The New Digital Media Artist: Finding a Balance to Create
Posted on June 15, 2014
It’s Father’s Day, and I’m in San Diego at my brother in law’s house, drinking Gatorade to rehydrate after a night of celebration. Truthfully, I’ve been neglecting this blog for a bit, and I’ve recommitted to a weekly Sunday blog post. So from now on, every Sunday, I’ll be writing a new blog post about what’s going on with my writing or just providing commentary on issues I find important.
Over the last couple of months, there have been a lot of changes in my personal journey. I’ve become the creative director of Circa Interactive; I started an Internet/television show called The Working Poet Radio Show sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library; and I’ve been trying to chronicle the New Americana at Rockwell’s Camera Phone. On top of that, I’ve been trying to write essays and profiles while keeping up three different social media accounts. It’s been extremely hard to manage, and I’m at a point where I need to think about what’s important in life to focus on. Well, they all are important. This has become quite a balancing act, and I would say that some project management tools like Evernote and Trello have saved me from certain mental exhaustion. What I find is that some people don’t understand how to harness the power of a program like Evernote. Clayton Dean, co-founder of Circa Interactive, introduced me to this: The Secret Weapon.
But that’s not the only thing that’s changing. I’ve been monitoring trends in digital and social media for some time now, and it’s clear to me that as an artist, as a writer, as a journalist, as an author, I need to change the way that I create and work because the ways that art and content are being consumed and communicated have changed drastically. Now, I don’t think creatives should change their approach based on trends, but I do think that the early part of the 21st century has provided an enormous amount of opportunities to expand creation in general.
For example, cutting video is easier than ever, and I’m actively trying to turn the profiles I write for print journalism into video. By using the same approach to print journalism, I believe that I can transfer over the skills I’ve learned as a journalist to video and audio story telling. There has been a learning curve, however, and I’ve had to learn to cut, transition, and film to seem like a professional. I have to think about lighting and sound and many other aspects of recording that I wasn’t entirely familiar with. I’ve been cutting on Adobe Premier, and I have the Adobe Creative Suite.
Now, I have just started learning Illustrator and After Effects, and this is a whole different territory that feels a bit overwhelming, but I see that there are limitless opportunities with text and, of course, special effects that can take my journalism, poetry, and art to a whole different level, but mastering this type of programming takes time and patience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been staring at one of these programs for hours and I can’t figure out how to do a basic function. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scoured through YouTube looking for a video to explain a certain function. Adobe certainly has made the suite easy to understand, but there is still a certain element of patience and understanding that it takes time to master these programs.
I’ve also started taking photography more seriously, and I’ve been going on photo shoots with my new Nikon D7100, which is also what I’ve been using to film. As a journalist and a creative director, it seems essential for me to learn photography. What has become expected of creatives in order to produce has changed dramatically, and the only way for a young creative like me to stay on the cutting edge is to adapt and learn everything in order to tell better stories and create better art and work for clients.
What I’m trying to say is that the 21st century is introducing a whole new type of artist/creative: the one who doesn’t accept the silly distinctions between the mediums; the one who fails to accept that he or she is only limited to one medium; the one who is incorporating every new piece of technology to create new forms and mediums. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, and I feel that I’m on the verge of an explosion of new forms and projects. Some will probably be failures as I learn new technologies, but I can’t concern myself with failing. I can only concern myself with finding the best ways to create.