Art by Allison Smith.
"Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up."
One of my favorite lines from Batman Begins. However, there are moments where it's rather difficult to get back up, and sometimes we require that one special kick in the ass.
From each tumble, we learn a valuable lesson. A year or so ago, I had hit a personal wall that was proving too difficult to force through. Art, which is usually front and center, took a back sea--and while we've all had art blocks--that wasn't the only issue.
It began with my roommate of two years, whom had decided it was time to move else where. With such a sudden interruption, I had to find a new home and in less than 30 days.
Having also been through a bleak breakup months prior, and finding myself with no pending freelance work and a quickly dwindling bank account due to debt, my patience and options for a new home were slim. On top of that, one of my sons, Gizmo...
Remy and Gizmo
...my loyal cat of seven years, had to undergo several vet trips due to an infected bladder. With time running out, and options far exceeding my pay grade, I was forced to move into my (at the time) rather small office. I had officially hit rock-bottom.
I remember sneaking around to brush my teeth in the PM. Leaving in the AM so the manager wouldn't know I stayed the night. Surrounded by bins of my clothes, my bed, growing insecurities and towering cat litter, I would stare at a seven-foot tall statue of my character Gabriel, from LMS, as he stood proud, gun and head raised. To me, an image of never backing down.
What the hell happened to me, and how did I let myself get here?
Finding myself struck by debt due to several hospital visits for a shitty kidney that's taken residence in my body, and with Gizmo's increasing vet-bills, I didn't know what to do anymore. Usually I have a grasp on what's going on, but during those months--nothing. I had hit that block, the one where you just laugh because shit just isn't clicking.
My friends were great listeners and even better advisors, but that didn't change the fact that I still found myself sleeping in my office. I was too stubborn to go get a job in a studio, holding onto the idea of having my own company and IP. Pursuing a dream I was beginning to lose faith in.
Then, out of the blue, a message popped up on Facebook, from a lovely lady who I had been following on Instagram for her insane pencil and ink skills. We began with talks about art, film, music and what inspired us to become the artists we are today.
Art by Allison Smith.
When we agreed to meet on Halloween, the office was still my current residence. I hadn't gotten a haircut in months, or shaved and laundry was running short. She drove to see me, and regardless of looking like the stereotype internet psycho, didn't judge one bit.
We spoke for hours, and soon those hours turned into days, weeks and eventually months. We drew, watched movies, and read comics together--reinvigorating a creative-passion I hadn't had in a relationship in a long time. With this sudden kick, I had a reason to paint and create again. And because of her, I've been working on something big...
Ending this, I've been told by few to not write about my low times. That some people may consider it unprofessional to show that I've been unstable before. But I do it to show you that's not how life works. I will not sugar coat, nor give false hopes. I want to relay every experience I've met upon this road of becoming an artist, both good and bad. We're all human, made of moments that will either break or build you.
Without those moments, I wouldn't be who I am today. Many years (fingers crossed) still lie ahead, and much more is to be collected and learned. Throughout my life, I've made and will make more mistakes and can guarantee you, will fall again. But that's why you have people like Allison out there. To pick you back up, slap you around, and remind you why you came here in the first place.
When we first spoke, Allison told me she was inspired by my art in her younger years. While the feeling has always been mutual, I find myself more inspired by the woman who picked up the broken pieces, and glued me back together. That brings more confidence and strength than any paycheck or job could deliver.