Monday, May 3, 2010

What to Paint

I am plagued by the question, what do I paint? Also, how can I earn a living off of what I do? It has been a year since my position at GCF ended and almost nine years since I have made a steady living as an illustrator. Things that used to interest me have shifted, or rather, my interests have shifted. Is it depression, or just that my interest in making pictures that are like pictures I made in the past is gone and I have no idea what I want to do? The victims work, the anti-war work I did is really not easy to do or to sell. I am drawn to the idea of painting more pictures of my son, but that is not going to help me make a living. I think I finally realized that paintings I want to do really have no meaning other than that which viewers attach to them, and that I am not interested in pushing ideas or points of view onto viewers.

As a graphic designer, I have worked on books, websites, catalogs, signage, posters, CDs, and a slew of other collateral. I think a redesign of my website is in order. For the past 8 years I have been living in Chapel Hill, NC, and see people much less often than when I lived in SF.

The last decent graphic novel project I was working on, an adaptation of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury went nowhere when the publisher declared bankruptcy.

Anyway, just some thoughts and things going on in my part of the world.

PS It's not that making a living is the only important thing, or motivation, but without a living, I am unable to really get to anything else.


Unknown said...

i think i know how you feel. i am trying to start an illustration/art career at 42 and am really worried that anyone will be remotely interested in what i have to say.

you though already have people who see something of themselves, some common feeling in your work. i always look forwards to anything you post. i am not really overly concerned with the content but i really like the 'koebness' of your work.

i can't lie though i would love a new graphic novel or illustrated book from you. the last thing i have is in the watch annual.

anyhow, whatever you decide, i'm sure your audience will continue to be enriched by the 'koebness'.

take care.

ligne sinueuse said...

Cher Monsieur Koeb,
I hesitated to write you because I scarcely leave comments on blogs, especially to express personal feelings or souvenirs.

I follow your work from quite a time now. "The pleasures of deception" in Hellraiser 2 was a great inspiration in my art school days and I must confess that it is even possible that I swiped one panel or two to impress my comrades of Beaux Arts!
Years later I was very lucky (it was before Internet or Ebay!) to find a copy of Negative burn 17 and "The hair of the snake that bit me" is still among the "Top" of my very favourite comics. I only wish that it will be reprinted in full colour.

About ten years ago, more or less, when I finally got Internet, I was very curious to discover your website. I found there really fine illustration and landscape paintings. There were also a few texts available on the website, I expected it would be annoying speeches of self admiration as it is too often the case in art websites but it was very different: in one of your messages you said (I hope that I don't alter too much your statement) that you felt it was needless to suffer too much for the sake of art, that artists tend to torture themselves in a romantic way to become art genius while they should better try to find and enjoy a satisfying life. This message was really a good advice, a relief, for me because at the time I was not satisfied by my creations and in a great state of anguish.

Very recently, just a few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about the benefits of sketching from life, and to show him first-class examples I showed him drawings from your blog.

I hope that you will someday find a publisher for "Something Wicked This Way Comes", I think that you are really fitted to express a Bradburian atmosphere.

I understand you when you say that you are not interested in pushing ideas or points of views onto viewers. Yet I don't think you should fear that because if you don't express and impose somehow your point of view to others, you can't avoid to be invaded by the points of views of others. Secondly, more or less consciously you already do have a strong idiosyncratic point of view and your art is fulfilled with a subtle appreciation of humanity, of society, of nature that is not necessary mine, that I don't necessary share, but that I accept in its alterity.

Bien amicalement de Rennes, France