Archives for posts with tag: Artist

When I first started this blog, I specifically wanted to write about my journey through the art market, offering insight into the state of affairs and how to navigate through what is truly a complicated and oftentimes bewildering industry, where the cream doesn’t necessarily rise to the top. Though, I’ll readily admit that my endeavor to expound on such a topic was not only ambitious, but also overly optimistic, considering how little experience I had in navigating any market on my own, then. And even now, almost six years later, I am still only beginning to make sense of how I fit into that puzzle and how I want to maneuver through it.

So, perhaps more important than my perspective (having officially changed the title of this blog from “Through My Eyes” to “Rapt”), is the fact that I simply Love what I do. It’s the only reason why I’m still in the game and still riding this crazy roller-coaster of a life; because there is nothing easy or glamorous about the hard fight, especially when so many victories are won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile (for any normal person).

That’s not to say that my efforts are wasted, but that the ultimate reward is an elusive one that only a few will ever truly secure. Many are called, it seems. But only a few are chosen. So, in this business, if your heart and mind aren’t perfectly aligned and ready to brush off disappointment (for the sake of pursuing your passion), don’t quit your day job. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life… and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Mine was always a Labor of Love, since childhood. And I’ve never compromised my vision for the sake of accolades or the easy paycheck. That might make my job a little more difficult at times. But it also makes each new triumph, along the way, much more fulfilling.

I remember my dad telling me, even before I decided to embark on my creative journey, “Always do your work as if you’re going to sign it.” And, although that might sound like the voice of perfectionism to some, it resonated with me, despite only now fully comprehending the significance of that statement, as someone living the life of an artist. Doing my work as if I’m going to sign it has not only held me accountable for my own shortcomings, without deflecting blame elsewhere, but it also creates the opportunity for all my actions to fully express who I am (beyond mere words). I don’t want to tell someone that I am this or that, or some variation. I want them to know it by the way I conduct myself, every day.

So, I still ultimately hope to chart a useful path for other artists to adopt and modify as a loose guide. But, until that accomplishment is capable of speaking for itself, there is no reason for me to assume the role of the teacher. I will continue to report on any advancements in my position (up the ladder, of course). But I’ve decided to slightly shift the direction of this blog, to simply share the enjoyment of the journey with you, and to find better ways of helping you stay inspired on yours as well. So, as of today, this blog is no longer a window into the market, “Through My Eyes”, but an expression of what I am: “Rapt”, and Ready to continue my work.

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I woke up on the floor this morning and, while staring at the ceiling, realized…

“D@mn! I’m still here!”

For more than half my life now, officially, I have slept on the floor, sacrificing basic creature comforts, like a bed and chairs, for the sake of my art; to preserve necessary space in which to meditate and work. I sometimes only feel like the hint of a person. And, the reality is… that may never change.

I moved to Austin (TX) with only my clothes, my music, and a stockpile of art supplies. And by March of this year, 2018, I was supposed to be more comfortably situated, within the market, so that I could finally upgrade my living situation, to include an actual life. But, alas… very little seems to work out as planned. And, as I’ve just renewed my lease once more, I can’t help but feel as if I’m back at square one again, despite having made significant strides in learning the business and creating new work. I just forgot to adapt along the way, assuming that whatever previous success I enjoyed would always be.

Fortunately for me, I have to count my blessings as well, and give credit where credit is due, because I have an amazing supporting cast that has kept me fed, inspired and in the game (as I continue to evaluate and improve upon my position). Otherwise, I’d either be on a monster fast (competing for the world’s hungriest artist) or headed home to mom and dad with a ready plate and a larger belt.

So, don’t worry. I could easily justify feeling disheartened or defeated. But, I’m not. Sure, I’ve been punched in the guts. And, d@mn, that hurts! But, that also just pisses me off. And the next round will be mine! You’ll see.

~ to be continued

P.S. Wanna experience the complete flashback? Check out my very first entry, from 2012, here: The Entrance Door

Silent Scream

When a creative dry-spell becomes a drought, I sometimes have to reach beyond the image to recover the fire. I sometimes have to delve into the clutter of a collective creative consciousness, into the minds of artists who inspire me, to find a flicker of my own creative light.

There, in uninhabited space, outside the boundaries of our supposed 10%, we are all relatives. And, as I navigate through clusters of coruscated thought, which appear like stars within a galaxy, it is often the whisper of a word, printed on quiet paper, that resonates. It is often a whisper… that rekindles the flame.

I hear you… You, whom I would also call myself. And I am moved.

I am an artist. And like many artists, my life remains in a constant state of flux, always transitioning from one iteration of myself to another in a meditative state that is expressed in my work. It is how I encounter this lifetime, though I could never explain what that encounter means. How could I, when Life (in general) is transient and variably perceived, always corresponding to even the most passive of interpretations as part of a shared human experience? So, as I begin to rummage through the wreckage of a scarcely-remembered past, attempting to excavate a story… My Story… I’ll readily admit that I haven’t the slightest clue where to begin (except perhaps, at my opening statement).

What I have discovered so far is that the resourcefulness I’ve enjoyed as an artist can be easily modified and incorporated into other (more neglected) areas of my personal and business life to create a complete picture (of past, present, and future). It is a strength I can build on in The Now, as long as I am actively versatile instead of purely reactive, and I am optimistic that the pieces of this  “Who is Michael Torres?” puzzle will soon fit together.

Until now, I hadn’t truly engaged in Conquering the Course (pursuing my art as a career) but have only played the game, perhaps because I’ve always just enjoyed the journey. So despite the determined will that propels me forward, I have really only trusted my instincts to pave my path, to provide opportunity, expecting that a foundation for the changes undergone await me on the other side while knowing full-well that nothing in life is guaranteed. And my instincts have served me well. But I now realize that a passive flexibility doesn’t necessarily equate to “progress” in an evolutionary sense. Adaptability alone is not enough, because the ability to adapt is only an instrument if not directed, but not the work itself, which is a more determined and purposefully coordinated commitment toward “Becoming” (whether becoming something more, or simply becoming one’s Self more clearly).

I regularly immerse myself in research and development as a way of honing and expanding my intellectual tools. But I am also inspired by the success stories of others. And I also appreciate self-help books that effectively provide benchmarks for measuring my own progress. I think it’s simply foolish to believe that any one us has all the answers. Therefore, I actively participate in the shaping of my own life, and although I may be a dreamer, seen by some as naive or unambitious (as the stigma of the artist goes)… I am living proof of that dream, not as an idea, but as a “work in progress” that speaks for itself with each new accomplishment. And I finally understand what that means (applicably) because of The Start-up of You, written by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

The Start-up of You is an insightful and practical book that is filled with navigational advice, intended to inspire and guide the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. Though the central concept alone is compelling enough to provide a birds-eye view of the landscape that is your life (your current position, your pursuit, and your destination). It’s about achieving “Permanent Beta,” which means, “to always be starting, and to forever be a work in progress” as a way of navigating through an ever changing world. It’s about recognizing and defining an already existing Self while simultaneously discovering your genuine interests, as compliments, that are capable of coexisting in a persistent stage of development (as progress/evolution requires of everyone). That means, not only pursuing what you love, but also, recognizing and building on existing “Assets”, weighing them against your “Aspirations” and core “Values”, and finally, determining the “Market Reality” (what is possible) of your ambitions.

Want more insight? Check it out: thestartupofyou.com

Although I am always learning, I’ll readily admit that I am not always actively utilizing that new-found knowledge. Though I certainly should. “Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more…” and in a state of Permanent Beta we allow ourselves to acknowledge that there is room for improvement. “It’s a mind-set that is brimming with optimism, because it celebrates the fact that we” actually “posses the power to improve.”

“Success is fragile.” But, with active participation and a willingness to rediscover yourself everyday, you can confidently count on a fruitful tomorrow, as the result of an attentive today. Even though “your aspirations shape what you do… your aspirations are themselves shaped by your actions and experiences. You remake yourself as you grow and as the world changes. Your identity doesn’t get found. It Emerges.”

That is my mission, both creatively and spiritually. And that is the mission of this blog – to finally Emerge from the depths of obscurity. It won’t always be lollipops and roses. But, oh! What a beautiful and exciting journey!

~ ’til next time!

I started planning my upcoming exhibition in 2014, knowing that countless variables (some determinable, others unknown) would ultimately decide the scope and scale of the project. Orchestration, as it pertains to a career, is a multi-layered process that requires patience and finesse. So, while I must remain wholeheartedly engaged with the business at hand (day in and day out), each consideration and effort must also remain simultaneously focused on the future. And I must say, “What a glorious view it is, amid the vastness of today and tomorrow!”

I maintain a two-year calendar, which is nothing more than a dated string of markers/occasions I use to celebrate my journey, and short term goals that keep me on track – actively LIVING my dream. And as we quickly approach the next milestone, my Fall Exhibition (2015), I thought it would be fun to offer you a rare glimpse at the chaotic final stage of preparation – when all the big decisions are made.

The date is set.

Opening Reception: November 20th

Other Details: To Be Determined

~ Stay tuned!

No matter how often it happens, I’m never prepared for the calm that – follows – the storm. I tend to feel suffocated by the inevitable creative lull and a prying self-examination that immediately commences at the close of an exhibition or conclusion of some other event. I have such high expectations for everything I do that some level of disappointment is simply unavoidable (as an afterthought). However, despite aiming for the most distant stars, I am more often than not comforted by my return to Earth, where measurable progress keeps the dream alive.

WEST was no different. Although I consciously tempered my expectations, attempting a sort of re-calibration of my mind’s eye, I finally realized just how out of touch I am with reality. (D@mn!) – lol –  I guess it just comes with the territory, being an artist. Or, perhaps the real lesson is this: that a bigger than life outlook is necessary to evolve (continuously, into something more) toward an eventual transcendence of one’s own circumstances (both actual and perceived).

~ Whatever the lesson… Only time will tell. So, for now, I’m simply ready for the next round.

Well… That was exciting!

Despite fatigue setting in, compelling me into peaceful slumber before 9:00 last night, opening weekend was everything I had hoped. I got to meet a lot of great people, including neighbors, some of whom have already invited me out for coffee or drinks. And I managed to generate sales, which, at the end of the day, is the reason why we invest time, energy, and our own cheddar to show the work. But, more important, I enjoyed the conversations that emerged, not only as a means by which to expand my capacity to translate the imagery, intentions, and happy accidents into words, but also, because of where art induced discussions tend to lead (into all facets of life experience). The Open-studio is an intimate experience that is shared, an environment that is completely conducive to establishing personal connections, unlike the typical opening at a gallery that is oftentimes inundated with sights and sounds and libations that only culminate into sensory overload. I prefer a “No Tomfoolery” approach, because I simply hate all the B.S. that only diverts from the subject at hand… art.

But I do apologize. I completely failed to photograph Sunday’s mannequin display, which will be different every day of the tour. So, once again… you’ll have to settle for a mere puzzle piece of my roadside display – which seemed to work wonders, by the way (Thanks for asking). I encountered several visitors who expressed their unexpected pleasure of discovering the studio “by chance”, completely unaware of the tour. They were innocent passers-by caught in my lure, who simply followed the mannequins to their destination… my studio.  🙂

~ Stay tuned! Next week should be even bigger.

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