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it's okay to fail

If you follow me on social media, you're probably already aware of my most recent failure. For those of you that don't, here's what happened. 

I'm 60 hours in to a new horse piece, so far I'm extremely happy with its progress. I crack a new pen to start scribbling my finish layer, the pen touches the page and drips a massive blob of ink right in the middle of the eye... shit! I scramble franticly like a uncoordinated foal to find tissues, paper, anything that's near bye that might soak up the ink before it settles into the page. But I'm too late and the damage is done. I tear up the page and walk away from my table.

For the first hour I'm frustrated and annoyed at myself. The second hour sees me calm down, coupled with something to eat takes the edge off. 

I'm now sitting back at my desk thinking about how i put so much pressure on myself to succeed. I obsess over the pieces that aren't perfect, or didn't work out the way i wanted them to. Now that I think about it I've never produced a piece that I consider perfect! I'm not sure what I'd do if i did produce a perfect piece... probably change careers (joking).

This constant pursuit of perfection and drive to better my drawing ability is what i love about art. Let this be a lesson to anyone reading this, we are going to fail from time to time, but we can learn from it and become better for it! 


define success for yourself

My first exhibition in May was a moving experience for me. For the best part of a year leading up to it I still had my doubts about my art. Strangely I've never doubted whether I would succeed, more so i've questioned whether I'm drawing the right content! I was incredibly humbled by the turn out from my friends, family, and extended reach of the marketing that was done for the event. You couldn't wipe the smile from my face even if you tried. I loved meeting new people and helping them to understand the process behind my work. 

It's hard not to measure the success of an event by how many sales were made. Of the 8 works generated I only sold one. It was a hard pill to swallow at the time. It was 6 months work, the mind has this ability to outrank what glowing feedback I received with financial woes. This was sweetened somewhat by an invitation on opening night to exhibit at the Sydney Motorcycle show in November this year. All stress of trying to make sales on the night lifted from my shoulders knowing I had an ace up my sleeve. Six months on I'd banked so much on selling my motorcycle works in Sydney. Again I only sold one piece!

This got me thinking about what success is to me. There was a time i used to measure my success by how much money I had in the bank, or by how many followers I had on social media. Yes, they both play an important role in my work but neither of them make me happy. I've discovered my true metrics for success have more to do with personal growth and making people happy, improving my drawing ability, or just being able to do what I love everyday. 



the piggyback

I'm teaming up with The Design Conference and Ellaspede for my first solo exhibition in May. I'm excited, nervous, behind schedule, and flat out tired. How'd I get here you ask? Let's go back a few months to where it started. 

Meet Matthew Haynes, host and curator of The Design Conference (TDC). We meet at Maroochy Festival of all places, he knows a close friend of mine through a company called Work Shop. If you haven't heard of them you should check them out, they run educational workshops for practically anything. Matt and i get to chatting, i show him some of my works, here we are creating and curating an exhibition that piggybacks his event TDC in May. 

It's one thing to decide you want to do your own exhibition, but choosing your subject matter is something else. After much deliberation we decide to team up with a local motorcycle company and curate the exhibition for motorcycle enthusiasts. We knew choosing such a niche market was risky, but it also gives us the opportunity to do something original and make it cool at the same time. It was also important to make sure we'd peak the interest of all the design minded people attending TDC. 

Introducing Leo Yip, founder of Ellaspede Custom Motorcycle Company, Brisbane. Turns out Leo was teaching Industrial Design the same year i started my study... we couldn't work out whether or not i'd been in his class, still cool to know how far we've come since then. Last year, Leo and the team at Ellaspede created their unique take on a custom Suzuki DRZ400. The bike itself has a number of innovative design qualities that make it very different from anything that's been done before. By a process of elimination the bike became the focus of the exhibition, to be featured in over half a dozen of the pieces. 

When i first started drawing i never saw myself producing motorcycle artwork. All my early work was based off organic forms (animals, nature etc). I've always welcomed the challenge of drawing something new but the truth is I've been struggling. Drawing such technical subject manner demands time, attention and above all patience. You have such little margin for error with manmade objects, every line and curve demands perfection or you risk loosing perspective and realism. 

Okay, now you're all caught up. I'm still behind, with only 1 piece that i'm confident will appear in the exhibition. Producing art that doesn't turn out the way you want it can really take the wind out of your sails.  


1 year old

Hi, my name is Kris, although… most people call me Hartas.

I’m a self-taught pen artist. 

I guess I’ll start this post with a bit of background about my career. I hadn’t always thought of becoming an artist. In fact in 2012, I finished my studies with a double degree in Architecture and Interior Design. And after this, as many of us do, took a couple of gap years to travel. When I finally returned home there were various opportunities available to me, however I had no real desire to pursue a career in Architecture. So, I worked casually while I was figuring out what it was I wanted to do.

Drawing at this time was more of a therapeutic thing I did every now and then. It was very experimental when I first started, different mediums and techniques. However soon enough, it became part of my daily routine and exactly one year ago I decided to take on art as a full time career.

The past year has seen me spend over 3120 hours at my drawing table, use around 828 unipin pens, complete thirty-two A1 drawings and fail at over a half a dozen of them. It’s been a journey to say the least, with just as much success as there were set backs.

One of the biggest issues I’ve dealt with this year is gaining exposure. If I’m being honest, I would’ve liked to have sold a few more pieces, maybe even gained a larger following on social media. But I’ve never been overly comfortable with self-promotion. And so first lesson learnt, as much as having a quality product helps, it’s also got a lot to do with who you know and how you market yourself. Now I’m trying new tactics and learning what works for me. I’ll get there.

The good news and what I’ll take away from this year is the fact that my work is getting better. My attention to detail and ability to shade has come a long way.  I’ve learnt a lot! Never in my right mind would I have known how many ways there are to wield a pen.... mind blown!

For an artist, having a blog isn’t really part of the job description and it’s not something I thought I would do. But as an artist I spend a lot of time by myself, listening to music or podcasts, so I have a lot of time to think and therefore a lot to talk about…might as well write it down. This blog might be nothing more than a place for me to document my journey and thoughts but if it somehow inspires another persons to ‘chase their dreams’, than I feel it will have served its purpose.