I guess I should actually title this: “I should have done this years ago”
This is me:
You can call me Mercury or Kay. I prefer the former. I’m 28 years old and I really love art. Almost enough to call myself an artist.
I’ve been drawing, painting and making a general mess since high school, where my grade 11 fine art teacher made me fall in love with creating, but it wasnt until 2015 that I actually started to really love it. It all started with a film called Crimson Peak, directed and written by Guillermo Del Toro.
The film itself doesnt really have much relevance to this story (other than the fact that I love it) but the director… oh, the director changed my life. I loved the movie so much that I read a few interviews, gushed to my friends, and eventually, someone sent me a link to an interview of his where he talked about his design journal.
For anyone who doesnt know, Guillermo Del Toro is famous for his monsters. And in this design journal he drew, painted, wrote about and basically created his monsters. I loved it. I really really loved it. The mix of text and sketches spoke to my soul.
Now, I’ve never managed to fill a journal. I tried! Back when I was 14 and had a big old crush on a cute boy and having all sorts of problems with my parents, I wrote in my diary, because I saw it in a TV show and thought that’s what you were supposed to do. I got through maybe 15 pages before giving it up.
Filling an entire journal seemed completely impossible. But a sketchbook… that seemed feasible. In fact, that same high school art teacher told us that 30% of our final grade in her course will depend on a sketchbook that we are to hand in. It didnt have to be finished, but it did need at least one sketch per week and our thoughts on what we created. Most people in the class handed in a sketchbook that was 1/3 finished. I handed in 3. I still have them. They’re some of my most treasured possessions.
The concept of mixing text and art didnt occur to me for some reason. Dont ask me why… I just thought that Art (yes, Art with a capital A) was supposed to have rules.
I gave up on rules for art a long time ago.
Back in 2015 I started a sideblog on my tumblr account where I started to find and re-blog peoples journals and sketchbooks and that’s where I learned about art journals. It wasnt until 2016 that I felt brave enough to post some of my own. By that time, my little blog had gotten quite a bit of attention. There were a few hundred people actually listening and seeing my work.
A few months later I also started an instagram. I had one for my personal ramblings and my knitting projects but @mercurialmilk became my new home very quickly. I found some really amazing artists and a community that was welcoming, kind, generous and so so creative!
While I have a few issues with instagram as a platform, the people that I met there are honestly the reason I keep creating. I know it ‘shouldn’t be about the number of followers’ but at the end of the day, an artist craves a connection to their audience. They need to know that they’re connecting to people in more than words. And that’s what I’ve found through this amazing community.
My goal with my art journals (and my art, in general) is to keep pushing the limits of what can be considered art, to find people that connect with my work and to inspire.
My journals have also helped me with my constant battle with mental health – and you’ll see a lot of that pouring through on my pages. I journal so that I can get the monsters on the page and out of my head and as Guillermo once said:
“Since childhood I’ve been faithful to monsters. I’ve been saved and absolved by them because monsters are the patron saints of our blissful imperfections.”