About art, creating, quitting and goals

This is the second part of my thoughts regarding something I "came out of the closet" with yesterday when it comes to how I feel about "creating" these days as a full-time professional photographer & educator.

I know a lot of my clients read these blogs so I want to make clear: this is something when it comes to my personal self and how I look and create in my free time when I'm not working on client productions & commissions. I adore my job, in fact: I think this entire thing happened because I love to put all of my photography-energy into each and every set I do for my clients; working it out in details and preparing the sets. And I don't mind it; I think it's amazing I can have such a passion for something that I love waking up in the morning and have shoots planned for clients all from Europe. Its amazing! I made a commitment to it and I want to stick to that and put all of my energy for photoshoots in what I do as a full-time job.

The thing I did learn is that I need to split up my professional career vs my personal life. I always joked that 'art consumed me' buts it's one of those jokes with a lot of truth into it: Yesterday I wrote a blog about "that I'm quitting photography" because I want to create art again.

Now with my two series going wild (The Eden Project & Jesters) ; both with an amazing response above average, lots of people contacting me to participate in it (in)directly, higher average on social media ... I realised there was a pattern. One that was so simple I overlooked it: I was creating from my heart again. Its such a subtile difference but one with a great impact: Working for clients is amazing, but it's a different creative energy. My first goal is always to make them feel beautiful and awesome, turn their (childhood) daydreams into actual realities. I work for them and it's cool. However, as artist there is always this urge to "create for yourself" with no stress, strings attached or money involved. You are not delivering a service to someone else, but you do it for yourself.

I used to just shoot for the fun of it, creating beautiful things but nothing deeper & thats how I felt most happy. Thought with growing older, career evolutions and learning to life the freelance life I felt how my values started shifting and changing. That I was overworked is no real secret and I found myself in a circle of non-stop creating, trying to stay on top, saying too much yes and investing unwisely into projects. It left me with 20 hour working days, neverending postal and import taxes (out of my own pocket) and running a fast-growing business. This all happened in a year so it was an incredible fast paced lifestyle which was - even for me - too much at one point.

After I did the "Goron Chronicles" project in the UK in march, my first long-term project in a while I felt so recharged. Not only because I travelled (which also helped a great deal); I broke the routine, I worked on a project I was personally invested in ... And I also had a little meltdown. As what happens when you out of your zone.

To sketch an idea what this means is: I used to shoot almost every single day for months straight for both personal as professional reasons. If I would stop now; I would have about 3 months of 2-times-a-day-nonstop-posting-material. Thats how much I shot & edited and still have to do. I do not regret it one bit, it was an amazing time that has learned me a lot and gave me an incredible amount to choose from for an epic portfolio. It has given me great memories, an amazing team and a lot of fun. But it was a lifestyle that was good for a few months; I would do 16 to 20 hours a day, every single day, for months straight. At first it was fueled by the passion to create but when business started booming it was less ... interesting.

When I encountered my artblock, I thought it was just one of those things you just have if you're creating. Looking back now, it was simply me being completely drained. I took a step back for a long time (in my terms) and looked at my body of work and I found it wasn't ... living up to expectations anymore. I liked a lot of my older work more, despite my technical growth, because it was more "deep" (as far I create "deep things").

Saints2.jpg

I'm now here, the end of june, fast forward a few months and I feel better then I have been in the past two years together. While I still have a long way to go, I do have learned from my mistakes, shifted my values and I am focussing on introducing things in my life that are important to have or pursue. I've become "lazy" in such a way I didn't come out of my comfort zone anymore. I "know" more or less what I'm doing with my business (lets say I know the good basics at least!) and I have some big plans ahead for it too (awesome things I'm so hyped about).

Interestingly enough, moving away from "the photography" idea in my business I also opened many doors inside my head which I have talked about with some of my students (for a part at least) . It is giving me the (shivering) confidence to release my new photoshoot prices soon (equally to what I'm investing, with an entire new service and delivery!) & I'm working towards expanding my entire educational to a whole new level. All because I realised that routine kills me (I can't shoot & retouch 24/7 months straight anymore) and I want to do so much more to inspire, give and create. It was a bitter pill to swallow but thats what's life about: crawl out of that dark hole and make life something you're happy worth living. I'm a workaholic so I will make the best out of it considering I am addicted to creating and have a burning passion to inspire others.

Here we go again: summer has always been my "turning point" and I think this time, it's going to be a good one.

About quitting photography and creating art

I often find myself in certain times, almost predictable, where my life gets turned upside down and I discover some new moral and/or value and I move on to the next. Writing this down makes me feel incredibly old, but honestly I'm just 26 (and what do I know right?). Thats my feels right now, all mixed up. I think I can say I had a good taste of what life can be in the last two years (in a not-so-good-way) however as my favorite mantra goes: "all comes to an end" ... I guess it could also count for the times like "the bad times end too. One day. Sooner or later".

My life hasn't been all bad, it was more of an inner turmoil and a lot of things that where bad (but doable) all piled up and suffocating me for a very long time. It sucked but honestly I'm kind of happy I got to experience it now because I do feel like a full-grown-adult. Something. I guess thats an achievement? Right?

All of that has brought me to a point in life that I never thought I would have: I don't feel like photographing anymore. Some might remember my heavy artblock from not so long ago which kept me from creating anything really, struggling to complete clients and me feeling completely worn out and broken. It has passed now (and how!) but I have found myself in an interesting new insight: I don't want to be a photographer full-time in such a way it consumes my professional and personal life anymore. it's not a bad thing; I guess my values simply changed with the time passing like many do and now I have this slow "breather" now I'm packing to move end of this month ... it made me think a lot (its like those "shower thoughts you can have, I think we can all relate to that).

It was good, it took over my life back in 2008 & got out of control since 2009 so thats a nice period; one that has given me a dreamjob and a young career in its early startblocks. I think now that that artblock was just me realising I had to change things because of having photography as a job, full-time. All the way day & night. And me trying to figure out what to do with my life now my source of burning passion and bottemless pit of energy was gone.Photography for me was like my battery for life: I would be excited, up until late in the night retouching, planning concepts and things between classes and work later ... It would fuel my love for life and give me that rush to live. I can't really explain it but I guess its similar to a drugtrip (I've never tried or will try it but I do know its really addictive).

It has faded. And not in such a way its an artblock, it's just gone. I adore my job to tiny little bits, I'm so happy this is my thing I pay my bills with and I can pursue and work on. But when it comes to my (non-existing) personal life; it just didn't work anymore. The rush was gone and I felt in a deep dark hole because I had creative-craving-withdrawals as I didn't get my art-fix. It took me months to figure out but now with the move soon and the last month I've realised it's not that I had an artblock. I just don't want to photograph in my free time anymore. When I close my emails for the night and I mail out my last assignments, I want to do other things to compensate the day-time job. And I found that again in "creating art": since I decided to work for myself (with "The Eden Project" & "Jesters" ) I have kindled my passion again.

You see, collabs are great, meeting people are great. But it became this big routine, soaking up all of my salary (postal & import taxes are crazy expensive) and I would be behind my screens all the time. It's not working for me to do the same over & over & over again. The routine I dreaded so much has taken over in a form of only being a photographer and did it ****.

Routine ain't for me. I want to go back to my roots and in my free time be an artist: I want to create things. Not for photography, but because I'm an artist. And it will still include a lot of photography, as thats my medium. But I feel a lot more is going to come along. Its ending a chapter, a beautiful chapter. But one that needs to end. Only to make place for the new. Over & out ...

 

Retouching Commissions

Retouching Commissions

Art, Fantasy & Portrait Retouching

In the past month I received a lot of inquiries regarding "if I also retouched other people their work" ; something I was both surprised as happy to receive: I've been doing these kind of assignments for the past year I've been in business and I've had my portfolio up for a while together with that as well. Maybe it was because I never (was allowed to) share more about it or simply me overlooking it in more detail ... Either way; I'm happy to get messages like that. Because I always love doing these kind of commissions! Retouching has become one of my biggess passions over time & I would absolutely love to make this a more prominent part of my business.

In my genre & style; I've mostly specialised myself in (natural) portrait retouching as well as achieving a beautiful fantasy like theme or painterly kind of look. Most of my past commissions have been that as well: turning simple studio photos in galaxy themed promotional material or old paintings or a recent job where one of my dear friends Aeons Of Silence wanted her photos to turn into a fairytale themed setting with a friesian horse (photos below).

If you're curious, you can find my retouching portfolio here & if you have a project you want to work on together with me, feel free to contact me to discuss things!
 


Photos above: Model Aeons Of Silence with Arion
Photos below: by/for Miss FD
Retouching by me

Client Commission: Skull Special & Osipa

Kim is one of my lovely clients who had booked two specials of mine: one with the epic Skull make-up by Kika Von Macabre & a second special with the design of one of my favorite designers Agnieszka Osipa Couture. I'm finally able to share these results which I'm absolutely in love with! Shooting these special kinds of commissions are one of my favorite things to shoot these days, allowing all the creativity and working to the tiniest details possible.

if you're interested in your own session, I'm taking bookings for the summer! Just contact me through the contact form on here & we can work something out.


Credits

Model - Kim
Halo & Chestpiece - Hysteria Machine
Makeup - Kika Von Macabre
Photography - Sheridan's Art

Credits

Model - Kim
Couture - Agnieszka Osipa
 Makeup - Kika Von Macabre
Photography - Sheridan's Art

Mytholon Lookbook 2017

Shooting for Mytholon

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be posting this blog exactly a year later I wouldn't have believed it. But its here and its real & its awesome!

A while ago I purchased my very first set of armor from Mytholon to start my "Arcadia" series. Due to a simple tag and a message shortly after (followed by many weeks & months of preparations); it happened: I was shooting the catalogue and promotional material for Mytholon. For someone in the fantasy industry & aspiring to progress further; this was a dream coming true! Who else can say they shoot elven warriors and mages for a living right?

After a long casting process, I got to work with some amazing new people and some familiar faces: Alain, Peter , Dorian, Gwen & Loes. The entire wardrobe (except for 2 pieces) is provided by Mytholon ; including all the armor, weapons, staff & details. Only the branches crown from Hysteria Machine for our mage & a simple golden crown from Pendulous Threads aren't from them.

It was one of the biggest challenges ever so far, but in the end it all came together so amazingly and I'm so excited to be finally sharing this set with all of you! I had to keep it under wraps for a while ... soon I should have some of the marketing material featuring my work and I hope to share those shortly as well!  For now, I hope you enjoy!

If you're a designer or brand looking for an unique lookbook like this, please don't hesitate to get in touch! My services are available for a wide variety of budgets and styles.

The Goron Chronicles

The Goron Chronicles

Meet Cornish landlord Goron as he is forced to fight for king Mordred against evil forces threatening the kingdom. After fierce battles on the cornish coast, Goron returns as a true hero. Being jealous of his success Mordred sends out Gwenora, a blue witch, to seduce Goron to the dark side, turning him against his own people. Torn between two worlds, Goron ultimately finds the power to confront Gwenora in an ultimate battle.

Will he succeed ?


This has been a project in the making for many months and one I deeply cherish for it's adventure, meaning, challenge & opportunity. It all started when my warrior "Goron" (aka Wim), turned 50 and decided that he had to celebrate this occassion in a very special way. Before I knew it, I was shooting a real life myth at Tintagel castle, many miles away from Belgium in England under his command.

Aging is something none of us likes to do and seeing how he dealed with it was so absolutely amazing and so inspiring. We called it "dealing with a midlife crisis the good way" and its definitely I'm aspiring to do now as well once I hit those dreaded life-marks!

It all started many months back when my dear friend Saida (you all know her as Ophidia) asked me if I would be interested in shooting her father with the rest of the family in a "Game Of Thrones" styled setting for his birthday. Needless to say, the answer was a big yes and wheels set in motion.

Before I know it, I found myself at their home discussing the details as no effort would be to much: we where going to England, Cornwall to be specific, to shoot the project. Together with me was Kika, who was going to be our makeup mastermind who was invited as well. Fast forward, a purchase of armor later (last-minute) & a bunch of preparations we headed off to Cornwall for an entire week to shoot the series.

It was amazing. Every second of it.  Even though I was also really nervous. I had no clue what to expect, what the locations would be, how I would be able to pull off the story over so many days ... not to mention, would I be able to bring it all together later? What if the shots didnt match up? What if the story didn't unfold? What if I couldn't pull it off technically? What if the weather was bad?

There where so many things yet once we where there, car loaded to the roof with costumes and props, it all started. We shot it over about four days time, ranging from "our backyard" in Fowey to the iconic place Tintagel. Standing at the edge of cliffs watching over what I only have been reading about with my obsession for the celtic & arthurian mythology (I grew up with "mists of avalon" as bedtime story, over & over again).

Shooting it all was breathtaking, in the end. I had so much fun. I pushed my boundaries. Became a hairdresser on the job (I shaved a viking mohawk hairdo on him!) and shot my first fantasy family portrait. I never shot a project this big, this complicated and this intense. And it was awesome. Receiving a call yesterday that they loved the shots was one of the coolest moments of my life, followed by being able to share these results with all of you!

I hope you find this story of "how someone deals with a midlife crisis at 50" equally as inspiring & I hope you love the shots. Below you can find the "outtakes" that they didn't select for the story, but which I'm allowed to share. This was the coolest job I've ever done and I hope more will come over time!

*Find the behind the scenes here*


Credits

Goron & Family (Wim, Daisy, Nando & Saida)
Makeup - Kika Von Macabre
Armor (Leather & Steel), Weapons & Chainmaille - Mytholon
Cloaks - El Costurero Real
Photography & Post-processing: Sheridan's Art
 

Break The Glass

Sometimes you need to break & shatter a little bit before you can see the pressure point that made it all happen. Or two. Or five. Or all over your artistic soul. In the end it doesn't really matter though because it's there. So now what?

It's something I'm struggling with a lot lately.  A day or two ago I reached out on my Instagram about my feelings (or the non-existence off it) as I've been battling something that is not an artblock. I was battling something that goes way deeper and more personal. I didn't "feel" my art anymore. Everything I looked at, new and old that I've created; only showed something like a canvas that all looked the same over and over again. It was hard. It still is hard. I feel like I've lost who I am, what I love and am passionated about and the ability to put those tiny fragments of my soul in each and every piece I create (except for a short few months, I'm still looking back on those because thats where it started to happen and it made me launch *this* thing.

It's fine though. Really. It is. I just realised that. After finally allowing myself to break under all these pressure points and literally looking at all these tiny pieces on the ground in my head. I didn't "lose" myself. I've just grow so much in such a short time as a person but due expectations from personal goals and focussing on the theoretical & administrational side of my business; putting my clients first (with all of my love & attention) and making sure all of that went fine. I'm still living "the old me" and trying to "fit the old me into the new me".

As artist, you grow as much as your artistic style does. A lot. It can be in a short time or a long time; it can be an amazing new insight in a technique. Though if you don't upgrade your vision of what you do with what you have learned, it doesn't work as great because after a few times ... it becomes repetitive.

And you know whats funny? I learned this because right now I'm sick. I had to cancel a reveal today as I'm afraid to contaminate them & a really epic blossom shoot saturday as I couldn't find the materials and I don't have the energy or vibes. However, tomorrow I nééd to be in the studio as it's a big production that involves a two people coming from far, already scheduled for ages ... re-scheduling would be too hard & considering it's a paid job. I just needed to do it as well. We realised that after a 1,5 hour skype call. Sometimes, you just need to push through the pain & crash later with a few liters of green tea and the bioshock collection in front of you.

Now before I continue there is something important I want to (re)tell: as I said before here, I was/am battling some serious issues regarding my creative flow. I don't feel it anymore. Nothing excites me. I don't "get" my light & posing, retouching doesn't fill me with joy. It has become bandwork; neverending; administration is suffocating me & I have so much on my head & heart to make things work. It's not cool & its been going on for a few months increasing in strength. There was just so much going on & my heart couldn't take it anymore.

When I was in the shower, minutes after the skype call I realised something important: I was excited. I felt these amazing little butterflies I always felt before a production when I'm overthinking the "how" and "what" . Posing? Styling? Light? I was covering all that in my head. I was thinking on how to tell the story. And I am excited for it. I'm sitting here with some painkillers against my headach and the first little nibs of food after a rough night yet (I barely ate past day+ because I was so nauseous) . And I am looking forward to tomorrow. Somehow. I don't know how I will get through it, but I will be on set & I am looking forward to it. For the first time in ages.

On my Instagram, someone commented I "should wait for the storm to break the glass" . Maybe, poetically said, I should just become the storm myself. Life isn't a fairytale but I believe that a big part is something we have in our own hands. Mostly: how do we deal with the situations thrown at us? I think thats what the universe has been trying to tell me. Back in England, I encountered a robin twice very close by. The first time when I was shooting on set with beauty Ophidia & I was feeling happy. Simply creating something. The second time was a few days later, after I heard I needed to pay my rent for july (new appartment) in advance & it messed up some plans I had (it was a big bite of my finances I had ready for a series of big projects). That was the "last drop" as we call it and I had a little personal tantrum outside (I did had the most epic view ever though, there are worse places to throw a little tantrum ... haha). And just when I took that deep breath & asked myself if I was doing something wrong myself; the robin appeared in front of me. Inches of where I was sitting, looking at me. For a minute we where just there and it felt like such a sign from above (I'm a sceptical believer in such things) ... it felt so real. Being home now, trying to get things straight, reading my cards the same happened. And now I'm here. Writing this down. Realising, sometimes you don't have to wait for the storm as it's just another excuse. Sometimes, your life is all in your hands and its up to you on how you deal with what life gives you. And I've been doing it all wrong for so long.

I'm still upset I'm sick & nauseous, I'm upset I had to reschedule & I have such a pile of work ahead of me and a household to run. But I can choose to do it and just go for it. Not with the idea of the neverending routine I am in (and thats killing me) but I can look at it from a point of view it's just another day in the life of a freelancer & I can create my little adventures myself. Be it going out with a friend, creating time to game, taking time with family, book a budget trip for a few days. Working on my shoots from scratch & push myself. There is so much I can do. And it shouldn't include feeling the dread of a neverending work of line like a 9-to-5-job I hate & never want to do (and have created for myself) that will kill me. I was stuck in the past & refusing to give up things & ideas I had in my mind.

Being an artist can suck, as we think so much. On the other hand, if you do it right, you can look at life like it's a lifetime series project you can tweak, redesign & revisit. Make moodboard for (you can dump) and revamp. Thats how life is in the end. And we, as artists, can decide how we approach it & make it something beautiful.