My Practice in 2021 & Beyond
Probably just gonna make more Graphics
It’s that time of the year where we look back at the last one and take stock. I’m like a week late to the train because I’ve been struggling to gather my thoughts for the “& Beyond” part but feel pretty fine on where I landed. I've come to think of my practice in 3 parts: Design Tools, Graphics, and Publishing.
Design Tools and Graphics are in a feedback loop. My art improves through the maturation of my tools and my tools become improve and become more refined as I use them to make projects. Publishing supports both areas as the act of socializing my work creates signals that can guide my creative ideation. It’s also the most love-hate part. So let’s dive deeper into each area by the numbers.
goodgraphics.js is at version 0.15.0. flow-fields.js was created as a small library. The good graphics monorepo, where I write my code, is coming along with some great functionality and lots of little ideas that I’ve been trying out over the year.
300 Graphics in the monorepo. 9 Patreon Graphics with 4 of them being Generative Prints. Countless Pen Plotter Designs and Prints. 18 Risograph Prints made in tandem with Risolve Studio.
Despite my at times chaotic posting, I’ve successfully gained some followers across: @mellogood twitter, @goodgraphics twitter, @mello.goodgraphics insta, @goodgrapicsxyz insta, @goodgraphicsxyz tiktok. 261 sales in the shop. 1 whole sale seller (🥳). 39 Newsletters. Countless website redesigns.
My main goal is always to get better at making good art. Social media and shop sales are good signals that can help me validate ideas but I also don’t want to chase them. For example, the Radial Circle Risograph print is popular but I don’t want to continue making the same print over and over just to make money. For now I want each part of my practice to help me grow and feel challenged. This is the same reason that I stopped the Patreon page and also the same reason that this newsletter is moving to bi-weekly. I’m taking stock of where I am putting creative energy and making sure I’m not doing things that don’t bring me joy or growth.
Earlier this year I saw Laurie Anderson: The Weather at the Smithsonian Hirshorn Museum.
As my introduction to such an iconic artist, I became obsessed and started reading profile and reviews of Anderson. In a profile by The Washington Post the writer says the following that has been stuck in my head for months:
This is how you make time for art, I think. By making it all the time.
The biggest challenge with making art this year has been me also dealing with burnout. From not being able to find time to being too tired or frustrated to even make something when I do find time. The only way I’ve found to combat that is by constantly thinking about art and working on pieces in my head.
This sounds easy but it can be exhausting. The nature of code means that it is easy to build and prototype ideas but most days I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels and not actually amounting to anything.
In 2022 I want to sit in this feeling more and tackle this pressure to improve or create within a linear timeframe. I want more non-cyclical processes and to give myself more space to just run around and experiment and prototype and create without pressure to end up with a polished “something”. That’s my one goal for the year.
We’ll see how this shakes out, wont we?
Till next time,
P.S. - 🏆 The Graphic of the Year Award 🏆goes to:
Flow Snakes. Flow Fields are seen as a “basic” generative art algorithm but I have a soft spot for them. This piece combines some of the lerp style I’ve been experimenting with this year with an effect I discovered last year when I was working with p5.js more.