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Friday, January 23, 2009

Can You See The Real Me?

Roger Daltrey

I love my wife. Holy crap, do I love her.

Today at lunch she helped me feel okay about exploring my insecurities as an artist. I've never totally gotten it. Since I was in art classes from the age of 6 people have complimented my work. I kept feeling like it was merely skill, a learned talent. I've basically gotten adept at copying what I see. I feel somewhat like a glorified copier. Nothing special.

So I've never really gotten why people respond the way they do to my art. I know I'm good at it, but what I'm good at isn't quite clear to me. That's why I am so bad at talking about the art of my art, about where it comes from, what I'm trying to say. I feel like a guy with a clever idea who's good at executing.

I've always left what people get from it up to them, like I'm almost not involved. This isn't a conscious choice. It's how I am. It's why I've gotten so excited about the mindshift from self-promotion to promoting my art. What it can mean for people is what I'm interested in. Me, not so much.

Throughout my life, for whatever reason, I've been a perfectionist, holding myself to a standard I'm sure is higher than other people's for me. While I'm painting is the time my brain is the quietest, leaving me alone. My self-imposed expectations dissipate and my much-practiced hand-eye coordination takes over. It's why I paint.

Is that what is coming through in the pieces? What is?

You won't hurt my feelings with any answer because I don't know how I feel about it in the first place. No expectations or judgements to fail in comparison. So please let me know.


Roger Daltrey 01/23/09


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Lets see if I can say this in a way that it will come out how I am thinking it:

As you know, I own one of your pieces. When I look at it I feel good. Its not a drawing of Bruce Springsteen's face on a record. You are in the painting, Bruce is in the painting, the music is in it, other fans are in it - and I am in it.

Your art is special because of your passion for the appreciation that we (whoever buys your art) have for the artist you paint.

Your talent is amazing - but its much more than talent. Part of you is in there with the paint making it personal.

d.edlen said...

Barbara, thanks for that. The way you say my passion for your appreciation of the music comes through means a lot. A lot.

d.edlen said...

"Personally, I was drawn into your paintings from across the room. They had [have] such a strong presence. I could almost hear Morrison yelling in my ear. The combination of the dramatic black and white with your talent for evoking the soul of the artist portrayed is really powerful. I have seen many paintings/drawings of artists but have rarely experienced one that actually moved me like your work. People who copy very well are a dime a dozen but what you have is rare. Thank you for your continued efforts to make people think as well as see the potential in us all for greatness."

Thanks Rodney. Heartfelt. I really appreciate it.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Oh good, I think it came across the way I meant it :)

CoCreatr said...

The response of people to your art, Daniel, tells me it talks to them. Trying to define art can be an exercise in futility - long before the Internet made art more accessible, one definition started to make sense to me. "Art is the quality of communication." Dug it up afresh at

M said...

I totally get it (at least I think so). I feel somewhat similarly about art, at least the part where you feel it is just how you are and not something you've developed necessarily.

That is called talent, I believe. It is almost as if you sit there with pencil paint, etc. and something comes through you and reproduces an images or creates an image on paper. In the end you ask yourself how did this come out looking like this. There may be conscious thought and technique but there is a large aspect that seems to come through you rather than from you. At least that's how I experience it.

I think all talent is that way, but we develop it with practice and we can also apply and enhance it by using our creativity, feelings, opinions, exploration, education, and the like.

I say this following comment with no offense intended at all but just to share my experience in case it may relate to yours. Could maybe some of the feelings you describe having have anything to do with what you called "copying" images rather than putting together original compositions or straying more from source images?

Your passion, skill, and talent all come through to the viewer, no doubt about it. I don't think there's any question of that. But for your own artistic needs could it be that you require something more from the process of creation?

I spent a lot of time doing portraits from photos and sometimes life (still do) but I found I really enjoyed myself when I focused less on creating an exact likeness and I let myself be free and experiment and stray from the source or put together various images to create something entirely new.

It still feels like something coming through me but some of they why's, how's, and what for's of art making are answered for me when I feel I've really "created" vs. when I feel I just sort of recreated the source image but in a slightly different way.

It's a bit hard for me to explain and I don't suggest that you share my experience at all or that your work needs any change. It doesn't. I just wanted to try to explain my experience in relation to what I interpreted from your post. If it doesn't relate please simply ignore.

Also: " It's why I've gotten so excited about the mindshift from self-promotion to promoting my art." My thoughts exactly after encountering your blog, twitter, and other online presence! I think I even twittered you to sort of say as much.

Your example finally gave me something to focus on online (when I get back to redeveloping more of an online presence) because I am not at all nterested in an online focus on myself at this time. Art is the perfect answer. Great post again. Thanks for sharing it.

M said...

I hope my comment came out as intended and not as presumptive.

I have no clue what your approach or process is. I wanted only to comment on what your post meant to me in terms of my own experience. I should probably not even tried to guess at your experience and that it might resemble mine because honestly I have no clue about it and I feel I may have inadvertently suggested that I think you don't create a compositon etc., none of which is what I believe at all.

Please ignore all that and read it only in terms of my personal experience and nothing more if possible. Thanks!

d.edlen said...

@M - Thanks for your comment! It wasn't presumptuous at all. I really really like learning about other people's stories.

I think what happened way back in school to me is probably partly responsible for my internal feelings about "copying". I don't remember details, I just remember other students commenting about my process at the time with straight forward drawing, saying I was cheating. Yeah, even typing that word stirs stuff up. I hate feeling like I've done something wrong. I feel that flush at the back of my neck and my feet get all heavy.

Anyway, even though my process mostly relied on my skill, sometimes the tools I used could've been, I felt validly, considered mechanical. Anybody could do it. That's why I shied away from acknowledging any innate talent I might have. That kind of sticks with me and I'm still partially blind to what I add to the creation of my art.

I have done more abstracted artwork in the past and hope to again as finances permit. It was satisfying to not use external references at all and just let what was inside come out. Very personal. Maybe I'm just not ready to have the public see and judge that. As I'm typing, I can feel my fear of doing so. My self-confidence is still quite fragile, my confidence in my Vinyl Art much stronger.

I'm really glad my blog has inspired your artistic focus. Maybe someday yours will inspire my return to sharing my emotions publicly in physically abstracted form.


m said...

Thanks. Go glad it didn't come across offensive. I'd love to see your personal art if you ever share it too, although this is obviously personal as well since your passion for and commitment to what you're doing is very evident!