Wait! Good bye 2016? Isn't that a little too hasty? Come on, December is just starting. Yes, 2016 is coming to an end, but there's still a month left, right? Well, not when it comes to my artwork. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, this is the time when the year is pretty much over for me, when it comes to my artwork and everything related to it. In previous years, I used to render artwork in December, particularly for my yearly Xmas image. As a result, I would end up finishing that image one or two days before the actual Xmas Day, along with other December projects. The result: a good Xmas image, but also many many unfinished projects or at the very least "half-assed".
Being that said, for a couple of years now, I just hang it up for the year at the beginning of December. This allows me to check on projects that I left unfinished and see if I can squeeze them in before the year ends. But more importantly, this time allows me to slow down and be with family, something so important when it comes to the creation of my artwork. I see it as a regeneration phase, when I allow myself to clean my mind a little and get ready for the next round, also known as the next year. As I've written before, this is the time when I get to stop for a brief moment and look back, to see what accomplished and what I didn't. I compare it to the time between workouts, between repetitions, when you get to rest for a few seconds, drink a bit of water... and then say: "enough rest, time to keep going!"
So, what have I done? What have I accomplished? Or more precisely: what did I accomplish in 2016? Well, honestly, this was a keystone year for me. This is due mainly to the fact that this is the first year where I dedicated 100% of my time to develop my artwork, and not only in technique and quality, but also develop anything related to it. Anything that my eternal nemesis, also known as Father Time, allowed.
This is the year where I finally got to showcase my artwork in my hometown Ciudad Obregon, back in Mexico, at a local expo show. This wasn't a move fueled by money or fame seeking, but entirely a personal desire of mine. I wanted to go back to my hometown and show the people of the community where I used to live, what I have learned and developed during the past decade. I wanted to see their reactions and opinions. It was truly a challenging idea, due mainly to this being a project across borders. The logistic, the time, the physical drain, the planning, etc., all this was an adventure with a ticking clock, since there are deadlines for everything. But, the fore mentioed adventure was totally worth it: the goals were reached, and the best part is that I saw my desire fulfilled. I got to meet so many new people, reconnect with old friends, and make my current friendships even stronger. I even got to be interviewed, before, during and after the project was done. This allowed me to be featured in the local tv station at my hometown, a small but firm step towards the promotion of my work.
2016 was also the year where I expanded my "I ❤ Porn" line where I featured pin-ups of porn stars. I honestly don't know if I'll keep featuring the name "I ❤ Porn" and unify all the drawings as one line. But what I can say for sure is that this little idea projected my artwork more than I expected, therefore it is here to stay. During this year I got to draw porn star Kendra Lust, a true current legend in the world of the adult industry. Just a mention of my artwork on her tweets and Instagram photos brought me many followers and recognition, which led to more projects, including a new image of Kendra. This was also the year where I got to draw a porn star from Mexico, Mia Marin, which has opened another door for me, something I really want to pursue. If I can contribute to the Mexican porn industry though my artwork, that'll be another goal accomplished.
But not everything was porn drawings in 2016. This was also the year where I got to render an illustration featuring belly dancers from United States, for a seminar in Mexico, organized by my talented and multi-tasking sister. It was not only great to introduce the beautiful art of belly dancing to my artwork, but also to collaborate with my sister and bring something extra to the table of her seminars. This is something I wanted to do for a couple of years now, but this is the year when I said: "let's do it!"
Alongside my artwork, I also worked on trying to get my portfolio images out there. I finally revamped my website, and started taking advantage of tips and recommendations that I found on the Internet. One of those recommendations was in fact start this blog and a mailing list. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm happy with the fact that I am doing it, my mistakes and my assertions are mine, they're not only dreams. Following the same line of development, I also revamped my online store, after experimenting with a few of the many options out there. I am extremely happy with the look and functionality of my current online store, being this fact a big deal, because now I can concentrate on promoting it and bring the customers in.
Another big factor in the improving of my artwork was Patreon. The platform that allows patrons to support artists like me, is becoming more and more of a key factor when it comes to my artwork. I saw my list of patrons grow in a very substantial way, something that makes me feel extremely grateful. And even though I am way behind of other artists when it comes to the number of patrons and monthly pledges, at the end of the day, I am fortunate enough to have people backing up my work, having faith in what I do. That cannot be bought, it has to be earned, and I plan to keep doing so.
2016 was also the year that saw several changes in my artwork. Perhaps the most notorious one is the look of my pin-up girls, switching to a "less cartoony" look and a more serious instance. Setting aside the funny intended puns inherited in my regular artwork, this is the year that saw several of my pieces show a bit of a bleaker tone. Nothing extreme, just enough to give it a different look, from the more realistic faces to the surreal backgrounds. All this particularly true on my yearly traditional images: Mexican Independence Day, Halloween, Xmas, and for the first time this year, Day of the Dead. Is this new look something that came here to stay? Yes and no. This new look as I call it will always be part of my portfolio, a sum of all my previous experiences. But, if you know my artwork enough, you know that I'm always switching to new styles, experimenting, adding, subtracting... and many times messing up as well. It comes with the territory: pretty often in the artwork realm, we won't know if something is good or bad until we try it. So, don't be surprised if you see "bleak funny images" in my future portfolio, why not? :)time
Last but not least, 2016 was the year when I turned 40. This might not seem related to my artwork at a first glance... but it is, in more than one way. When it comes to age, every step stone, usually related to the decades of life, allows us to stop for a longer time and get a more faithful perspective of where we are and where we are going. That quick rest between workouts that I mentioned earlier, becomes something more meaningful. It is the time when we decide to crank it up, and not only say "time to keep going!", but also "let's push it harder!". Nobody knows how much more time we have available in this life, but that becomes more and more real the older we get, when we feel like there is no more time to waste. That is one of the factors that pushed me to keep growing this year, keep going forward and only look back for a second, before resuming the steps forward.
Then, let me say farewell to 2016 with this traditional image of Xmas, which not only includes the look that I mentioned earlier, my current experiment; but also a model and a friend that has been part of my artwork for more than a decade now, the beautiful ad multi-talented Ijsselina. She is another example of how things keep moving forward as long as we decide to do it. This is our time, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but now. I am honored to be part of her art and know that she is part of mine. I am honored to be able to say the same thing about so many models that are indeed part of my life, embedded not only in my brush strokes, but also in my persona. I am honored to have the support not only of models, but artists that have taught me so much when I needed it, even if I didn't realize it back then, artists that I can call friends. And finally, I am extremely honored to have the support from so many fans and followers of my work, and among those I can happily count my family. Support not only comes financially, but in many many different ways. I myself am very fortunate because I am the recipient of so many of those ways. Thanks to each one of you. :)
Until next year, until next time!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.