April 17, 2014

Tattoo Designs and Cheap Pens

I'm nearly through the third week of my first term back to school, and everyday I'm downright exhausted.

Between essay-extensive classes with excessive homework overload, lugging a back-breaking amount of textbooks to and from the bus stop twice a day, cramming freelance writing into my lunch break and coming home with just enough time to shower and tackle the chores that have been piling up since lunch, it's no wonder my daily 45 minute commute to and back from school with the public transportation system is the most relaxation I get in a single week day.

I should probably be concerned by this, but to be honest, I'm not.

On my journey home from the great exertion that was college classes this past Wednesday, a young man probably just a few years older than myself sat by me on the overly crowded student express bus.

Out of necessity of bus etiquette, he decided to strike up a polite conversation.
The conversation itself was decent. Not exceptional, but decent.

I wasn't in the most fond of moods, but politely responded and replied with sincerity, although my mind was mostly elsewhere. There was a point in our conversation where my attention was suddenly taken prisoner however, and I found myself listening raptly as he told me the sort of short story I knew would stick with me long after I got off that cramped, damp city bus.

I can't recall for the life of me where he was at (the fellow seemed to travel quite a bit), but he was in a big city visiting family when he encountered an apparently homeless woman sitting alongside the streets, drawing massive sketches with cheap bic ink pens. The woman was a drug addict of some sort--heroine, I believe he said, although I didn't ask how he knew-- and he asked her how much it would cost for him to purchase one of her drawings. He thought of it a win-win situation--it was a kind way for him to give her money without hurting her pride, as well as a way for him to pick up an extraordinarily impressive piece of art with an intriguing origin story.

She looked at him and replied quite easily, "$250," at which he was flabbergasted. The artwork was worth it, but it seemed rich for a woman in her state to be demanding such a high price when you'd asssume she should be grateful for any money at all. "Do you sell a lot of these?" He asked disbelievingly.

 "All the time," she breezily replied.

"Because heroine is expensive," he made  point to inform me. She had to charge that much to pay for her addiction of choice.

The point to take away from this was that this particular woman spent no money on advertising, or sharing examples of her work on social media sites or prostituting her artistic skills for back-breaking commissions. She just sat around drawing pictures of what she wanted to draw. People bought her works when they saw them-- even with the hefty price tag attached-- because they were breathtaking works of art. The sort of works that left your jaw dropped and speechless in stunned amazement.

Maybe she was an art school dropout.

All kidding aside, this story got me to thinking about the quality of my work.

There was no way that this young man could have understood the scope of my skills from our brief conversation, but I felt a pang of jealousy towards this woman's unprecedented "success". It reminded me of the depth of skill level I'm actually capable of and how ashamed I've felt time and time again when I've completed an artwork that was sub-par in my own mind.

I've received praise so often for works I was never particularly proud of that I've sort of stopped striving to reach that level of perfection. Or imperfection, rather. It can't quite be perfection I suppose, because it is attainable. Either way, I've continuously allowed myself to accept works of art as being "complete" simply because I was tired of working on them, didn't have time to do with them what I wanted, or had a severe lack of patience.

If possible, this is something I hope to begin to rectify with future artworks. I want to put in the effort that's equal to the idea behind the piece.

The below isn't necessarily one of those pieces, but I quite like it just the same.

I call this tribal-inspired peacock tattoo illustration "Gemini." It too was drawn completely with cheap ink pens, but weeks before I ever heard the story about the woman with a heroine addiction who was making bank on daily basis from an un-named stranger on the city bus. There was literally no practice lines, no sketching before I began inking. It simply took form on the page as I went along.

I'm interested in hearing what suggestions some of you may have as to what I should attempt to draw next in this particular style. Another animal inspired design, people, specific video game characters, a place...The sky is the limit, really. And of course, I may just end up drawing whatever it is that comes to mind next time my pen and paper meet.

If you do have a suggestion, write it in the comments section, or tweet at me at the below profile. Make sure to give me a name or way to reference you if I do decide to draw inspiration from your suggestion.

So as always, thanks for reading and being a part of this stage in my life and artistic career.
I can't wait to get started on whatever projects tomorrow has in store for me.

-Krystal Dawn

Facebook: Krystal Dawn
Twitter: KrystalDawnArt
Google+: Krystal Dawn
DeviantART: kekei94


Kristian Madere said...

Maybe the addict's blessed imperfection is out of a sort of necessity. At any rate I do enjoy Gemini, especially getting lost in the center designs. Oddly enough I don't feel the need to tilt my head to balance the rotation it has. Nothing really constructive though, sorry

Krystal Dawn said...

Don't worry--constructive comments aren't required. On another note, I'm quite glad you enjoyed my piece.

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