Sometimes, though, I feel a need to put my cards on the table. If I am to call myself an artist I should be clear about what defines me, who I am, and how I perceive everything around me. It is what drives me after all! So with that said...
What the hell is going on?
Half the world - maybe more - is conditioned by Iron Age belief systems or brutal and localized ideologies maintained by a thuggish elite. People, in this age where pretty much all information is freely available, choose not to think for themselves, or are afraid to. We claim not to trust our leaders, but we adopt the previous generation's thinking as our own - because... Well, because what? Schools don't teach free thought or personal choice, they indoctrinate whatever the local culture - and parents - demand. Religious leaders don't teach it because that's the last thing they want.
As a result we're all mutually intolerant.
I find it incredible to believe that race, sex and sexual orientation can STILL mark somebody out as a lesser human. People die, get thrown in prison, or mutilated because of an accident of birth and their geographical location at any given time.
The same root of a once singular religion now has dangerously conflicting beliefs in the three prime religions that grew out of it, and never the twain shall meet. They are mutually intolerant of each other at their core.
I don't care at all if people believe in some higher force. I do have to wonder where that force came from, how and why it evolved, and why it seeks dominion though. I don't relish giving up free-will (such that it is, in a limited capacity) for an eternity of subjugation and devotion. And I can't understand any being so petty as to create an eternal burning hell for creatures as insignificant as we are. It reeks, to me, of fear and arrogance - that we should believe ourselves so important!
The world and all things will end, and long after we have already gone no memory, nor eyes, nor ears, will be left to record that moment - and that's fine by me. It's in living that we should take care. It's in living that we should look skyward each day in wonder. It's in living that we should love our fellow humans. It's in living that we should learn, and think, and change, and not cast ourselves in stone, or build walls and rules based on the less-wise beliefs of a far more ignorant age.
I have no issue if somebody wants to believe in any of the many thousands of gods that have been worshipped. But they that confuse us with fear, that threaten with damnation, that force us to choose one or the other incompatible belief or be a heretic - them I have issues with.
We are blessed with a brief span of years on this island Earth. We have so little time, and there is so much to cherish and love. Not the tiniest speck of dust, nor the vastest of the galaxies matter one more than the other. In a gods eye it's just blinking a tear away. There's not enough time to be cruel. There's not enough days to waste on judgement.
The real issues remain around power, hunger, and money. The great thought-leaders of the world could change much very quickly if it was in their personal interest to do so. It's all so miserably self-serving.
And lastly - do I look like a wooly-minded weak liberal? To think for yourself is a good thing. To change your mind because you hear a better argument is not something to fear, it's liberating. To do it in the face of your ingrained culture is heroic. To cast yourself in stone is to be blind, deaf and dumb.
For me, to be an artist and a writer you need an open mind, to be able to free yourself from society's shackles - at least momentarily - so you can see the bigger picture. And you need to be able to question the morality of your own work too. Much of my work is violent, while I am a very passive person. So what does this say about me? Do people get the irony, or the gut-level wishfulfillment? The desire to be tougher perhaps, to live a less troubled life? I sometimes question whether I am also objectifying my subject matter, particularly women. I'm still undecided on this as I happen to be pretty red-blooded, and part of the admiration of the opposite sex is Darwinian I feel. It's murky water, but worth looking at seriously, otherwise everything remains purely surface, and therefore artefice. If we, as fantasy and sci-fi creators, are to be truly taken seriously these factors do matter. If what we do is allegory, then what is the message, what are we reflecting?
I don't ever expect people to share my views, but my life has led me here. You can find all of the above in my work in varying shades. It's who I am. When I view your work I expect I'll meet you too.
Putting your cards on the table isn't a bad thing. It's good to let folks know where you stand, but it makes you open up to yourself and let you know what you're about, as well. It's gotten you a kick-ass comics career, and Madefire.
Bless you for both, senor. You're a hell of an inspiration.
And yes - I try to be honest and clear about who I am! It's part of the job.
With the portrayal of women in comics being such a hot-button issue this past couple of weeks I think the important thing to remember is that if you write a person and that person happens to be female that's probably solid. If you write a prop and that prop happens to be female, you're probably doing it wrong.
On the religion front, I believe in an approach of being militantly moderate; accepting that inherent value of each person's experience to that person. The flip side of that is that I'm certain that evil can only be defined as subjecting another person to your will without their consent. And it sounds like you're in a similar place so I can't help but support that view.
Good to know.
However 1 thing I have noticed (at least here in the U.S.) is that a great many people refer to themselves as 'open minded' and 'tolerant' when they are anything but. It seems that those who preach the most about these things end up knowing the least about them. You are correct that we as human now have easier and greater access to information than at any point in time. Yet, most people (again, here in the States) pick their own pet issues to care about and purposely remain ignorant of issues they deem petty and/or boring.
When it comes to 'objectification' of women; stories would be boring and fairly unrealistic if they only had male characters and I feel that you give as much detail and attention to the male characters you draw as you do to the female characters you draw. Also, does the Venus de Milo objectify women? Does Michaelangelo's David objectify men? Those are considered fine art and I see your works as being no different.
Still, always good to check your thinking! It's important to know what lies behind the art!
I like to know where others stand on different issues because I respect their right to believe and feel whatever they wish to and I have no desire to insult anyone for what they do believe.
When you stop questioning yourself, you stop growing.
Like school, for example. It's a joke, and most people are aware of that. Luckily, we are able to learn many things outside of school's restrictions.
Also, you shouldn't worry if your opinions are going to offend someone. I mean, obviously there's a time and place for everything and being tolerant of others' differing views is important too, but don't let their right to have an opinion smother your right to the same thing. A lot of those intolerant religious extremists probably also denounce homosexuality as a sin and tell gay people/anyone who's not of their own religion they're going to burn in hell, so if they are able to say and think such offensive things, you shouldn't feel bad about expressing your opinions which might offend them. You deserve a place to speak your mind just as much as they do, and you shouldn't forget that. If they don't like your opinion, they can look away; if they choose to comment about how omg you're such a terrible person for having an opinion that offends them or something, well... -shrugs- It's a free world.
As for the why trolls exist thing, I think it's mostly to do with the freedom that comes with anonymity. Some of them might often think to themselves 'Ohhh I just hate people who do such and such' but they don't say anything in public IRL because they could get their ass beat or something. However, online, they're just some random person online, and the person they're trolling is likely states/countries away from them, so there are no real repercussions for them acting like an asshole. Other people are probably just the young teens [or people with such a stunted mental capacity as to easily be mistaken for a young teen] who merely revel in being annoying, and trolling gives them the freedom to be annoying to an exponentially larger group of people.
There are lots of different types of trolls, too, like Cannibal trolls and White Knight trolls for some more subtle types, it's all oddly fascinating.
You seem to know a lot about trolls! I'm now likewise fascinated - I had no idea there was sub-categories...
Hehe, spending too much time online can do that. X'D Yeah they're grouped according to who they tend to go after and I think what kind of methods they use to troll. The ones that are more subtle have quite a skill of towing that line of being JUST sane enough to believe, while otherwise being completely ridiculous.
And believe it or not I was a very timid, shy and generally scared person when I was younger. None of this comes easy, but I take my position seriously and I care very deeply about the creative community.
Thank you, thank you and thank you. It all matters!
We, as a society, as a people, as a fecking species have so much potential, and we squander it by threatening someone with real-world violence because they tweaked your favorite weapon in a video game (I saw the quotes, I wish I had not), forget about bigger issues like racism or religious and political intolerance.
Thank you again!