Thursday, February 5, 2015

a fork in the road

I am writing this mostly as a statement to myself that I can't go back on.

I have reduced the price on many items in my shop for February and once mad old March arrives I will be permanently de-listing any hats and all the current designs of Paper dolls/cards. I love making hats and have 4 more to finish but they simply take too much time and cost rather a lot in materials to make so will have to go. The paper dolls have been around for a while now and though popular they do not really reflect me as an artist, so they too will go.

As a child I painted, drew and produced short illustrated stories.... I can't show you them because I sold them all, and not even to doting family members! I was lucky enough to be encouraged by older painters and artists I encountered. So as a child I was selling art and was always convinced that I would be a painter when I grew up. Difficult teenage years and time at an Art College that was a very bad fit for own increasing lack of confidence ripped that certainly to tatters and I painted sporadically and rarely as an adult. I am not from a well off background and knew I needed to earn the rent from day one once college was over, so upped sticks and moved to London and hawked round a folio of work I had put together over the previous few months... nothing from college survived as I had set fire to it all! A lot of paintings have gone on the bonfire since that day.

I was lucky that back in the mid-80's most of the design groups and Ad agencies were in a small patch of the West End and within a few days I had my first freelance job (the client had to explain to me what an invoice was!). I produced a cover for the UK video release of "Murder in the Rue Morgue" starring George C Scott and I like to think that my cover design was only as awful as the movie! I have rarely stopped since then, there have been ups and downs of course and many, many part time jobs to supplement my income during the lean times. The move to working on Mac was both a huge leap forward and a big step back. Clients now have crazy expectations of what you can produce in next to no time and deadlines are always for "tomorrow's meeting" or the terrifying ASAP! It has become a lot more stressful in the last few years at a time when my own length of tooth means I am slowing down. I need my personal work to be a relaxing, enjoyable hobby almost, and if it sells great, but that won't be the first consideration.

So, my big leap of faith is that I am only going to produce dolls/art/whatever in one consistant style from now on. Because of my 'commercial' background my personal work is all over the place stylistically because I am forever having to shift gear to accommodate what the client needs. That is a very useful skill but has kind of gotten in the way of finding MY own aesthetic. I feel that during the last few months of experimenting I am close to a new change of direction. So from the end of march the only things that go in the etsy shop will reflect that new look.

The canvases I have begun dabbling with (yes PAINTING AGAIN) and my dolls are already undergoing a change. Hopefully they will be ready to face the world shortly. Even the dolls I am working on for the workshops have that same tone... I am giving up on doll hats but am going to try my hand at BJD clothing and I guess the odd hat may be included in outfits, but no longer sold alone. I want that clothing to reflect the new ideas I have too. It's just something I need to try. Wish me luck :o)

5 comments:

C said...


Oh, I can relate to a lot of what you say here - the pressure to meet deadlines, the feeling that sometimes commercial requirements get in the way of one's own aesthetic - yes, I understand. It's fascinating to read more of your back-story here too (and I'm going to be searching out that video sleeve now of course...)

Look forward to seeing more from your future projects and yes, I DO wish you luck!

FairiesNest said...

It's never easy to ditch the tried and true for a new way forward but it can be extremely liberating.Good luck to you!

Yve said...

Thank you so much, both C's ;o)

With illustration, C, you are usually in demand because of your unique style of drawing, so it's a lot closer to being a fine artist in that respect. A designer who also draws is a contortionist, always changing. Back in those early days I had a style of my own, I drew sporadically for Look In, Just 17, Smash Hits and other "Youf" mags in my own style... Reader's Digest can you believe??? So much work gone under the bridge and I don't even have copies of more than a handful of images.

Hee hee, that Rue Morgue video is probably sat gathering dust in a few charity shops and will one day leap out to haunt me!

Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

I stumbled upon your wonderful doll Tituba online and found your blog, to my glee and enjoyment. You are overflowing with creative energy and your work is gorgeous. I hope in following your plans you find happiness and (shall I shout?) a market for your dolls and art. I started selling really primitive dolls in 2001 and have since settled into Santas and vintage style Halloween banners. I have developed a unique look for my Santas which have so far defied copycats. Much much luck to you, my friend and truly, do that which you love. My Etsy shop is JangoJB. Ann C.

Yve said...

Thank you Ann, I will have to come and find your Santas :o)