– – – STICKY POST – – –
Those suffering from chronic, debilitating illness and/or terminal conditions understand how isolating that can be, even when they are lucky enough to have (healthy) friends or family around them. Ironically, many who are blessed with not looking as sick as we really are, may tend to increase that isolation as a result of being weary of having to explain to well-meaning (but reproving) inquirers that just because “So and So” was able to work full-time and not miss a single social event while she went through Chemo doesn’t mean those of us confined to bed for years on end are either “milking it” for sympathy or given in to depression. I am among those, both cursed and blessed, stubborn as hell and determined to survive. So what’s any of that got to do with a blog ostensibly about icons?
While my body has failed me and left me too weak to even sit up longer than 20 or so minutes at a time, much less take part in the active type of life I had enjoyed six years ago, I know how important it is to keep one’s mind active and one’s attitude positive. For me, having a laptop computer that I use even when lying flat on my back, has been a God-send and a broadband connection to the internet made it indispensable. It’s been my lifeline to the world I knew and introduced me to scores of people, ideas and subjects that I could never have known . While I was creative in general and had a decent enough level of skill in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) to make a good living at it before I got sick, since I didn’t know how to paint, draw or sculpt, I hadn’t considered myself an artist – nor had I thought I was capable of becoming an artist. At the same time, being an artist was always one of those impossible dreams in the back of my mind that I didn’t have the courage to seriously attempt. That’s where the twisted-type of “luxury” of feeling I had nothing left to lose came in and gave me a new sense of freedom to experiment and learn new skills without having to worry about deadlines or win the approval of clients. I started out with creating icons for two simple reasons: 1. I was bored by the standard icons on my Mac; and 2. Compared to designing and drafting an entire set of construction plans for a Dental practice (which I no longer have the physical stamina or mental concentration to do) creating artwork optimally viewed at 128×128 pixels wasn’t so intimidating.
So am I an artist now? I don’t know who makes such determinations. I still don’t know how to paint or draw with a pencil or sculpt in stone and I’m certainly not pretentious enough to consider my work superior to those who’ve had years of formal training or apprenticeships and even more years of professional experience. But I believe that what I create IS art and I know that others have found it to be pleasing enough to say ‘Thank You’ and that some even found it useful enough to pay generously for the right to use it in their software, brochures, or on their own websites. Most important of all though is that the process of researching and creating my artwork and having the ability to share it with others as a contributing member of society, despite my physical confinement, has been a major reason in how I’ve managed to beat the odds so far, which is why I refer to my collective creations as “The ART of survival”.