Heading to Graphic Design Class at 2am

It's 2am and I'm not the only one in my online classroom right now attempting to finish a graphic design assignment that's due in 6 hours.

The time commitment required to earn my graphic design degree online has been a bit of a shock to my 9-5 routine. But after putting in my 8 hours as a customer support rep - I leave that building each day pretty inspired to log on for the latest and greatest from my Art Institute Online course. Obviously I have higher hopes for myself career-wise.

Tonight it's commercial art - a couple of final tweaks to an advertising design campaign for a no-name brand of gum. My idea was to make the packaging design sort of like Orbit mixed with origami... or is it 'oragummy'? (must be really late for jokes like those).

The design turned out really nice and I've been getting some great feedback from my classmates through our online class forum. Each of us has a personal space where we can post our graphic design assignments and get critiques from other students before we actually turn it in for a grade. The communication is actually more helpful this way compared to a traditional classroom where people are typically too shy to comment on someone else's work honestly.

More to come...

Being a Graphic Designer in the New Media Age

The advancement of desktop publishing and the internet has changed the primary job functions of many artists, especially graphic designers. Traditionally thought of as print designers, graphic designers are now finding themselves in a career that borders on web design and multimedia artistry. While many graphic designers are welcoming new technology and embracing its accessibility, others are intent on keeping separate the traditions of hand illustrating and typesetting.

There is no doubt that New Media has allowed graphic designers to expand upon their abilities, making their jobs more exciting and less time-consuming. Different typestyles can be tested in a matter of minutes, without damage to the product itself. A client’s last minute decision to change the look or feel of their product is no longer a costly and drawn-out process. With the invention and explosion of the internet, weblogs, and community forums, graphic designers have more access than ever to inspiration and ideas for their creations.

While many graphic design careers and educational programs are morphing into "digital" or "multimedia" design, there remain many opportunities for the traditionalist. Once the concept of design elements and principles are learned, it is up to the graphic designer to decide what role, if any, technology will place in their career.

My Life in Day Job Hell

Part One: Into the abyss

Recently, I've been thinking about day jobs. You know, those boring life-sucking gigs we as artists have to endure while we pursue our dreams. Of course, this got me thinking about my own experiences in day job hell over the years and, unfortunately, how I've yet to escape. Now I have to say, going back through the mists of time trying to recall all of these jobs has been no easy task(I've had a lot of them, as you'll soon read), but that really wasn't the hardest part. One of the most difficult parts of this exercise was accepting that I've done all of these things, but have nothing tangible to show for it. No real estate or investments or cool cars, absolutely nothing of monetary value for all my toil and trouble. All I have are memories and lots and lots of real life experience in the trenches(literally). But even this wasn't as painful as coming to the realization that these gigs have somehow defined my life despite my best attempts to think otherwise. See, I've always had this silly perception of being more, or better, than what I've come from or done and, therefore, not defined by my own experiences. I was a so-called "artiste" in denial. Well, the illusion I've created for myself has vanished into oblivion. I feel like a fucking alcoholic who's suddenly had a moment of clarity. How cliche, but there it is. And I must say, clarity sucks.

Yes, I've come to the painful realization that I am exactly what I've come from and experienced. My art, my craft, and my life in day job hell are inextricably linked. Bound together in ways I never contemplated before until just now. I think this is what they call in psychology, "growth". I call it, "being scared shitless with the terrifying reality of reality". Whatever it is, I now know that I cannot separate my real self from my perceived self. This may seem obvious to some, but to an artist it's not. At least not to me. The illusion and denial kept me going during the toughest times in day job hell and, without it, I wouldn't have survived. Now I'm staring into the abyss of my own hell, trying to find a catharsis in the midst of this horrifying revelation. Care to step off with me?

To be continued...

Wondering when the dry spell will end

My creative flame is flickering lately and it concerns me -- mostly because it's something I've always been able to push through. There's always been the workaholic in me that finds another way to keep the adrenalin flowing so my production never slows.

It's just that it's been about 12 months now that I've been giving all of my soul to this creative project that I was sure would have seen financial success about 4 months ago. But it has done nothing other than tease me with some potential interest that I busted my balls to get and now a silent plateau is laughing at me.

As an artist, it seems that good fortune rarely just presents itself. We have to make our own opportunities, run the show and then force some sort of reaction out of people.

When you're a newbie in the working artist world, this cycle is expected and the "fresh meat" spirit of it all makes it sort of fun. A few years down the line, the 'performance' of creating, marketing and wishing for a taste of artistic success wears on the creative soul. The artwork always gets better, but the routine of promotion and rejection stays the same.

Have I painted myself into a corner? Have my expectations for success gotten the best of me? When will this dry spell end?

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