“Beware the EGO of an Artist. For testing, trials, torture and torment may cling to your soul should you question their authenticity.

“Or… you may simply get tears on you.” — A.B. Clark, October, 2013 — A.B. Clark, October, 2013


Artist, SCHMArtist…

andrew b clark des moines iowa artist illustrator cartoonist writer

This is “Me…” Approximately October of 2013. ‘Me” will get older and change. I don’t always have a beard, I don’t always wear glasses. I thought this was the most “Artsy” picture of “me.” So, for now… This is “Me.”

There’s something terrifying and intimidating about calling one’s self an “Artist.” Art is so entirely subjective, who am I to label myself as such? What a pompous ass!

There are certainly people I’d call “Artists,” famous as well as the infamous. There are those that are spectacular at their craft and others that, “need some work.” But any way you look at it, they’re “Artists.”

They make ART. They live, simpatico with their emotions. They fearlessly (so I’ve been told) create and display their very own “personal brain goo” for the World to point at, pick through, massage, and critique – as if it had any real bearing on their lives in the first place!

And they keep doing it! Artists and their art, that is…

By definition, an “Artist” is,

“…someone who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, specifically in the fine arts.”


I spent the majority of my young-adult life trying to defend that what I did as “Art.”

I started out a couple decades ago trying to turn my adolescent and teen angst into visual representations that “normal” people could understand. Sometimes I’d get a “Oh, I get it…” other times I’d get a “Cool…” (with a deep tone of “you’re a fucking whack-job” included). It was a lot like learning to speak a foreign language. Some day’s I was fluent and well-spoken. Others, I was a lost man walking in a foreign land, simply looking for somewhere to port for the night. I soaked in the styles of the masters – everyone from Degas, Adams and Vonnegut to Watterson and Schultz, yet, replication and imitation was not helping me develop anything but a raging inferiority complex that needed to be fed worse than my desire to create.

Andrew Clark ArtistCartooning, illustration, photography, writing; everything I produced was an attempt to define myself and/or influence or persuade others to think of me as … An ARTIST… From “Hey he’s cool, I should go have a drink with him,” to “Ohh, he’s that ‘tender, tortured artist-type.’ I see sex in his near future…,” my attempts at art were shallow at best.  Often times I’d say they were meaningless tripe intended to garner booze and sex, or both. Welcome to college! Art or not, I was good at what I did. But I didn’t learn an appreciation for art.

Like me, Art was just a tool.

Then I grew up, SHUT UP and SHUT DOWN.

Enter my late 20’s through … about a week ago (October 2013).

Everyone grows up. Sure, it’s a right of passage. But when I finally decided to grow up, it also deeply affected my motivation to create and what I’d create.

For the last 20 years, my only consistent outlet for creation and expression has been through the one and only job I thought I could get using the skill set I’d so horribly abused throughout college…  ART.  Well, “the preppy, bitchy cousin of Art…” Advertising and communications.

In 1994, I found myself in the advertising agency and marketing communications world. Art was still “kind of” part of what I did, but it was automated, impersonal and definitely NOT from my soul or any other piece of me. Occasionally I’d get to squirt in a hint of “My style,” but, quickly, I learned style has nothing to do with advertising and communications.

So there, somewhere between the client schmooze-fests, statistically-proven lies and overt ass-kissing is where art (for me) went to die…  or at least become comatose for a decade-or-so…

I could pick a worse Mid-Life Crisis…

To me, Art is personal. Art is meaningful. Art is singular. Art is irreplaceable. Art is emotion. Art is, in every literal sense of the phrase, “a piece of its creator.”

In complete contrast – the battle within my soul – I’ve always thought as soon as Art is displayed for others to see, it becomes something other than “Art.” It is relegated to mere expression of the creator. The quality is no longer personalized, it’s open to public scrutiny. The message and meaning is no longer original and owned solely by its creator, it’s open to new definition and misunderstanding by the masses.  It’s replicable, cold, plural and no longer … art.

Wow. I’m more full of crap than I realized… Go look at my portfolio already.


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