I was looking through this artist's portfolio, through one of those portal sites, you know, the ones that any person with Internet access can make an account on and post whatever they like. I'd found this photo during my usual trawling of the aggregate sites, the ones where people cross-post and re-post and crop and edit and claim as their own the work of others. I do this thing where I send the pixels through a search engine and it comes up with possible sources, and I trace back until I'm satisfied that I've found the original artist. It's not always 100% accurate but it does the trick, and I never collect an image where I can't say I've at least made a cursory attempt to find the creator.
So I'm looking at this image I've found and I'm searching for the original artist's bio when I realize that this one piece is all they've ever submitted, and it's from a couple years back. No activity on the site since. I double the search to include the artist's pseudonym, since they've not given an actual name. Nothing. No other profiles found. I search the image one more time, this time from the main high-rez one I've locked on to. Still no further hits.
I'm scratching my head and looking at the image when I notice there's a paragraph's worth of text under it. Some explanation of the piece, how it was done in an introductory digital sculpting class, an off-the-cuff kind of thing. I'm shocked. Like, the artwork had already spellbound me, but now I'm realizing that this may very well have been the only work this artist ever did.
Why couldn't I find anything more? Had the artist given up after that class? Had they decided that the medium wasn't for them? And my growing fear is compounded by the idea that this kind of thing was likely way more common than I'd ever really considered before. How people took up artistic pursuits as part of their education or in their free time and then abandoned them in favor of other jobs, or were forced by circumstance to work in fields that had nothing to do with their true creative expression.
I used to interview people all the time, and one of my favorite questions was about their past hopes and dreams. What they'd wanted to do when they were younger versus the vocations that they'd found themselves in.
You want stark tales of abandonment and disappointment? I've got chapters, if not volumes, worth.
2014.06.12 – 2023.02.15