1. Star Wars
I recently watched a presentation by Doug Chiang, celebrated concept artist and art director on feature films, speaking on the much-maligned Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It is a fascinating look into how designers create planets, solar systems, machines and creatures through constant ideation, borrowing, re-purposing, and drawing—always drawing. Personally, Doug Chiang, Ralph McQuarrie and the other concept artists on Star Wars were my heroes growing up. I always wanted their job — drawing fantastic machines from your imagination all day long! What a lark! As a five-year-old, I could fill up a 64 page exercise book with drawings of cars and spaceships in about two hours. It took me until I left high school to realise that I just wasn't very good at drawing, and no matter how much I practised, I never really improved.
However it did teach me one thing, which was intuitive for me at the time, but that I often forget:
Time taken on an artwork does not correlate to the quality of an artwork.
2. Time Well Spent
The relationship of time to quality is unfair. The initial spark of an idea must be grasped and put to the fire as quickly as possible for it to stay alive. If an idea is taking too long to form, Chiang points out, it probably wasn't the greatest idea in the first place. It also likely fails to communicate to others.
Most of my favourite projects have come together quickly. That's not to say I'm not proud of longer, more difficult works. When you wrestle a project for ages, like I did with my animation of Girard's artworks, you learn a lot, all of which is valuable. However, that doesn't mean it communicates any better than an animation I did in two hours for SensiLab. One of my favourite videos is a family project I can't share with you here. It was filmed and edited completely in the space of three hours, and simply shows my brothers mucking about in a paddock searching for the perfect Christmas tree. Is it a Gesamtkunstwerk?
This isn't even an idea. This is simply what happened. I had the camera. I had the housemates. I had the roller-blades. I love where I live, and the freedom and privilege I enjoy. All too often, I take it for granted. I get so distracted wishing I had greater ability, fearing failure, trying to do everything on my own, that I don't recognise creativity for what it is. It is a joy. It is a privilege. It is meant to be shared. It is part of what we were created to do, as a reflection of a heavenly father who created so abundantly and made us in his image. This is not my greatest work, nor needing any of the analysis I've given it, but it has been a tremendous help to me to simply create something for the joy of it. So please enjoy it for what it is — my simple joy, and my love for you who are a part of my life.