Volume Vs Precision & Diligence in Art

Cartoonist Chris Ware photo.

Thinking lately about when I was wasn’t on the volume train. I had much less grey hair then. Although I fought it, my animated shows were very much about volume. How many episodes? How many eyeballs? How many toys? Then the excess. Awards. Lavish parties. First class. The ego eats it up. Being in charge and yet very much a corporate puppet. Where is the love? There is no REAL love. You get “bargain Love” as long as the numbers are good, and from the audience as long as you are bringing in your part of the bargain which is to make the shows that make them laugh.

In television animation, you can spend all of the genius time on elements as you want, as long as it’s done by Tuesday.

There is something to be said for not having too much time to mull over whether your idea is the best or not. It comes to you from your gut and is on the air. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. And I enjoy entertaining and holding up a mirror to our society.

But I also enjoy art that takes it’s time. Precision. Patience. I’m attracted to artist stories that work diligently on projects that are detail oriented, hunkered in their studio, impervious to the madness going on outside. I saw an ART 21 recently with cartoonist Chris Ware. I love his work, but was a bit surprised at how meticulous he is with his drawings. It takes him years to do those books he does. He draws every line himself. With precision.

I’m not sure how much money Chris makes from his books, but it doesn’t seem to matter to him. Often it’s impossible to have the hours engaged reflect on the money you can make from it. Or whether you can make money from it at all. But thats not the point.

Art is harmonious. Art is alignment. Art is channeling what needs to be said. But also taking the time to say it with love, and precision without focus on the outcome or outside reactions. For me, it’s a form of meditation.

That’s my opinion. At least today.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Joe,

    Sorry to contact you out of the blue, huge fan of your work! I have a strange request. It’s my 10-year wedding anniversary in August and my wife is (still!) obsessed with Rocko’s Modern Life. I was wondering if you had any original title cards you would be willing to sell me or have any leads to obtain one please? It would mean the world to her on our special day.

    Thank you kindly and much appreciated,

  2. Hi Dan, You are quite persistent. I’ve parted with a lot the title cards already, and the rest will remain in my collection. Sorry. Maybe they pop up on Ebay, I don’t know. But I congratulate you on your 10th anniversary!

  3. Hi Joe,

    Thank you for the reply and best wishes. Thanks for making so many people happy too, we all need it. If you ever decide to part with just one more, please please let me know and I’ll stop bugging you. It’s like a sad crying clown in an Iron Lung. She’s always wanted one 🙂


  4. Hi Joe,
    It’s nice to see your nice art work and examples share based on “The Artist”.
    Can I ask, are you into live-action sitcoms or mainly comedies or dramas. And could you do a post on that if you are interested in it?

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