-by Andy Dudas
When going through changes in your life sometimes you come across old things about yourself which you had long forgotten. One day you have that, “How did I end up here???” introspection and you begin to wonder how you let yourself fall into a place where you cannot truly identify with your surroundings let alone yourself. In moments like this you may look back to who you used to be or at least who you wanted to be.
Tracing your memory back to when you had different goals. Hopes of becoming this or that. That your life would take you down a certain path only to realize too late you have been meandering down a path the likes your former self would never have imagined possible. At a crossroads…where do you go?
For me, one of things I did was to rekindle my fondness for creating. Anything. I did not set at out with this goal in mind, it just kind of happened. One day I realized, “Hey, I’m making stuff again.” Once my hands were reviving the muscle memory of years gone by and my brain reigniting the neurons of creativity I knew then my life was leading back to the path from years before.
There had always been little dribs and drabs of creativity here and there along the way. Never truly admitting to shutting off that part of my body but also never truly giving it the attention and responsibility that I had allowed myself to ignore. Like a giant stone guardian, dormant for centuries come to life. Slowly but surely and certainly creaky and wobbly in the beginning: my creativity had again become a focal point of my life.
Everyday is now spent creating something. Even if by the time I fall asleep the thing I have created is just more thought about a larger project waiting to be attempted or finished…I have used my energy to create. Now as a middle aged adult, I find creating is giving me everything I subconsciously knew it could.
I owe a large part of this creation rejuvenation to a few people I discovered on YouTube. Having been a fan of Mythbusters for years, one day I managed to navigate to a video from Adam Savage’s Tested channel that changed the direction of the rest of my life. A video of Norm Chan and Evil Ted Smith making a helmet out of foam floor mat material, blew me away. I was enthralled from the start and have yet to come down from that creative high. It’s been over a year now and I can see how this one video quite literally changed my life.
There are many CosPlayers out there with a much larger vault of abilities and talents from which to draw than I possess. Many of them creating their own DIY videos. Some of which have become so successful they have actually made this ‘hobby’ of their’s, their occupation. This led me to Bill and Brit Doran of Punished Props. Watching the process of building armor from foam floor mats allowed the creative seed Norm and Evil Ted planted to grow quite vigorously.
Which led me to Frank Ippolito. Learning about the process of silicon mold making really started to get the wheels turning in my head. “People mold and make stuff? Lightsabers? People make their own realistic Lightsabers???” It was nearly more than I could comprehend. While I have yet to undertake this as a project…someday…someday.
Somewhere along the process, a suggested video from Shop Time popped up. Peter Brown is one of the neatest content creators on YouTube. A wonderfully creative and grounded man whose approach to making has the appropriate amount of devilishly twisted nonsense thrown in to make his channel a rabbit hole to which you could easily lose an entire weekend. I know. I did.
And again, through the suggested videos the next inspiring maker came into my life. Bob Clagett at I Like To Make Stuff. This guy…WOW! A former software guy who has had so much success with his Youtube content he was able to quit his job and walk away. This guy’s job is showing people how to make things…stuff. How awesome is that??? But don’t let his ‘regular’ fare fool you. For as often as he uploads a practical DIY project, Bob can create something every bit as odd and totally unnecessary as Peter Brown. And with that, I give you the Pudding Gun.
All the while, I kept hearing a certain name pop up during these videos. Jimmy Diresta. Take everything Evil Ted, Bill and Brit Doran, Peter Brown, Frank Ippolito, and Bob Clagett put into their videos, combine them into one master artist…you get Jimmy Diresta. I cannot adequately put into words how in awe of this man’s artistic and creative talents I am. It truly seems there is nothing he cannot make.
Each of the people I have listed in this blog have had a profound influence and impact on not just my artistic tendencies, but in all honesty my life. By finding a path back to my Art, I have found the person I really wanted to be all along. But of all these inspiring people and this path back to my creativity, none of it would be happening without my wife. Amy supplies me with the energy from which I breathe. Together, she and I created the Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts. DIVA is alive because we are together. We inspire each other. Find the people in the world that inspire you. Be the person someone else looks to for inspiration.
Inspire. Create. Build. Make.
Andy Dudas 11/8/2017
Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making. Pretty much anything that has a creative element. Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks. Always seeking his next inspiration.