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winter discontent

DECEMBER 22, 2009
I took a walk this morning: my carriage.
I'm here almost every morning. It's just about 7:00 am.
I cross over the frigid river, shudder and think of the sadness of Inspector Javert on the Pont au Changes in Les Miserables.
the sunlight looks warm but isn't.
Normally on the winter solstice (yesterday actually) I'm smug knowing that even though winter has barely settled in, the days are getting longer. Take that! But this day I am pensive. Why? You say "So what?" I wonder that too. Of course there are personal reasons for some of it (but that's none of your business). And what does this have to do with art or illustration?

There's a decade coming to a close. It's a totally artificial concept but markers in this river of time give one pause:
  • Where were we in 2000? I just looked through some records: I made almost twice as much as I did in 2008. The decade's been a roller coaster ride with most of us growing and branching off into other markets and ventures as a burgeoning class of artists figure out how to slice the pie a little thinner so that more get something at least. Makes me wonder what the rate of home ownership is over time for the profession as a whole…
  • In 2000 I used Fed Ex. I rarely do that nowadays. Portfolios maybe.
  • Remember Alta Vista? Google was just two years out of the blocks and had just started serving primitive text ads along with its uncanny search results. Image searches didn't come on-line until July 2001.
  • Remember the Tech Bubble, 911, Donald Rumsfeld, Freedom Fries and low interest rates and the subsequent subprime collapse?
  • And it seems like so long ago that as a nation we held our breath from November 2008 to January 2009 just to hear Obama and Justice Stevens sort out the oath of office.
So where is illustration headed in this new decade? I'm probably the worst prognosticator. As editorial has shrunk and artists reps collapse and scratch their heads, my own personal need to make art has continued to explode. I need markets for it! I will thrive in the margins for a while perhaps. But something's gotta give. Some wonderful projects are beckoning and coming to life in my mind and in my hands right now. I can't wait to begin this new decade!
Let's cheer each other on and try to enjoy the ride. I fear there will be some very unwelcome bumps ahead though.

Topical: Just thinking