Pill box of candy

Fed Up
Close And

This project was largely an exploration into a lot of skills I've attained so far in my career, as well as an outlet to express some of my frustrations with social media as a digital artist.

The first piece //EAT YOUR HEART [OUT] OF THE LIMELIGHT// was a look into Instagram's algorithm update a few years back. I was creating semi-daily pieces to post on the platform when all of the sudden, my likes dropped by over half. For some reason, my account wasn't reaching people the way it had, literally overnight. After a couple weeks of barely any recognition I started losing motivation to create new artwork. Why was it that I was so disheartened by a drop in likes? Wasn't I creating art for the sake of creation?

It became pretty evident that my heart was in the wrong place. I had spent so much time investing into my pieces and seeking approval from the internet that I tied my purpose into these posts. Each new post was valued by the number of likes it received which was difficult because before posting, some of these pieces had been my favorite projects I had worked on.

It typical life fashion, this Llama Piñata project was my least liked photo on my account. After 24 hours, it had only received 53 likes with my average being 120 likes. Point received loud and clear, universe.

The second piece in the series was a follow up to the Piñata art with //A BITTER PILL TO [SWALLOW] THE BAIT//. I dealt with an addiction to sugar. If you knew me in my late teens and early twenties, one of the first things you knew was that I liked sweets. It wasn't until a couple people close to me developed diabetes that I realized I was on the same path if I didn't change my daily habits.

While it was difficult, I first started by eliminating soda, then by refusing to purchase candy (free candy was still allowed). It was a difficult couple of years to break the addiction but I'm glad I made the decision to do it.

More continued below…

Software Used

  • Cinema 4d
  • Rizom UV
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Redshift

The same was true about social media in my life. It quickly became an addiction in my life and I didn't realize how much time it was consuming from my life. It wasn't just the endless scrolling that sucked away my time, it was creating content for social media. I had to post new content to stay relevant and then track every single like (or lack thereof) that poured into my notification bay. It had become this bitter pill that I was taking every single day but I couldn't let go because I liked the small rush of affirmation it gave.

I have this white bear bookend that sits at the footboard of my bed collecting dust. It guards a few of my favorite books that hibernate on the shelf, but it serves no real purpose other than it looks good to me. Is that all art needs to be or does it need deeper meaning?

For my final piece in this series, //LEARN FROM THE BOTTOM [UP] WITHOUT A PADDLE// I wanted to showcase all the knowledge I've learned over the years by taking the software I use every day and turning them into books. Adobe Illustrator is represented by licorice aka, splines. Most of the time, I only use Illustrator to create paths or complicated shapes to bring into Cinema 4d. The skittles book represents Substance Designer & Painter - two pieces of software that give my work all the color and texture. Cinema 4d is the building block for all my 3d projects, and finally Rizom UV is represented by the unwrapped chocolate bar - much like the way Rizom unwraps all my 3d models.

Was all this knowledge worthless because it didn't get the recognition it deserved or could I appreciate it because it was mine? After processing all these emotions, I came to the conclusion that something in me needed to change. It wasn't Instagram's fault for reducing the visibility or my artwork or the internet's fault for not liking it. I was my fault for allowing those things to matter. Much like my sugar addiction, it's hard to give up right away, but I took important steps to reduce its impact in my life.