Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Contract

I'm 32 and I want to do everything. That's my intro, and my problem.

Professionally, I am a lighting artist. To clarify, that's virtual. I don't deal with stage lights and gobos, and I don't carry a roll of gaffer tape (though I do imagine if I did I would find plenty of opportunities to use it). My skills have been utilised in television, feature film, and video games. Most recently I was in a lead artist position, which included a lot of art directing, and was something which I enjoyed immensely. And was grossly underqualified for.

I don't think I lack in creative vision. But I do severely lack in an ability to adequately explore and communicate my creative vision. And that has never been so painfully obvious as it was when I was forced to explain visual concepts verbally, or communicate an idea with naive and clumsy whiteboard drawings.

I spent some time sitting beside one of the most talented artists I've ever met. His name is Jeremy Love. Not this Jeremy Love (though he looks very talented also), but this one. This guy is made of awesome. He'd hate me if he knew I was praising him on the internet, but it was hard to sit beside him because I constantly found myself staring at his work in awe, which only made him uncomfortable because it's creepy, and left me feeling slightly embarrassed about whatever I was currently working on.

I imagine it'd be like playing golf with Tiger Woods, or fighting an invading alien species with Sigourney Weaver. It's impossible to measure up.

I had the pleasure of working with him directly on a project, and one particular moment stands out to me: I had this image in my mind, this idea that was so powerful to me it was burning my brain, and I became insanely frustrated with my inability to illustrate that vision. I needed to share it. Jeremy, in addition to being insanely talented artistically, apparently has telepathic voodoo powers, because he said "I think I know what you mean" and then rendered the thing in my head so effortlessly, and with so much clarity, I kind of wanted to hug him and stab him at the same time.

At that moment, the desire to have just an ounce of his tonnes of talent was overwhelming. I rushed home that day, and spent the whole night sketching.

The next day I was tired, a little cramped, and overwhelmingly embarrassed by the garbage I'd wasted hours of my life on. What was that? A hand? A helicopter? Oh nevermind, I think my pen just took a shit on the page.

Okay, so skill takes time and effort. Surprise! But I'm an instant gratification kind of guy. I guess I ended up specialising in lighting because for some reason, it resonated. I was good at it from the start, and quickly saw improvement in my work, so was motivated to continue. With illustration it's a much tougher fight for me. I need a way to force myself to muscle through the disappointing lack of talent, which brings me to the point of this post and in many ways, this blog.

Booniverse is my contract. It began with a New Year's resolution (one I actually want to keep), and is going to facilitate that by giving me a forum in which to... dump, I guess. As I inferred in the first paragraph, I want to do everything; illustration is just one of the things I need to learn. Game programming is another, into which I've made many inroads, but I'll save that for another post. Then there's a short film. Some more lighting work. Photography. Creative writing. Like I said, everything.

But without a forum to put stuff out there, and without signing that contract with myself to stop procrastinating and start doing, then I fear I'd be 50 and still moaning about what I never bothered to do. So here it is:

I, Boon Cotter, do solemnly swear to maintain my commitment with myself to daily pursue creative endeavors, regardless of my mood or disposition, ignoring lulls in motivation and inspiration, always recognising that this is a process of learning and growing and that failure is just successfully identifying an area in need of improvement.

Round two, begin.


  1. Nice one mate.... now let`s go for a beer ;)

  2. What you *refer* to as "failure" may just be successfully identifying an area in need of improvement. But it's not failure at all.

    Failure is more like... what I do. Which is not do. :P As long as you don't ... not do! then you're not failing at anything. ;)

  3. I checked Mr Love`s site... simply awe inspiring to say the least.. but in some respect you are in a similar camp as he... he gleaned inspiration from an illustrator whom lifted him to the level he is.. as he states in his resume. So my friend, take it in your stride & level up one day at a time ... then you may find your self sitting in the same chair as he.. & a like minded soul will be sitting next to you simply gob smacked by your work ...