When I was a little kid I had this idea that there was, in fact, a way to be a true artist. It didn’t revolve around selling out by doing specific work people asked for, or taking money for your artwork but was based on how you created the artwork itself. I had very strong beliefs that tracing was not art. That was simply being a copycat and was not allowed, as one of my rules to being a true artist. The other rules looked something like this –
Tracing is not real art, it’s copying
Art should look like what you are basing it off of
If a teacher or someone else makes a mark/edit on your drawing it is no longer yours i.e. outside editing not allowed (this includes editing programs)
Those are the ones that I can at least remember, but knowing me I’m sure there were a hundred more rules just like those. As I’ve grown up, gone to art school, sold art, created more art and am now starting a business based on art I’m learning that rules no longer apply. Sure rules like “Pay your taxes” and “the customer is always right” might still apply, but my rules to being a true artist are more limiting than freeing which defies the purpose of art, to begin with.
As I grow as an artist and learn new things like how to manipulate art, the art form that is photoshop and the art of posing I’m realizing that many of these rules I grew up thinking about still affecting my artwork today. It is those small things we tell ourselves over and over again for years and years that seem to have the most effects on us. At the Graphic Design Firm, I do marketing I’ve seen that to be an artist you have to be really good at tracing or nothing would ever get done (even if that’s tracing your own artwork). I see that as a photographer the gift of Photoshop will allow me to not only push my images to the limit but showcase the stories I desperately want to tell in new and exciting lights.
Part of these limits are ways to protect yourself. If I believe that being true to the art form means not using artificial light, I don’t have to learn the complexity of light and how to paint with it. If I believe that photoshop destroys the “true art form” then I don’t have to learn all the different ways to edit an image and spend the endless hours reworking one story. These limits are ways to protect from failure, but they also limit creativity. They inhibit the ability to tell stories. Just as you learn rules to break them, I’ve overlearned these rules and am learning to break them.
The photos from my Red Rocks Park photoshoot were the first stepping stone in breaking free from these limitations. I’ve been learning as much as I can about photoshop and how to utilize it in a way that will enhance my photos and not create distractions. I’ve also been studying light and finding new ways to use my strobes or even flashlights, headlights or candlelight. There is no limit to the creative process and setting limits only keeps you from creating greatness. While these photos might be on the far side of my style, they still feel like me, and I’m so stoked with how they turned out.