By Mei-Mei Arms, III Form
Northern Pacific Seastar Asterias amurensis & My Zone as an Artist
This seastar originated in Japan, Korea, China and Russia, about 20-40 metres deep off the coasts of these countries. It was introduced by the ballast waters of cargo ships as they returned from these countries and used ocean water to replace the weight of cargo. They can reproduce without the aid of another sea star and can multiply in the thousands. Due their rough exterior, the Northern Pacific Seastar does not have many natural enemies. Their larvae are so small that we cannot find a way to capture them and nothing appears to eat them at that stage in their life cycle. The Sea stars eat crustaceans and due to their numerous population, when they enter a new area, their numbers can wipe out the whole population of crustaceans. They can break off limbs and these limbs can grow in to new Sea Stars, but this process does take years.
Art for me is just like any of my other hobbies. When I begin working on a project, I move in stages. I tend to start out enthusiastic and ready for the new challenge, diving in head first. Then, around my third or fourth hour of work over an expanse of many days, I start to get lazy and feel physical and mental fatigue. Being relatively new to serious art classes, I often find myself having to calm myself down and truly zero-in on what I am rendering, whether it be with a pencil, paint, or a black felt tip pen. After some time – maybe half an hour to about an hour of working – I find myself pulled into what I am doing, feeling really “in the zone.” As I near the end of projects, I get very critical of myself, double and triple checking that everything is the way I want it to be.
Usually when I am done I have a feeling of accomplishment, followed by self-doubt. In truth, I am the type of person who loves when someone says something along the lines of “that’s really good”. Then again, who does not love that? Who does not feel a sense of confirmation when someone recognizes the hours of hard work a person has spent working on something he or she really cares about? It is very important that people remember that no matter what it is he or she does – art, music, sports, etc. – everyone has moments of pure confidence, self-doubt, and moments where they think quitting would be easier, but nothing beats the moment when a person perseveres through it and he or she finally gets that “ah-ha” moment. This moment could be when a person finally sees what it is he or she was not rendering right, why he or she was not making that shot, or when he or she hits every note perfectly. Go out there and age quod agis, do what you do, and do it with everything you have got!