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Art is Fun! or A Raw Deal for Artists

Someone said to me today, not for the first time, that art is fun.   The question being, why are artists stressed out and so serious about life and work?

My answer is kind of complicated.   Art is enriching and enjoyable.  Writing stories, playing music and creating drawings and paintings and video games are all creative works of art, I’m just not sure I would characterize any of them as fun.

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Little Cubicles: Resistance is Futile!

Just  a quick post today to show that it is never too soon to start getting your children used to life in a cubicle.   Relent already, resistance is futile as they say!  Why encourage spontaneous creative play when you can get your kids used to the handcuffs…er… I mean the future cubicle that they will work out of, for the rest of their lives?

I first saw this posting on Gizmodo.com, and think it is very apropos to the subject of life outside the box, telecommuting and how we shape our family of the future through some subtle constructs, and of course the not so subtle constructs like Barbie dolls and Little Tyke cubicles.

I can think of a dozen things to get your children that might allow them to really explore and spend a fraction of the money.

Some suggestions.

  • A pottery wheel, and clay.  For god sake let them make a mess.
  • Wax and carving tools.  My son loves this and learns real skills while having a blast and of course making a mess.
  • Clay, clay and more clay.  Mess not included.
  • Paint and paper
  • Brushes
  • An RC helicopter.  Fly it with dad, or mom, or siblings.  When you graduate from disposable ones, go for the hobby grade ones from BananaHobby.com
  • A real telescope.  The cost of a high grade telescope will be lower than the cubicle for kids and will allow you to track stars with computer controls and take photos.
  • A real microscope
  • A bike
  • karate lessons
  • yadda yadda… you get the idea.

Although I work at home in my studio I have space in my studio for my son to explore whether with drawing, painting or jewelry making.   In some ways my setup resembles an old style guild where a son gets to learn his father’s craft, but I don’t force him to do anything.  I supply the tools and he supplies the endless creativity.

If you’re thinking that seeing “toys” like this online bothers me then yes it does and I’ll leave it at that for tonight.

*****

Daev Finn is an artist, illustrator, writer, visual effects artist, and video game developer, whose work can best be seen as Aslan in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects.

Daev lives in Colorado with his two sons Everest and Asher, and his wife Sheryl Paul, author of The Conscious Bride, and The Conscious Bride’s Wedding Planner.

http://www.daevfinnstudio.com http://www.sherylpaul.wordpress.com

Hunt & Gather

I work on my business creating visual effects and video games typically around 12 hours a daily, there are days I work longer and days that are shorter, but like today some of my hunting and gathering is done with my son Asher on my back.  Asher turned one year old this week, and is right around 22 lbs of weight on me while I work.  His naps have finally started to happen in his bed, but when they are on my back or more frequently my wife Sheryl’s, it is a 22 lbs that we carry around for hours at a time.

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Discovering Ardi : Delivered outside the Box

It’s a year since I worked on Discovering Ardi for the Discovery channel, and wanted to recap some of that experience today, as I received email from the film-maker (Rod Paul of Primary Pictures) who made the documentary saying that it has gotten great reviews and the website has had tens of millions of hits since it aired at the end of the summer in 2009.

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/ardipithecus/ardipithecus.html

The main thrust again of what I’m writing is that I delivered this project not by driving into Denver daily (which would have greatly impacted my productivity) but did much of the work here from my studio in Longmont, as my wife was about to give birth to our second son Asher, which occurred right in the middle of one of the most intense schedules I’ve had in many years.

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Working Outside The Box

It was not my vision growing up to work in an office building, the dreaded cubicle, that box that I’m speaking out against.

My vision has always been one of working from an art studio and not being confined by both the description of my job, or the size of the box that a company has fit me into for days that range from 8 to 16 hours easily in the field of Visual Effects.  Yet, I did this for many years before I reached the point where I had had enough and wanted out of the box, the office building, and Los Angeles in general.

About four or five years ago I started to talk about telecommuting and telling managers at different companies, that I couldn’t afford to buy a home in Los Angeles, and that if I bought one in the suburbs of Los Angeles I would see my family even less than I was seeing them already.   I wrote a report that was twenty pages long touting the obvious ecological benefits of telecommuting and outlining what kind of techniques and technology I would help build in order to make telecommuting a reliable methodology for artists. I offered to help build the infrastructure myself because indeed, to pay for the expensive software and high end systems myself was still far less expensive than trying to delude myself that I would be able to buy a home in Los Angeles.   Other employees came up to me curious and encouraging, but management did not agree with this vision at all.

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A Cube with a View

Having arrived in Colorado my wife and I with our son in tow were looking around the house and property trying to decide where I would set up a studio.  The vision of taking the stable and converting it into a studio was pretty strong.    It’s just twenty feet from the creek which wanders on the northern border of our property.  I imagined windows cut out and being able to see the creek while I worked.

The stable is a little further from the house, maybe forty or fifty feet.   Far enough away that when I’m working late I wouldn’t disturb anyone.    So  I called an engineer to come and check it out.  We knew it had to get cleared by him before we could do anything.   After measuring and looking it over he told me that to set up a studio inside I’d have to raise the whole stable two feet to get it above the flood plain.   The stable is sixty three feet in length and roughly 18 feet wide so this started to feel like a bad start to such a lovely vision.    What did he think it would cost to raise the stable?   He told me that it could probably be done for $60,000 dollars.   That there may be other things I could do if I wanted to get around the flood plain rules but in the end just finishing the stable would cost a lot as well.

So I decided to do what I often do in a situation like this.  I back burner it.   It doesn’t mean I give up on the vision of having my studio in the stable, it would be too much money for a fledgling business.   Instead I went to our big two car garage, plan B.

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