The “Titan” of Future Past


Kotaku: “Here’s What Blizzards Titan Actually Was”Blizzard

“They changed the code-name after that reboot [in 2013],” said that person. “So the project that was ‘Titan’ did die last year.” But, supposedly, at least a portion of that team remains intact, leading some to speculate that the core project has been muted but not actually abandoned. What we could actually be looking at is a game that will become a direct competitor to Destiny by staying under the radar until it can directly address the shortcomings of one of the hottest MMO launches this decade. Though it’s more likely to be something smaller.

Let’s do this thing.

Aaahhhhh. The old blog posts are all up again. It’s a shame they’re listed on the same day, but what’s one to do? That’s what happens when you don’t have a backup of your site and only manually save things. Rockin it old school is not always the best solution. Either way, I’m excited and ready to start posting again. Here I come, world! /opens arms, tosses hat like Mary Tyler Moore

To Art School or Not to Art School?

Neither attending art school nor intentionally staying away has any bearing on your success, whether we’re talking about technical/craft or art world/economic. The people who go to art school and are driven, devoted, passionate, and willful are going to be successful as artists proper (as opposed to, for instance, as commercial artists). The exact same thing applies to those of us who didn’t or who refuse to go to art school. The only difference here is that the chances of the autodidact getting a commercial gig are supremely small; that usually requires a BFA. The point is that neither provides you a greater benefit.

I got a gallery show when I was still working on my very first series. I’d only been painting for a couple months. I don’t have an immense inherent talent. The reason I got into the show was because I was painting 80+ hours a week and I acted responsibly and professionally toward the gallery director and in my submission. With that level of dedication I had amassed more hours of painting in one month than most students would in two semesters of painting classes. I could also focus on my own work because I didn’t have to produce for any classes.

There are, however, three differences that I see between the two options. The first is the technical training and critique. In art school you get the guidance that can give you the platform to go your own way. You don’t necessarily get stuck with what they’ve taught you, but if you’re responsible toward yourself and your art then you’re going to pick and choose the application of what you’ve learned. If you haven’t learned something you can’t exactly choose to accept it or reject it. Critique is also very important as you learn very quickly what your mistakes are and how to address them.

This leads to the second difference which is knowing your failures. Being an autodidact I have to make all my own mistakes, recognize that there are mistakes and what they are, and figure out on my own how to resolve them. This doesn’t necessarily get easier as you progress, either. I take a great deal of pride in my own progress, however, as I’m the only one responsible for it. In art school you are permitted to learn from the mistakes of other students and from the failures that professors can help you pre-empt by saying things like, “Now make sure you don’t do ‘x’, because every time you will get result ‘y’ which makes your drawing/painting/whatever look like shit for ‘z’ reason.” We autodidacts don’t get that kind of benefit unless we stumble on it in a book, and even then I’m never entirely sure that they’re correct because I don’t get to see that one kid in class make the exact same mistake the professor warned us about.

The third difference is community. While sites like BlueCanvas, Obsessed Artist, and Deviant Art are great, they don’t replace the sense of a physical art community. There are only a few professional artists that I know in my town because I don’t have a really clear way to find them. Galleries here happen to be scant, so perhaps that is more an issue with my location than others. Through art school you would have a wealth of people over the years from whom to choose to surround yourself and engage outside of class. Talking about aesthetics, art theory and philosophy, experiments, new techniques, some art you saw around the corner, etc., with other artists in a face-to-face dialogue has been an important aspect of artistic practice since its birth. As awesome as posting on forums and blogs actually is, people with a physical community can do this AND the other thing. Art school inherently offers this while many, if not most, of the autodidacts struggle and pine for it. I do think that some people are better left alone, and that there’s no way for us to know whether our art would be better or worse if we talked about it in a verbal dialogue with all its flux and flow that online communities just can’t do. We’re social creatures and 99% of us require social interaction to feel right and accepted, especially when it comes to our interests and even moreso when it comes to our passions. That’s the entire reason we created blogs and forums in the first place, to increase the amount of communication we can have with other people in the world because of that inherent need.

Go to art school, or don’t. The outcome of your art is only determined by your own values and virtues, not by whether or not you have a degree.

André Hägertz: Bringing You Back to a Place You’ve Never Been

Aiming for more, by André Hägertz

“Aiming for more”
André Hägertz
acrylic on canvas
89cm x 100cm

André Hägertz, a fellow artist and friend of mine based in Stockholm, Sweden, is doing something that demands attention. His rich, deceptively fluid paintings are full of the kind of momentous insights that can only be derived from the “beginner’s mind,” that particular attitude that is devoid of arbitrary restriction. At the same time as his style and content give us this impression, he utilizes a clearly refined technical skill that, instead of conflicting, executes his intentions and vibrantly brings his concepts to fruition on the canvas. A lot of the pieces displayed on his website have a characteristics from a variety of the styles that I find most inspiring. But he synthesizes them into something dramatic and fresh that doesn’t look quite like anything I’ve ever seen before.

Picasso said that he strove his whole life to be able to paint like a child. Hägertz seems to bring that wild freedom that children have with their creativity, yet he merges it with the abstract surrealism that is the perfect partner and atmosphere for that type of creative action. His work lets the mind swim in that frictionless space, which most of us have moved away from; in some this art reinvigorates that residual creative freedom that persists deep inside us. Hägertz’s paintings are less nostalgic, less reminiscent of childhood itself, but are instead more generative of that same kind of aesthetic climate. It’s both common and relatively easy to make nostalgic art but quite difficult to do what Hägertz is doing. Yet, he pulls it off so smoothly. This is an artist to watch and witness. Believe me when I tell you, he’s doing us all a great favor with his art.

Visit André Hägertz’s website for more of his exceptional work.

The Horse Project by André Hägertz for the Bruno Galleria

“The Horse Project”
André Hägertz
for the Bruno Galleria

Why not

I often have this preconception that in order to make a blog post I must have a fully formed idea ready to present. This keeps me from posting with any kind of regularity. On a weekly, and often daily, basis I have ideas I’d like to share with my world. Inevitably, these thoughts are in their infancy. This kind of setup almost demands that I have some kind of authority on subjects; I somehow shouldn’t present an idea unless it’s relatively definitive and complete. This defeats the purpose of dialogue, though. (Good dialectic requires a fluidity of thought that negates a conclusive authority.) So how am I to structure my thinking about blog posts? As an open forum, of course. That’s the nature of the beast, and rightfully so. I’m a self-taught artist, and an autodidact in most of the areas in which I have any amount of knowledge. In addition to the skills associated with artistry itself, I am also responsible for my own education in art theory, history, and philosophy. I’ve certainly come a long way, but not nearly far enough.


black and white construction craneI’m in the process of completely reworking the site. Check back often for new work and musings, as well as increasingly attractive reformatting. I also humbly ask your forgiveness for any errors you might find during this process; feel free to point them out to me and I’ll fix ’em with a quickness. (Photo borrowed from Alpha Construction, OC.)