I recently had a discussion with a writer friend about creative process. I know a lot of creatives who subscribe to the "draw x amount of time a day" or "write 2,000 words a day" in order to stay creative. I don't understand this philosophy.
If the whole sole purpose of creating is bringing forth something from within yourself - Dealing with a past trauma, releasing the stress of your 9-5 job, family stress or whatever the case may be - How do you force it? Furthermore, why does it have to be in any said format? Personally, I spend about half my waking hours thinking about projects, stories or ideas. On the average day, I will sketch or draw for about 20 minutes to an hour. On a good day maybe two hours. That's what works for me. Beyond that I spend my day doing graphic design at my day job and working my freelance on the side. This fills my personal creative need.
There's this ego-driven "If you don't do it at least this much a day then you're not committed" nonsense that I see being preached from almost everyone in the field, professional and non-professional alike. Now if you're making art to pay your bills, I think you have to be more of a machine about your output levels. But you can't force it if you are solely pulling from within and your motivations are more personal than financially motivated. There are things you can do - meditate, run, read or things like that to improve your free-thinking but to create these parameters of what validates your ability as an artist is so egocentric.
So, create when you feel it, be true to your own personal expectations and goals and don't get caught up in what everyone else says. It's something I struggle with daily as I travel through this life trying to figure out what role art plays in it.
A few points before I start... a preface of disclaimer, I guess.
- I am not writing this for attention. I hate attention. This terrifies me.
- I AM writing this because I feel/hope it will help me move past this. \
- This is the the hardest and most terrifying thing I have ever put out into the world.
So to begin with, I was married towards the end of 2008, on my Sister In-Law's Birthday to be exact. So the precise date, for the purposes of both reference and so my wife doesn't think I don't remember, was Saturday, November 29th, 2008. It was a wonderful day, obviously one of the best and proudest days of my life.
We always knew we wanted to have a child... so pretty much right away we got pregnant. We were a little surprised at how fast it happened and beyond excited. With Christmas right around the corner there was nothing more exciting than telling our families during the holidays that (on both sides) the first Grandchild / Niece or Nephew was on the way.
We knew it was early to share the news but the timing of the pregnancy and excitement of the holidays made for too tempting of a scenario- We decided to share the news even though we were very early in the first trimester. We told my family by phone (as at the time they were all living in Texas and us in New Jersey) and then headed to NY to spend Christmas with Angela's family.
To speed it up a bit we shared the news, tears of joy and excitement were shared, we toasted and celebrated. It was wonderful. I will never forget it.
Christmas Eve everything changed. Angela felt off and became symptomatic to the point where we knew that something was terribly wrong. She miscarried through Christmas and we were devastated. The holidays went from making great news even greater to make a crushing loss even more painful.
Our friends (the few who knew) were beyond supportive, as were both of our families. It fucked us up though...for a long time. Then we healed. Or tried to. I thought I did. Or at least lied to myself enough to be a supportive husband.
One night, in our tiny one bedroom place in Long Branch, I was trying to paint. It was probably a month or maybe a few months after the miscarriage. I was trying to paint something for a project (maybe a commission?) and it just wasn't working. I was tired, I was hurting from pent-up feelings and I felt horribly alone, despite Angela sitting on the couch mere feet from where I had my easel set up. I started streaking paint. It felt like pain. The paint literally felt painful as I painted line after line, mixing water and letting it drip down the canvas like tears.... Turning the canvas at no particular point in time for no particular reason... This continued for, I don't know, maybe 20 minutes, maybe an hour, maybe more or less... All the while Angela watched. I don't know if she understood or if she was just allowing it to happen. We never spoke. I finished, took it off of the easel and put it directly into the bedroom closet, facing the wall (always facing away from me) and there it stayed. Hidden.
Later in 2009 we got pregnant again with Dylan and all was right in our world. The pregnancy wasn't without hiccups but that happens when the fetus is humongous and super-active. On St. Patrick's Day of 2010, a baby the size of a toddler was born via C-Section into the world, smiling and healthy. He hasn't stopped smiling since and is the greatest thing I have ever been a part of and without a doubt the thing I am most proud of in my life.
Since the miscarriage the painting has stayed hidden, as mentioned previously, always facing the wall so I wouldn't see it. I knew it was there and knew what it looked like. I just couldn't look at it. I wouldn't. Angela, oddly always knew the location too. In fact this morning when I couldn't find it she knew off the bat that it was hidden in her closet facing the wall (of course). I found that odd. She always kept track of it's location. I'll have to ask why.
Then we moved. We've moved 4 times since then, to North Carolina and back and only during a move have I ever taken the painting out (to pack) and allowed myself to look at it. I am instantly mentally and emotionally back in that place and it is a crushing, numbing feeling. Then I pack it. We move, it goes into a closet facing the wall. I have imagined burning or painting over it many many times but never could. I don't know why. I wanted to, badly.
So now we are current. Now the hard part is over, I've spilled it all in hopes of some sort of inner peace with this. Hopefully most have stopped reading by now. I say that because that wasn't the hard part, in fact the details of the backstory were the easy part.
Only Angela has ever seen the painting but when I was at therapy last night I got into the story of this painting and my therapist suggested that perhaps I should share this painting.. just put it out there. The reason she suggested this is because when we were talking about my art and she asked if I have ever done a piece that I loved or hated, this piece came to mind as an answer to both questions. Never in my life have I painted a piece where I walked away feeling as if I'd spilled my insides onto the canvas in the way I did with this painting. I typically despise my finished product and often feel a lot of my work, although it has a "style" is purposely art that doesn't express who I am. I love drawing horror icons / characters, etc but it does nothing for me emotionally. Maybe it's time I dig into more original art. I don't know. Well, I do know and the answer is "yes". That's scary though... Back to the main purpose of this rambling and probably somewhat incoherent blog post. Below is the painting. Every time I look at it I cry. I have trouble crying. Not because of any macho thing, I just have trouble reaching the point of tears. This painting tears me apart every time I view it and I am giving it to you all in hopes I can move past it. I am no longer ashamed of it nor the pain associated with it. I no longer need what it provides... at least I hope not.
As I struggle to learn more about who I am as a person, I post this to hopefully either close completely and unburden myself from this as it's subconsciously been a ton of bricks on my back for almost 7 years now... And I am tired of carrying it.
Thank you for being a part of this moment in my life.
I will be contributing some art to this project - The second book from Author and friend Casey Caracciolo. You may recall I contributed a piece for his previous book, The Shadow of the Gauntlet. The book was fantastic and this one (the second in the series) looks to be equally awesome.
Check out this Kickstarter and if you can and would like to, feel free to contribute to this book.
Hello everybody - Been busy updating the site and giving it a much needed new look. Also been working feverishly on a few commissions as well as a secret project. Keep an eye out for an announcement Friday! - Kevin
It's been a while since I last updated so I wanted to spend a quick moment summarizing the past few months before this year
ends. Man, time does go by fast.
Since September, I've relocated my family back to NJ from NC and become involved in several new projects, many of which I cannot yet elaborate on. That said here are some of the updates I CAN talk about. I'l post some photos below too about things I reference in this update.
I've continued work with Sanitarium Magazine doing both covers as well as most recents some interior graphic work. The folks at Sanitarium (specifically Barry) deserve a moment of extra thanks. Sometimes you work for a client or an editor who just accepts whatever you throw at them. You might think this would be great for an artist but it's actually not. Feedback is a crucial part of getting the best work out of an artist. Sometimes the feedback isn't what you would like to hear but I for one, always want feedback - It always pushes me to be better and I appreciate that Barry is always honest with me and gives good feedback and it's helped make the almost yearlong journey with Sanitarium that much more rewarding. I do not know if we'll be doing covers or work together moving into 2015 as of yet but either way it's been a hell of a ride. What I originally thought would be (and started out as) one or two covers has turned into a great partnership that I will value long after our time together ends. They are great people putting out a great magazine and if enjoy horror and literature you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Secondly and along the lines of folks who provide great feedback are my friends over at The Screamcast Podcast. I love working with them (specifically Sean) who always turns my basic idea into something much beyond what I had planned by questioning my choices and pushing it further than I expected.
Check them out here: http://www.thescreamcast.com/
Third (sorry this is going to be a long post), The Forgotten Flix Podcast www.forgottenflix.com came to a bittersweet end. I have enjoyed immensely the year plus spent with them doing show art and once in a while joining the show - Hell I got to be a part of an interview with Lance Fucking Henriksen, one of my all-time favorite actors. Joel and Jason are wonderful people who I became good friends with through the journey and they both will be moving on to even bigger and better things. Keep an eye on them...
Here's the last episode (mini episode) that I was a part of if you care to listen: http://forgottenflix.com/sff14-02/
As always, I want to thank my wife for her constant support and for being my own personal secretary, editor and best critic. I would not have the confidence or drive that I do without her unending support and (sometimes brutal) honesty and assessments of my art. I love you and thank you most humbly.
Lastly I am excited to say I'll be back at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill NJ in March http://www.monstermania.net/MMC30_Guests.html
I have missed doing Monster Mania terribly the past year and a half but it was just too much being so far away and having to
travel up with our 5 year old as well as all of our booth stuff. We've missed seeing all of the vendor friends and family we've made as well as all the regulars who always made a point to stop by
every year and say hi. It's good to be home and we can't wait to get back to MM and see our old friends and meet some new ones.
And so ends the year for me. The last week and half of 2014 will involve trying to decompress from a 650 mile move home and spend some time with my family. I'll do some sketching for some 2015 projects and start some conversations about new things but damn I need a little rest.
To you all - Anyone taking the time to read this and to all who send constant support, both through purchases or even just kind words of support - THANK YOU. It means the world to me.
I was recently interviewed by Derek at HorrorSexy.com - You can read it here: http://www.horrorsexy.com/articles/artsexy-kevin-spencer-inkspatters/
I am back on Tumblr.
You can find and follow it here: http://inkspattersdotcom.tumblr.com/
I just wanted to share some exciting news.
As some of you know, for about a year I did the show art for a wonderful podcast called Forgotten Flix with good friends and all around good dudes Jason and Joel. I'll put the link at the bottom of this post. If you haven't ever listened, give it a go. It's good stuff. Trust me.
In any case last year I made the difficult decision to step away. I had, not long before that time, relocated my family from NJ to NC and between the adjustment from the Northeast to the South as well as just trying to get into a new routine I just felt exhausted, both mentally and physically. I had loads of commissions (not that I am complaining AT ALL) and just felt like I had too much on my plate. I also have a day job in which I usually work 60+ hours a week depending on what's going on. Also, a 4 year old. The 4 year old alone could be a full time job, ha ha.
I knew I needed a break. This became obvious when I missed a deadline for an episode. I take great pride in NEVER missing deadlines. So, with much understanding Joel an Jason and I had a conversation and we parted ways. Granted, as we are all friends it's not like I haven't spoken to them or stopped listening to the show (although I am a little bit behind) . So when the time came that I cleared some things off of my plate and more importantly recharge a little creatively I reached out to them to see if they'd have me back. They said no at first, so I had to do what all aspiring artists are sometimes forced to do and ... Ok, I'm kidding. They welcomed me back with open arms, much to my delight.
So here we go, Round 2. I have some new ideas for the way in which I present the art and I really hope you guys dig them. Should anyone see a piece in particular that they enjoy and be interested in purchasing, reach out to me about pricing. I would certainly be willing to sell the original show art although I am not going to go out of my way to list it in my store.
I'm sitting here wondering why I just wrote this long explanation. I am honestly not quite sure - I guess a part of me felt that writing it would help me feel better about leaving in the first place as it was a tough choice and certainly not one I particularly wanted to make.
All of that said, I am happy they are having me back and I am beyond happy to be back.
Time to go now, I have a show banner to work on. Have a great weekend everybody!
As you may have seen on my home page, I have joined up with Sanitarium Magazine ( http://sanitariummagazine.com/ ) - A digital horror magazine that includes horror art and short stories. My first contribution will be the use of one of my previously painted pieces for the cover of their upcoming issue and then from there I'll be doing a few more original covers as well as hopefully some interior art. Basically, as much as they want from me I am eager to give them. Their magazine is available on Amazon.com so be sure to check them out.
Here is their mention of it on the site - http://sanitariummagazine.com/new-look-sanitarium-magazine-hits-the-shelves-soon/
Secondly, I want to thank everyone who's purchased the book that I Illustrated and worked on with the very talented Justin Hamelin. The Darkest Corner has sold beyond our expectations and we are thrilled. Despite some hiccups and delays as well as some hard learned lessons, Justin and I are begining work on our next collaboration, which we will likely be self publishing this time. More on that soon as we hammer out details (Justin is hopefully writing as we speak)... Again, the support that's been shown to us for The Darkest Corner has been overwhelmingly positive and we cannot thank you all enough.
Third(ly?), this is shaping up to be a super-busy personal year for myself and my family, with my Sister-In-Law's upcoming wedding as well as some other stuff that I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment (all good, so don't worry and NO, not a baby). That said, time for commissions is getting tighter and tighter. While I never want to turn anyone down I also always want to be able to offer the best work I can to those paying money for my art. So, moving forward I will be limiting my commissions, something I have never done and don't really like having to do but with the time I have right now I feel like I have to do it. SO... If you have something you want to commission me to do, let's talk! I have several things on the table at the moment and once those are done my full attention is going to personal things as well as my work with Justin and Sanitarium, as well as a few other collaborations that I'll tell you all about some other time once more of the details are sorted.
You can always email about custom work but please, please don't take it personally if I have to delay doing it or simply cannot make the time this year... I promise you it is nothing more than the classic "not enough hours in the day". If you have something that is time-sensitive I will always do my best to accomodate if I am able.
With the abovementioned busy year, you may have noticed me missing from Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, NJ in March. My wife, who sells her jewelry there (it's good knowing one of your table neighbors) and I made the very hard decision after years of vending there to skip it this year (yes, sadly this means August as well). With a Disney trip earlier this year and a wedding as well as some other obligations, it was just too much to squeeze in. Trust me, we missed you all - vendor friends and show attendees alike. We hope to resume Monster Mania starting next march as well as potentially getting to some more shows, so add it to the list of stuff I'll keep you posted about.
Enough blabbering from me now. Time to get back to work.
As always, I am humbled and thankful for all of the support you all offer me. I cannot express that enough. Thank you.
Recently I was approached by author and friend Casey Caracciolo to do a promotional piece for his book The Shadow of the Gauntlet (I'll include a link at the bottom of this post for the Amazon page on which you can purchase it).
It is a really, really cool book and I highly recommend it. Being a fan of Casey's work and the book before being approached about doing the print, it was a no brainer. He will be bringing the print to Monster Mania in Cherry Hill NJ this weekend and it will be for sale, so be sure to stop by and say hello and pick up the print and his book. Here's Monster Mania's site - http://www.monstermania.net/
Here's the Amazon link to purchase Shadow of the Gauntlet:
After more than a year of phone conversations, emails and texts, it finally sees the light of day. The Darkest Corner, a collection of short Horror stories by Author Justin Hamelin and Illustrated by myself, is complete and available for purchase now as an Ebook on Amazon.com. Tomorrow it will be released on paperback. It's been a great experience, both in working with someone whose work I respect tremendously and also in the sense that we learned a lot about the highs and lows of getting a book made. That said, after years of talking about it I was thrilled to be a part of a collaboration with Justin. I hope you guys like the finished product.
I'll be doing some giveaway stuff on my Facebook Page in the upcoming weeks and I know Justin will be as well so keep your eyes out for that. Also, I soon hope to have some copies to sell directly, which I'd be happy to autograph for free.
Special thanks also to my wife and the best critic I could ever ask for as well as all the friends and family who've offered nothing but support. It means the world.
Last but certainly not least (before I turn this into an Oscar acceptance speech), thanks to Mira Garland and Ambrosia Arts Publishing for helping this project see the light of day.
As for everybody else, from the Facebook Page "Likes" to the email notes... Thank you. They are the fuel that keeps this rickety machine chuggin along. I hope this is just the begining of a great 2013.
Here's Justin's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JHamelinauthor
Here's Info about the Book Release Party (sadly I will be there only in spirit): https://www.facebook.com/events/257293307770798/
Here's Ambrosia Arts' Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AAPublishing
So finally here it is, my new website. It will be an ever-evolving process due to my inability to ever settle sompletely on something but content-wise I'll be updating it regularly with both blog postings as well as new art and any upcoming events that I may have scheduled, including gallery shows or conventions.
Thanks again for stopping by!