Sunday, June 10, 2012

One of those days...

***July 31st, 2012 - Afterthoughts:
I considered deleting this post because it is rather depressing and pessimistic. But I decided to keep it after talking with my boyfriend. He said, "Well, it is a chronicle, isn't it?" And I realized why I wanted to post about it in the first place. I did want to share my feelings of hopelessness at that moment. Because feelings like that are very normal for a struggling artist, and for any human being! Those kinds of thoughts drift in and out of my life, at times consuming me, at times feeling as far away as a mirage. So I'm keeping the post to attest that I don't always feel positive about what I'm doing. But I keep on going anyway, and eventually come out of it.***

It started last night. The feelings of anxiety and of being totally overwhelmed by the Golden Moth project. It gave me weird dreams last night. And then I woke up to find that I had problems with the corner-rounder. The blade seems to be getting dull and it doesn't cut the way it used to. Then it all spiralled out of control as I become engulfed in negativity and hysteria. My eyelids are all pink and raw from the tears. I haven't shared much about how hard this process has been for me. I know I should just feel lucky and excited to be working on this project and the fact that it was funded through Kickstarter, but it has been DIFFICULT the whole way through. Like a birthing process, the baby just ain't popping out without a hitch. There have been setbacks and things that I should've done better, ways I should've worked faster or harder. There have been many hours where I whiled away the hours aimlessly on the internet, procrastinating and filled with anxiety because I couldn't face this project head-on. Times sitting at my drawing table with pen in hand and feeling like art is the hardest thing in the world to do. There have been screams. And there have been tears.

For some reason I just snapped this morning. I've been working on assembling the card decks for about two weeks straight. I've had lots of people come over to help, which has been a blessing and helped keep me in a good mood. But the assembly is simply tedious. When will it end? When will I ever finish? There have been little setbacks in almost every step of this process. Things I just couldn't have forseen. Things that take time to fix or figure out. I am tired from the hundreds of hours of working on this project.

I feel like it is all carving a place inside me, digging a depth of emotion and labor and questioning. The bigger question is: "Why do I make art at all? What has it brought me?" I guess you could say I'm treading into the zone of despair. I just turned 30 a few days ago. Three decades of life gone by, and here I am poor as ever and making things that 99.9999% of the population doesn't care about. For some reason, I care. I wish I was born with a head for math or computers or science. Subjects considered useful in our world and especially in our country, because the American government doesn't give a goddamn about arts or culture. Why am I toiling away at this? Why can't I just get a normal job and live a cushy life and eat out whenever I want to? Own a car and a house and go on vacations? And just do art as a hobby? Why do I feel that what I do is important in some way and actually contributes or uplifts anyone in this world?

To answer that last question - some people have told me it does. More than a handful. And to me it's the most fulfilling thing I can do with my time and my life. Because I do love it. I wanted to be an artist ever since I was old enough to draw. Also, I'm just not good at anything else. I'm hopelessly illogical and stubborn, even idiotic at times. It took me until my twenties to feel comfortable pumping gas and shopping for clothes. I have been so incredibly awkward and dreamy my entire life that I have had to work on life skills that most people were capable of in their teens. It doesn't help that I also look ten years younger than my actual age. Most people guess I am in my early twenties. Yes, I do look young physically. But the worst part is that I also act like I'm in my early twenties - wandering around with not a clue as to how I am going to make it in this world.

Sometimes I just feel like giving up. I'm not sure exactly what I'd do if I did. Right now I feel like Atreyu in The Never-Ending Story, a movie I used to love watching as a kid. I feel like I'm in the part where Atreyu is in the Swamp of Sadness. He's slogging through the mud and it's getting deeper and deeper and Artax, his beloved horse, doesn't want to go on anymore and gets swallowed up in the swamp. Atreyu keeps on going but he's getting overwhelmed by despair and mud until he thinks he can't make it anymore. And that's when Falcor the Luck Dragon swoops down and saves him.

I know I have a my boyfriend, family, friends, and even strangers who are there for me. But sometimes you just want a big, happy luck dragon to come down and take you up into the sky. You want to surrender and hold on and know that no matter what happens, things will be more than alright. That some have noticed and benefited from all the searching and wandering that you did. That you put something beautiful in the world that wasn't there before. That it was worth it.


  1. Hey Aijung, so much of what you said here I can relate to, as many can I'm sure. I wish I could offer you advice or send you a Luck Dragon (big fan of the film btw) but all I can say is that your little books I bought at a couple of Richmond Zinefests were by far some of the best, most smile-inducing little works of art I bought by far, from anyone anywhere. Perhaps you just need to take a breather, even if for a day, and step away from the project and take a long walk. I don't know. No matter what you do though, keep on making wonderful art, and get it out there in the world for others to experience. Best of luck to you!

    1. thank you, steve. even though you can't send me a luck dragon, i bet you could draw me a really good one! thanks for your encouragement. i did end up taking a breather. i think there are different reasons contributing to my anxiety which i'm going to write about it a post soon. i hope you always keep making art too!

  2. >> I wish I was born with a head for math or computers or science. Subjects considered useful in our world and especially in our country, because the American government doesn't give a goddamn about arts or culture. Why am I toiling away at this? Why can't I just get a normal job and live a cushy life and eat out whenever I want to? Own a car and a house and go on vacations? And just do art as a hobby? <<

    Dear Aijung,
    I just happened to read your recent blogpost today, and want to share my thoughts. I am all of the above - had a head for math & science and a heart for art & dance - but was never brave enough to chose arts and am not as happy as I may seem to be :-( There are days when I feel just as frustrated - that I am wasting my life doing something that does not appeal to me anymore (though my work did appeal to me for some years initially in my career) and am doing totally useless or even harmful things (who knows what the code that I wrote will be used for - it could be used for precisely guiding missiles in a war or something horrible like that..). I was brought up in a different country and personally think that America (people & government) gives more respect to arts & culture compared to my country of origin (I don't know whether I feel this way because of my exposure - maybe I have not met enough artists there, or if it is really true..). I have known people who are extremely talented and dedicated, but feel frustrated with themselves at times - so, I hope it is just a passing phase and things will be okay. I really have great admiration for you and your work and someday (hopefull soon :-) I want to be like you. Best Wishes !

    1. Hi Kiran, thanks for your perspective. you are right, frustration is normal. i thought about removing my post because it is too negative, but i think i'll keep it up because it just shows that it's all part of the process. i'm feeling better now. for some reason, i just lost my will and energy and couldn't feel positive at all.

      i'm not sure how india compares to america, but i do know that in other countries the government provides more funding to the arts. maybe america is not so bad compared to some other places, but i do know that arts education is getting cut in schools all across the country. art is usually the first thing get dropped from the budget. but i should be thankful for the opportunities i do have.

      i am glad you're taking a plunge with the art! i was really happy for you after you told me you sold your first piece. that is a great accomplishment. even though you're not as excited about your work, i think it's good that you have a steady financial basis to work from. it's hard to create art when you're stressed about money, but it all depends on what you choose to do. you might make better choices that lead to greater success. the truth is, it is a lot of trial and error (at least the way that i've gone through it). but that feeling you get when you feel that you are appreciated and that your artwork makes people feel good or see something beautiful is what makes it worth it when it gets hard.

      best wishes to you too! thanks for all your help, and i will see you soon!