The aged one
Nothing for me, was more disturbing than starting a new job and meeting someone everyone hates, then realising I am pretty much looking at a me of the future. He was smart, didn't push his boundaries, fast to churn, limitless, has no regard for authority but respects those he likes. He had a quick eye for work of his own sorts, broke rules where they were loosely kept and adhered to rules where he had been grilled in the years gone by. He wouldn't do overtime but would steal minute where he could through mini breaks and tardiness. He would lie shamelessly and ruthlessly. Play dumb and play the system. Alarmingly though. Most wouldn't understand his distaste for small talk but it's with those he deems unstimulating. Like a lot of creatives he drank. But his drinking was solo.l and problematic. As was his smoking. His hygiene or lack there of unwelcoming. Something went wrong with this man. It went bad and it might never come good. How can a man in the industry this long? One who displays competitive qualities, survival savvy? Engagement interest or motivation, someone who is smart with drive and networks, someone so much so like me in many approaches to things... be so far gone? So dead-end. So small-world and so desperately sad. I learn his loneliness was unrelenting and still is. His ability to connect with others is there but for others to reach and connect with him? It's not there. And in this? We are most dangerously alike. I am glad my world isn't small. If my support network of people was the same as 14 year old me? I'd be totally royally next-level unwell by now. If you're a designer and you're at that level of alone? Don't quit. Don't keep your world small. Go further, try other avenues and find people who truely get you. For some of us this is so ridiculously hard. For me this is just ridiculous. I would say I have connect with two people who get me or do well sharif headspace with me in the last two years. It's far and few but it doesn't happen at all when I don't try. But giving up isn't going to save my or your designer-intricate souls. And in saying that- don't burn yourself out trying to stop others giving up. There is one particularly sad and true meme I think of here and it's not just relevant to those suffering depression but those who are trying so hard to bring others spirits up, whilst constantly never finding their own far from sea level.
Don't worry. You will find your kind. Just don't give up. Not now and not ever. It will only bring sadness or bitterness to the world around you.
The anxious teen creative
To me? This is almost every girl. Every teenage girl experiences insecurities to some degree. The lack of a good healthy communicative role model can be damaging. A colleague speaks often of his daughter who is showing talent and resourcefulness designing to a unique blended style of anime and reality using inferior free or low budget software. Her talents will absolutely develop as she's chosen the hard things to capture- faces, emotions, expression. Truely difficult things to sketch with no hand drawing skills for her to speak of. This was curious to say the least. So my colleague was at a loss as to why she wouldn't share some of her work. He suspected anxiety about being judged as she has been diagnosed with anxiety and treated for it for a few years now. He was right in a way. But he didn't quite understand why this was the case. For me it wasn't anxiety really, it was more complex than that. I grew up drawing faces and people as key subjects. I remember a stack of discs gifted to me as a child that turned out to be early editions of Corel Draw. Odd for a little girl to continually create choose human subjects isn't it? Anyway. The experience of drawing is personal. It's a completely internalised image or mood, or sometimes it's a "see what comes out" spontaneous experience. It's a personal perspective, a take, a long moment extended in to hours or days or weeks where one task is underway. This takes focus and patience and some level of control moreso over the image being produced than the method taken or tools used. Holding on to the initially intended outcome of a project is so hard and without regular intense practice it doesn't get easier either. However, Taking your imagination through a creative production process is in a way meditative. Having others intervene with their own feedback and interpretation casts a different perspective on the work the artist is delivering. Its unwanted, unless it is asked for it is unrequited. Metaphorically it's like throwing a spanner in the works. Like being interrupted by a fire drill during an exam. It's disruptive, unwelcome and an intrusion to your good intentions. But what is most upsetting is its offputting as you attempt to continue your work. The experience is tainted. Not that it was blissful to start with or that this is always the case but the image (for me it's insubstantial and often next-step only fragments but I'm attempting to word this more comprehensively) is no longer sharp or clear as you felt it would be inside your mind. And because this experience is completely internalised and then externalised it's easy to have someone steer you or distract you from the road you were taking because suddenly they are part of this journey and picking at where it is at or isn't at, why it is or is not. They are making assessments which are annoyingly intrusive. They are waving a road map in your eyes and it's hard to see past it to the end line. At a very junior design level, there's also the challenge of controlling your hand whether it's tool is digital or not and actualising a mental intent. It's a tedious challenge and a path of discovery. It's private, valnetable to change and honestly it's skill building. It's so common for great design to come out of emotionally, socially or otherwise challenged individuals. Whether they have anxiety, bi-polar, depression or they are prettt damn average standard human material. A creative person has got a lot going on personally and if they can deliver out the impactful things they feel in some way shape or form that results in them feeling accomplished- chances are you're (anyone or everyone) going to notice their work. They won't need credit for it either, I promise they will know when they have skilfully controlled the delivery of a personal impactful art piece. They'll be a little proud. A lot relieved. Hopefully modest since staying away from others works so well- they don't need said others to feel rewarded. When a project isn't shared at first it doesn't mean it won't be shared later on. My advice to those around creative types who seem especially irritable when you interrupt them? Give them due space for arts sake. They don't care about dinner. They don't care about chit chat. They're trying really hard at something they haven't done enough of before. Ensure feedback if you ever give any, is generalised or positively constructive and hopefully it will build their confidence to share projects more easily. Lay off the few obsessive things your teens want privacy on so they can come out of their shell accomplished and a little more skilled than they were one or two projects earlier.