Mar 30, 2012

Conspiracy Theory


I have a theory. Over the past 6 or 7 years that I have been showing my work on the internet, I’ve gained quite a bit of notoriety. I have acquired a massive legion of art fans. Among them, many of the best illustrators in the world. Students write to me from every art school on the planet asking for advice and wondering how I do what I do. Illustrators want to know what art supplies I’m using, how long it takes me to do stuff, what should they do to improve their work and market themselves better. They all seem to think I’m doing a lot of things right. I’m quite happy about it all. The truth is, it hasn’t turned into very much for me. Recently the magazine, TimeOut New York, contacted me to do an illustration. They needed it in like one day and at the time I was in Korea which made it impossible to accomplish. If I was home I would have done whatever it took to have done an amazing illustration for them. The unusual thing about it all is that it’s the FIRST TIME a magazine has ever contacted me to do an assignment. I thought it would have happened more but it never does. The world is so full of magazines, newspapers and other publications that you’d think I’d be on someone’s radar, but no. So here is my theory, I just may be the most failed illustrator of the past decade. I spend hours a day drawing, improving and just plain trying to come up with new and clever ideas but in the end I have nothing to show for it. Why do I keep going, you might ask? Well, the answer is simple, I just can’t stop. The truth is, when it comes to my art, I have no real goal in mind. I’m not really heading anywhere. I’m not sure what I’m trying to achieve. Maybe I’m just searching for a brick wall to run into. Once I do that, then I can take a long needed rest. Let me tell you, being a failure is not all it’s cracked up to be. Believe it or not it’s a lot of hard work. So for now, I’m going to go back to what I do best, making drawings of buildings and objects for no apparent reason whatsoever.

23 comments:

customessays.co.uk said...

Lol. It's all very cool

Bob Mrotek said...

Tommy,you are a great illustrator but you are missing the point. You are even greater as a teacher! That's what people are trying to tell you. So teach us! Everyone wants somebody to hold their hand and you are the right guy to be the number one handholder and coach of all of us wannabe illustrators. You don't need to bow to any magazine. You ARE the magazine. Now get out there and be our teacher and our fearless leader, oh gifted one :)

Monica said...

Failing to get in magazines when you are not even trying is a dumb description of failing. it is rather the magazines that have failed to find a recognize talent on their doorstep.

shebicycles said...

While I am not an illustrator, I can totally relate - your words strike a chord within me (even if it's a completely different avenue of 'obsession', or what ever this thing is that compells us to have to do what we do. That said, your work is brilliant - and I feel great joy being able to view it, know your thoughts during, after the process. For this, I thank you.

Anonymous said...

Even in the face of the uncertainty you expressed, we would be heartbroken if you stopped.

Alena said...

Tommy, you've got lots of people liking you work, a huge amount of them. Is it a real pity to you to live without drawing to magazines?

I've never dreamed of such an order, actually, since it's always needed 'yesterday', extremely fast, about the topic I'm not interested in and all of that just for 1 hour in people's minds :) Though it might be quite a good advertising, but anyway. It's far not all the same for me what to draw about...

kane said...

I'm very humbled by your words Bob.

Tin Salamunic said...

Tommy, you say you draw because you need to draw - because you cannot stop.
That's a very significant statement. If you were drawing with "just" the goal of getting work for magazines and making it as an illustrator, you would be overwhelmed with work-guaranteed!

However, you seem to draw because it is part of who you are and because drawing carries you each day. In that regard, your fans and all the e-mails you are receiving are a testament of your success.

I have worked for publications for seven years now, yet the real excitement, to me personally ,is receiving the kind of responses and the communication/connection with fellow artists you speak of.

The 'majority' of publications are overwhelmed with new artists reaching out to them daily, so it is rare that they will reach out to you. You have to reach out to them directly.

Having said that, it's important to understand how you personally define success. :) To me, to the many fans of your work....you are a success and an inspiration because of the story your art tells.

Getting work for magazines and being successful as an artist are essentially two very different things....and I assure you, you are a very, very successful artist! :)

Mr.T said...

Keep it coming Tommy, it's all about getting your illustrations in front of a lot of people.

Also I hope that you put the camera illustration in the etsy shop soon!

Anonymous said...

I wipe with magazines.
Ed Beard

Rainy said...

Happy Birthday. . . great fan drawing.

kane said...

You are a genius Ed.

Helen Ström said...

Tommy, your drawings are great and your stories too!
You could maybe get a book done with them? Sell it here on your blog! I would love to by one to support your work.
Please continue to get up in the morning and share your day with us!

Kit Gaume said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
howtooilpaint-barbn said...

My husband always tells me that if my painting ever becomes "work" where I have to paint for someone regardless, then painting wouldn't be fun anymore. You have to keep doing what you love to do.

Anns Art said...

I bet if you hit that 'brick wall' you would draw it!...the difference between you and anyone else, is that YOUR brick wall would look amazing.

kane said...

I love drawing brick walls

Ann said...

Tommy i can relate to what your saying. I have a whole studio and every wall in my house has paintings to the point where there is no where to put anymore, and i have only had a handful of commisions to do. I felt like such a failure as an artist so I stopped even going into my studio at all for a couple of months. Then I was looking at Danny Gregorys website and saw your red hook vidio. Wow how amaging it was. I watched it several times. You have inspired me tremendously. You are an amazing illustrater. Now I am making my own journals and doing journaling everyday and am having a great time. You are definately not a failure, and neither am I. We do what we do because that is who we are what we do. I now teach journaling at Hospice of Suma to greiving familys.

academia-research said...

my congratulations!

davidgoughart said...

This entry is were I live constantly-forever on the peripheries, trying to garner some kind of small recognition with the inkies, so easing my transition to being an artist for a living, as opposed to being one who does it to live.

I think its inevitable that when it feels like the establishment has turned our back on us,we are inclined to ask why do it at all, but for myself, I need only recall my earliest memories of being inspired by blank sheers of paper, and how just the act of doing it was enough.

Its also inspiring to read that those feelings are shared. Thank you for posting.

davidgoughart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martinson said...

my congratulations!

Anonymous said...

You finally found the best spot to compare and purchase Invicta Grand Diver [url=http://invicta-grand-diver.pkak.com/] Invicta Grand DiverWatches.[/url]
In our site you can compare the prices from high quality shops.
You can find full details and description of our Invicta Grand Diver Watches.
Here you'll be able to buy the right [url=http://invicta-grand-diver.pkak.com/] Invicta Grand Diver watches[/url] that fits your needs and budget, and most important, those you wish to have.