Finding Your Tribe

Last Updated by Cyrus Fire on
San Paintings, Game Pass Shelter, Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa.
Photo by Nutopia Ltd.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author. 

My initial reaction to "The Second Moment of Creation" was an overall sense of warmth, connection, and appreciation for my craft and my fellow creatives. I was very much in the mind frame of "bring on all the cool art" when the episode began! But that feeling didn't live long because a short time later I felt all gutted as I watched statues and artwork being destroyed.

It's easy to forget that it is customary in war to erase the memory of a people that you have or want to have had conquered. So if you remove their art you remove their presence in the world. That thought made me shudder and then I thought about all the graffiti writers that I have ever talked to who have had their best work either vandalized by other artists or buffed off by the city. It also made me think of election time and how you begin to see all the campaign signs spring up around intersections, on ramps, and in neighborhoods.

It's interesting how both groups of people who are so different in social status are both competing to have their name known and voice heard in such a similar way. Putting your name out there where someone will see it. Doing what you can to make your name larger and easier to see than the others! While in the end, almost everyone's name is painted over or the sign with their name on it taken down by someone with other interests.

Morning Star.jpg"Morning Star"Courtesy of Cyrus Fire Every creative person that I know is trying to stand out and shine a bit brighter than the next one. Every year a huge crop of young artists graduate and flood the industry with new talent. All eager to show their work and find a place in the industry or in their local community. Possibly find a gallery to show at or a venue to display your work for a short time. Maybe a chance to make a living off your natural talent and hoping that you find an audience that will not just accept your work but also support it.

"Finding your tribe" is always the phrase that I have heard while describing this concept (personally my tribe is "A Tribe called Quest," a hip-hop group from the 90's). I was very happy to hear that the Civilization series actually somewhat addresses the correlation between music and making art.

I listen to a lot of music while I create my art and my choices in the music that I to listen to definitely help me find like minded artists as well as patrons. There have been many times that I have made a new friend or client due to a conversation about what album they might have been listening while creating a certain thing. I don't always know what I am going to paint when I begin to work on a new piece, so listening to music helps direct the flow of emotions that go into that piece. Listening to jazz or hip-hop music that samples jazz helps to get me into the right frame of mind to create something that is free form. Jazz music embodies the exercise of being focused enough to find your way to a definite destination while remaining open minded enough to trust your instincts in order to walk a path that cannot be seen.

Adaptation and improvisation are themes that seem prevalent in this Civilizations episode and are key to making great work in my opinion. I like the section about making pigments and cave painting as both are examples of adaptation and improvisation. I tend to use a lot of primary colors that are "straight out of the tube," meaning that they don't get mixed with any other color before they reach the canvas. I believe that this approach is in step with the original form of creating artwork by using simple colors and shapes to convey basic ideas and emotions.

I created a painting called "Morning Star" that uses a few of these concepts. It is a portrait that began as a marker rendering that was then made much larger. The colors that I used are not colors that you would typically find in a portrait but work well with each other in this piece. Though the piece was adapted from the marker rendering the shapes found in the neck/hair area of the head were all improvised with a marker as I went along. The red and orange areas are there to symbolize shifting molten lava representing a mercurial mind state. While the blue in the face represents a calm cool exterior that is ready to face the world and all it's challenges.

CyFi Profile.jpgCyrus Fire graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design and specializes in acrylic portrait painting. He has three years teaching experience at CCAD and has promoted painting to children and young adults through the Delaware county library system in Ohio. He has worked with the Harmony Project of Columbus for three years on a community beautification mission painting murals. He also received a commendation from state representative David Leland in 2017 for his work done at the Riffe Gallery located in downtown Columbus. Twitter | Website

Related | Learn more about Cyrus and his work in the WOSU series Broad & High

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