them.” I mean, sure, if you’ve applied for said job, and they turn you away because you’re overqualified, then this way of thinking makes perfect sense! But if you’re not even going to apply, or worse yet, you’re in this job and you’re thinking, “Oh, I’m above this,” then I just have to tell you (and by you, I mean myself included) that if you’re really above this job, you would already have a better job.

I thought of a nice list of working retail, at least, until I reach my dream of becoming a full time artist and art conservator.

  1. The hours. Retail for me has been great while going to school. Since it’s not a typical 9-5 job, I can put in my availability that I need Tuesday-Thursday off to go to classes, internships, and that kind of thing.
  2. My coworkers. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really great people. Especially during the holiday season, knowing my friends at work were going through the same exhaustion and we were all working together has made the ordeal so much easier.
  3. The exercise. As a salesperson, I have to be on my feet and running around helping customers, cleaning the department, and keeping up with everything. I have been able to go to the gym lately, but the holiday season has more or less helped me stay fir through it.
  4. Discounts. ‘Nuff said.
  5. Everything that happens at work, STAYS at work. From what I’ve gathered, several jobs have issues where you have to bring home paperwork, have phone meetings at home, and let’s not forget if you’re a teacher and have to grade papers every moment you have off. You don’t have that in retail. You do your work, you clock out, you go home, and don’t have to worry about it until you go back the next day.

The particular store I work for also has great health, dental, and generous time off.

So, is retail a crappy job? Yes. Sometimes. But if I was really “above” the job I’m at, I would already be working a better job. Now, that being said, after graduation, I will be working harder to find a better job, hopefully, in the graphic design department of the place I work for, but most preferably assisting in the art conservation field. But we’ll see.

Until then, I’m going to work at my retail job, and I’m going to do the best I can!

 

 

Funny Stuff

I Feel Bad for Philosophy Majors

philosophy

I was sitting in the computer lab at school looking at my transcript to marvel at how much closer I was to graduation. Turns out, it was lucky that I did because I thought I was only five credits away. In actuality, I was NINE away, and FIVE of them needed to be in art history. :O Oops.

I needed to take another online class because otherwise, I wasn’t going to have time to work, internships, and work and take classes at the art school.

I knew I needed to take organic chemistry for the eventual MA in art conservation I planned to take… oh darn, only O. Chem II was being offered this term…

My brain then wondered off about this past election, and how there seemed to be so much hatred and bigotry that rose out of it, particularly how everyone wanted to scream their opinions fueled by pure rage and anyone who disagreed with them were just selfish, lazy, entitled, evil (list goes on)… a lot of people were clearly ignoring facts, only hearing what they wanted to, and based everything they said and believed on emotion rather than log-

…LOGIC!

With glee, I found an online Philosophy: Formal Logic course and signed right up, thanking my lucky stars that it wasn’t filled up (though, I was a little surprised that it wasn’t considering how late it’s been since registration started).

Since I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy class for my brain (not because I’m dumb, but my brain is better at art rather than anything math-related), I ordered the textbook right away and started to read and study so that I wouldn’t be going in for Winter term completely lost.

I can’t believe I was just about to graduate without taking any courses in philosophy…

I don’t exactly remember how I originally thought this, but for a long time, I had this idea in my head that I should stay as far away from philosophy as I possibly could because anyone who goes into philosophy is an arrogant, self-righteous jerk who get’s punished for their hubris by working as a barista their whole lives .

For all you people going into philosophy, I am truly sorry for thinking this, and I hope you can forgive this art history major’s closed-mindedness. T_T

Now, while a philosophy major may not be the most lucrative of degrees, and as much as I think it wouldn’t exactly be worth going into debt over, I really wish that philosophy was given much more credit than it is now.

One of the first things that I think helped change judgement on philosophy was that it came up in a conversation about how the types of people who do well in the video game development industry are people who’ve studied computer science, math, or philosophy.

Wait. Philosophy?

Yes, because at the very heart of philosophy, the very foundation, is classical logic.

I never really thought of logic as being in the same category as philosophy. I always thought it was more of a math thing, and philosophy was just a bunch ideas of pretentious ideologies that may or may not have any basis in reality. As much as I want to blame the education system for the few times it did come up  and was executed poorly, I know that if I had any sense, and just took two seconds to learn ANYTHING about philosophy, I probably would have fell in love with it.

So, here’s a little bit of background about me: I’m generally an emotional creature. It’s very difficult for me to think logically unless I’m in peak physical condition. I’m sure many of you guys feel this way too.

Thankfully, I was raised by someone and even have a younger sibling that just think logically just naturally. I really admire those of you who can.

Some of you can take anything, for example, a post on the internet, and have the rational capacity to not only fact-check it, but think of so many different ways why this post either makes sense or doesn’t make sense just by looking at inconsistencies and patterns. You don’t question it because you don’t want to believe it, you question it because you want to get to the absolute truth.

I’m really grateful to have had a mother who valued thinking over emoting, because I think my personality would have made it very difficult for me to function otherwise. As someone who’s emotional, I do find myself getting anxious, upset, and paranoid over stupid things outside my control. It was really nice to be raised by someone who encouraged me to just take a step back and think:

Is there anything I can do about this?

If yes, then do it. If no, then there’s no point in worrying about it: the reason why you’re anxious is because you’re trying to avoid worrying about something you SHOULD worry about, or you’re just sleepy/hungry.

This kind of thinking is the very basis of Stoicism. It’s a philosophy that doesn’t have to do with how you feel about how the world should work, but what you can (or can’t) do personally about your situations, and it’s very much grounded in logic.

So, my friendlies, this is why I’m excited to be taking logic next term.

Logic isn’t simply just another fact you have to learn to be “educated,” but it’s a ground basis of how to think rather than just what to think. This is skill that I think, especially with everything going on right now, that everybody should learn.

I’m really enjoying my textbook so far too: Classical Logic and its Rabbit Holes by Nelson P. Lande. The writing style is sophisticated, but humorous like something a mad genius would write, and it even has a flip-book in the corners of the pages!

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