That piece I did for Neil Gaiman's Calendar Tales project has led to so many fascinating conversations and comments. One of my favorites was by someone who seemed a bit put out that I submitted my work in the first place. Being a professional I should leave contests to others ... that kind of thing (actually, I'm not an illustrator but i'll leave that for now
One point that I really gave a lot of thought about was the statement that who on earth buys hundreds of miniature books to make a sculpture for just one image in the first place? Well, aside from the fact that I didn't buy anything, all those miniatures were made by hand for the piece so I guess that makes it worse LOL. The thing that I keep thinking about is ... who wouldn't do that? and not just for one special contest but for every piece of artwork that they do? Actually this wasn't even a contest, there was no "winning" it was just about taking part in a interactive art project. 20 images for each story will be selected and shown on a website made as the projects finial form. There is no prize, no money, just the thrill of having an artist whom so many respect see your work and hopefully want to include it in one of his projects. It's about making good art, not winning or beating anyone. If I thought the image of my little igloo made of books would have been better if each of those books was complete with full pages and even text...I would have tried to make them just that. Even if it would never have been seen by anyone (it's not far from the reality as it is, I made hundreds of covers of made up books, book names, cover art and text. I used pictures of my family and friends on them even tho most of those images are just buried in a pile of books. But I know they are there, and if a corner of a book or a rare cover shows, it still looks like a book and that was after all... the point. It never occurred to me who else was submitting their work, who the "competition" was, it didn't matter... why would it?
Anyway, I don't really have a point to this rant, just thinking out loud really on yet another sleepless night. I think Mr Gaiman's advice wrap up my feelings about things like this... in his commencement speech at Philadelphia's the University of the Arts this past May he said:
"When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician -- make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor -- make good art. IRS on your trail -- make good art. Cat exploded -- make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you're doing is stupid or evil or it's all been done before -- make good art." Neil Gaiman