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Dec 18, 2023: a year in art

today i put together my yearly art summary.

Hexephre's Year In Art 2023

i've done this every year since 2012, with a gap in 16-17 for some reason. and every year until now, i've always followed a template where i picked one piece per month. in past years i always had art available for almost every month, or near enough that i could sorta fudge it. this year i didn't even bother trying. i know i didn't draw every month. i looked through my art mastodon, which is the easiest way for me to track my artistic activity, and there was barely anything before july, when artfight happened.

and i know that's okay - rationally. emotionally i'm still sort of convincing myself i am no lesser for it. consistency is not a priority metric by which i measure my art output. i can still create prolifically when the energy is there. i can still produce works that meet and exceed my quality standards. i can still make things that bring me joy and fufilment and pride.

this year i have tried to free myself from the restraints of consistency. this year i was diagnosed with adhd and started on medication and therapy to figure out what that means for me and how to work with it. this year has also been much, much harder on me than it should have been. drawing is intrinsic to my sense of being, and looking back and seeing those gaps can hurt. but i need to remind myself that so much else is hurting this year. it's not fair to myself to hurt myself further.

being creative has always been an outlet for me. some people dislike doing art as a job because then they have no energy left to work on their personal projects. for me, it actually makes me want to draw more! that's not to say art as a job doesn't tire me out - it absolutely does. i liken it to how extroverts must feel about being with other people. it depends on the people and the situation, of course. but drawing recharges me, even though it may take up a different kind of energy in doing so. and, like how even extroverts need alone time, i need to take a break from drawing sometimes.

even when i wasn't drawing, i was still engaging in different creative pursuits. much of my non-drawing time was spent writing instead. i have written hundreds of thousands of words this year, and that makes me really happy. of course, much of my non-drawing time was also spent in ffxiv, which was another escape and outlet. sometimes it was creative - designing and building interior housing, photography, fashion - and sometimes it was just playing other aspects of the game that weren't artistic and creative. i want to acknowledge that i did both, and both were important and fulfilling.

in some ways, a monthless YIA gives me a better opportunity to display what mattered the most to me this year, instead of restricting myself around arbitrary timeframes. i did a lot of stuff i really like, things that mean a lot to me, things i'm proud of, things that i look at and smile about. even things i don't love looking at but i'm still glad i did them.