At the end of the semester the professor gave personal evaluations to each of his students. When it was my turn to go in I stepped inside the room with my semesters portfolio and sat down. The professor quickly leafed through my work, a distinct look of non-enthusiasm on his face.
"You know," He asked rhetorically, "What the difference between you and *I can't reveal the name* is?"
The student he mentioned was the class's star pupil
"The difference is that he was exposed to design from a small age and you weren't"
What I understood from this professor, who will remain nameless, is that while I showed some talent, I did not receive enough visual stimulation as a child and as a result wasn't and will never be as good as my classmates who did.
I left that room broken. It's a terrible thing, feeling inferior to others and being told by an authority figure you respect that you are powerless to do anything about it.
During my existential depression faze I thought real hard about how much of a nothing I am. I explored imaginary alternative career paths; from sewage cleaning to grave digging. Obviously, I was too unevolved to be any sort of artist. I even thought of doing the work I feared most - working with my dad in the family bee keeping business. Images of angry bees and my nagging father filled my head. No! I thought. It's better to be a bad artist than doing something else and be miserable.
After the revelation of the fact that I don't want or care to do anything else I started thinking- Alright, I wasn't born in a city and wasn't always surrounded by designed signs and museums... ok. What was I surrounded with? After all, I wasn't walking around with my eyes closed all my life.
Slowly, it dawned on me, that what I was exposed to from a young age was nature. Trees, grass, fields; I was always playing or running through them. And the piece of nature I was most intimately acquainted with was - the honey bee. My grandfather and my parents ran a bee keeping business. I was too good to want to help out with it and went off to art school.
Slowly the idea began to form. I wanted to do something with bees. After a while, my background in martial arts led me to the current direction.
When I finished my studies, my final project was character and set designs for an animated film about samurai bees. My old professor was there. He liked it but he told me I didn't space the prints on the wall properly. I guess I'm not a designer at heart. But I didn't care anymore. I learned a little something about who I am and what I want to do.
Here are some of the works I presented as part of my final project:
This final project turned out to be just the beginning. I wanted to know the story of these characters so I wrote it and now I'm drawing it.
There's probably some really obvious moral to all of this. So I think there's no need to point it out. I think I'll just continue working on my picture story.