One of the most amazing things about technology is that you can just sit there in an office chair, fiddling around on a computer, and at the end of the day your back hurts horribly because your L5 vertebrae is a piece of crap, but you also have managed to accomplish something, maybe.
Perhaps I am underselling it. In about two hours, I have managed to finish up a painting, write up some text, and hit a button that sends my work out to the entire world, and still have time to gently cry about the fact that nobody reads my blog anyway, and nothing has any meaning.
It seems pretty bad. However, it’s important to be thankful for what you have. Let’s look back at my attempt to write a blog post way back in the year 1890, and compare and contrast the types of problems I was facing then.
I wake up to the smell of feces, as one of my fellow hobos has relieved themselves into their own pants in the middle of the night. I clutch my folio of drawings to my chest, as if to protect them from the stench, and look around the rattling train car. It’s a cold dreary place, in addition to being noisy and violently shaking. “I may be stuck in a tin can now, but soon I’ll be a big shot in the city,” I think to myself. “As soon as the good men at the newspaper see my drawings, I’ll never sleep hungry again!”
There are a few worries though. Since I like to work in color, and because a reproduction method for color illustrations hasn’t been invented yet, a lot of the art I made probably won’t be usable. Additionally, anything made in black and white will have to be engraved from scratch by someone else entirely, and so it will probably look completely different by the time it is ready for print.
Ah, but that is just the way of the world. At least I’ll have a paying job and an enviable career.
A few days later I find myself in a ragged suit, walking toward the prestigious Chronicle building, portfolio in hand, nervous with anticipation. As I walk through the front door, a gruff man immediately asks “Who’re you?”
“I’m an illustrator, my good man,” I say with a tip and a wink.
“Well we don’t need one of those,” he says, and gets back to his work. A few anxious moments crawl by.
“Well, can I please speak to whoever is in charge of such things, anyway?” I ask. “I’m sure he would be very interested to see my particular style, in case he needs my work for the future.”
He becomes slightly leery, but eventually says, “Fine. You go wait in the corner.”
“Thank you!” I say. “Thanks a million!”
Hours later, I am approached by a disinterested man in a sweaty, but nicely made suit. “Okay kid, let’s see your drawings.”
My hands shaking with excitement, I unstrap my portfolio and reach in to present him with the first of my favorite works, so that I may describe to him the creative process that went into it, and more importantly, the subjective effects of artwork in general, and how my own style could come to fit into the pantheon. But while I am doing that, the man has taken my portfolio and begins rifling through it.
“What is this? All these drawings look like nonsense.”
“Oh, well. Yeah, you know…”
“What the hell is this supposed to be? I can’t publish this.”
“That’s a uh… brain car on the moon.”
“A what? What are you, marbles?”
“Look kid, you seem nice, but this is a newspaper. We need pictures of ship disasters, and buildings on fire, and guys aiming muskets at each other, and mining disasters, and advertisements for tonics.”
He flips to the very back and finds a figure study. “Hey, look at this one, this one’s kind of normal. Not particularly good though.”
“I’ll tell you what. If you really need a job, you can be the guy who cleans the dangerous newspaper machines.”
“I’ll need to see how qualified you are first. Come right this way, I’ll lead you to a particularly filthy newspaper machine. I need to to really scrub it from the inside out. Right now.”
“I’ll just throw these drawings in the trash.”
And that’s how I start the first day of my newspaper career! Haha. Blogging sure has come a long way since then.
But seriously, I need to start making a living at this crap somehow.
SCORE: A scrubby rag and a wash bucket.