Monday, 6 April 2015

growing old disgracefully

Still flat out. Juggling on-line study, lecturing duties and fitting in a surf at every opportunity. Who'd have thought this time, after 8 years of relentless effort to finish my PhD, would end up being yet another intense learning period. I have been catapulted into a world of saturated colour, typography, digital software and a whole new way of looking at the world. For someone of my vintage this has to be a good thing, right - if learning fends off altzheimer's then things are looking good for me in my dotage.
I don't expect any sympathy - it's clearly my own fault - my decision. But I have to defend myself - I am now of an age considered by many to be 'too old', 'dispensible' and probably even 'surplus to requirements' in a clamouring workforce. But dammit, my motto is: 'evolve or die' and I'm not  ready to give up just yet. It's a matter of necessity as much as anything - the retirement age is a goal post that keeps getting moved further away every year. Even if I wanted to retire I couldn't - I am going to need to keep working.

Unfortunately the graphic design industry seems to be a young person's domain. I teach in that field and I wonder how much longer I can stay there. If the funding holds out, my university lecturer duties at least allow me to be 'old and wise', but in the commercial digital media age I get the impression that anyone over 40 should move over and think seriously about retiring. Except that my generation is the first to wholeheartedly reject the 'generation gap' and insists on growing old disgracefully.
I accept that life has it's own rhythms and stuff happens I can't control. But until or unless that happens - for those of you who think I should lay down and die - sorry kids, it's a big 'fuck you'.

images: some of my latest work - Photoshop, Illustrator and vector self-portrait (top).


  1. I'm also continuously trying to learn new skills as a means of fighting off dementia. Also, because more skills allow you to do more stuff.

    Now if only there was something I could do to fight of urinary incontinence.

    I like the self portrait. As soon as the hair loaded I knew what it was. Very nice indeed.

    It seems odd to me that there would be such an age bias in graphic design. I would have assumed there'd be plenty of us old farts floating about. Then again, I guess a lot of painted stuff has been replaced with photo compositing. Has that got anything to do with it, I wonder?

    That reminds me, looking at comicbooks, cartoons, magazines, posters, billboards, etc, etc; do you reckon that the commercial sector as a whole has lost some fundamental drawing skills in the name of style and expression over the last 40 years? As I teacher, I thought you might be a good person to ask about this.

  2. Thanks, yep, that's my hair. Anyone would think I was a Leo because I kind of have a 'hair' thing going on :)

    I actually thought you were a young person. That's the beauty of the internet - I am chatting with all of these young fellow online students and they have no idea I am so much older than they are. I don't care if they know, now that they know me. But I do know that many young people write you off if you are over 30!!! At least on initial contact.

    I think the Taoists have some vaginal exercises that will help sort out urinary incontinence.

    Re the drawing thing - yes, as a skill it has been devalued generally, but in the world of graphic design, those who can draw well mainatin a level of staus and respect from what I have experienced. This Lynda tute expresses the prevailing canon in the reputable graphic design schools: 'Graphic design tutorial: The importance of drawing'

    I have a blog called 'Art Geek'. I don't know if you are following it but it is the 'graphic design' part of me. The link is on my Scriptoreum blog. I am going to try and post more often, seeing as that is where my attentions are focused at the moment. Do you have a blog yet??

  3. I heard years ago that I should be doing pelvic-floor exercises. Pity I didn't listen at the time.

    It's interesting to hear that about drawing. It's something I've been noticing for a long time; like more and more commercial artists were skipping the very basics. But I wasn't sure if it was a real thing or some combination of nostalgia and confirmation bias.

    I shall subscribe to your other blog. I think last time it came up, you said you hadn't been updating it, so I didn't bother. As for me, I still haven't been sketching. I've been overwhelmed with fiddly little jobs as of late.

  4. Yes, I wasn't quite ready to 'come out' previously Alex, but now that I am more into the graphic design course, I feel more comfortable about posting some work.

    I don't think it is ever too late for pelvic floor exercises.

  5. Oh God, I've just returned to your blog Michelle and we are onto pelvic floor exercises.
    Which is awesome I hasten to add.

    I do love your new 'hair' pic. Like Alex wrote, you are instantly recognisable.

  6. Thanks Sarah. Highly stylised hair though :)

  7. we are onto pelvic floor exercises. Which is awesome I hasten to add.

    Do you have experience with such things, Sarah? Can you speak to their effectiveness? Any tips or advice?

  8. Well, a good fap before breakfast will keep your innards in line.

  9. Serious? Well, that might acutally explain some things.

    … I'm assuming "fap" only has one meaning.

  10. I have no idea what anyone is talking about.