Where the fuck did the time go?
And other stupid fucking questions.
Many many years ago, when I was but a young, rather husky lad with a British accent and a perfectly groomed, helmet-sized bouffant haircut that made aaallll the ladies say, “oh my god… is that little fat girl ok?”, I was a very different kind of artist.
Back before everyone was vaping Whiteclaws while not driving their self-driving Teslas, or sliding gluten-free memes into bae’s DMs, or making twerking Tik-Tok videos to Lizzo songs; back when we had to wait a week for every next episode, back when everything smelled like teen spirit and JNCO Jeans were in waaaayy too many peoples’ weekly rotations (don-lie, you know who you are). Back when every last penny you earned that summer mowing lawns and raking leaves was immediately used to pay for late fees at fucking Blockbuster (may it burn forever in Hell)… Back then, it would be years, before I’d be able to create any of the pseudo-political, tongue-in-cheek, surrealist, photo-manipulated digital nonsense I’m internationally renowned for today. ?
No, back then I drew and I colored with pencils. No computer, no tablet, no girlfriend but who cares whatever shut up. It was the 90s and all I had was my Prismacolor colored-pencils and my Guns and Roses playing on the JVC boombox in the background. I would make these poster-size color pencil portraits, each one taking me f’ing months, and it was those bad boys that ultimately started my career in graphic design.
Technically speaking, I am a millennial… I was born in 1982. I was born the year Thriller changed up your mix-tape game forever, and Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist from Carnegie Mellon University, used a colon, a dash, and a close parenthesis to create Smiley, the first-ever emoticon, giving future generations a nonverbal means of expressing their emotions in email and text form. 🙂 How the hell else were you supposed to write your coworkers about how happy it made you when E.T. finally phoned home and his squad came to pick his broke-ass up?
In the timeline of my generation, The Millen Gen if you will (and you don’t have to, actually you probably shouldn’t), those of us born in 1982 are some of the very first models off the lot. If the Millennial Generation is the mammalian species on the planet Earth, us 82s would be those earliest of the semi-gilled quadrupeds that ever crawled out of the prehistoric muck and thought to themselves, “you know what, fuck that swampy bullshit. I think I’ll stay top-side, keep breathing this dope-ass oxygen and evolve to be furrier than Robin Williams’ arms #rip!” And much like those first (and surprisingly vulgar) human progenitors, we 82s also had a difficult time trying to survive in this new world. We paved the way for the subsequent 80’s and 90’s Millennials to follow, we took the hits for the rest of our brood, we cautiously crawled through an America itself just then learning how to adapt and survive in a new, dangerous and technologically diverse atmosphere.
Where one-day people would have Siri and Google, we had TI-83 graphing calculators and Trapper Keepers filled with illegible calculus notes and soon to be broken plastic rulers. Where one-day people would be using smartphones to post pictures to their social media feeds of every goddamn meal they ate #yum, and then call their significants while on a catamaran in the middle of the fucking Indian ocean, we were trying to have a conversation with our crushes on one of those ridiculous transparent plastic phones, inevitably hearing the unmistakable sound of another line being picked up somewhere else in the house, requiring us to scream at the top of our lungs, “MAAAA! HANG UP THE PHONE!! I’M ON THE OTHER LINE!! GOHHHD”
Jesus that was long-winded, sorry.
The point is, it was long ago, in a galaxy far far away, where my life in art began. I started drawing when I was about 5 and only ever used colored pencils or ink in my craft. I never liked paints, as they were just too messy and never had the patience with any other mediums for the same reason. I continued to draw and color for about 13ish years. It was comic book stuff when I was younger, and then later definitely going through that awkward anime/manga/hot chicks with guns phase most boys my age went through. But then eventually, I devoted almost all my time to these large-scale, photorealist portraits. Each one took an absurd amount of time, but there was just something so satisfying about creating life-like detail, on blank sheets of paper, one minuscule pencil stroke at a time.
In high school, my art teacher Mr. Davis told me one day “look, Jash… you’re good at this pencil stuff, and that’s great or whatever, but we’re entering a very different time in design and art. The future artists that will be able to afford things like trips to the fucking Indian Ocean on fucking catamarans (I’m paraphrasing of course) are going to be those that find ways of adapting to these inevitable changes in technology and transfer their natural talents in the studio, to digital platforms instead.
The man was not wrong. Next to an ice-cold gin and tonic #yum on one of my many, many catamarans, digital art is one of the most freeing, fun and exciting things I have in life. At the end of the day though, art is art, and maybe one day I’ll get back to my roots and draw the next HOPE poster or something. But until then, look for more of my pseudo-political, surrealist, digital nonsense coming to a social media feed near you.
TLDR? If not, thanks for reading,
Much love, Ex-husky British lad with a bouffant haircut