Hello and welcome to Part 4 of Bata Neart Begins.
By the end of 2006, I had been a few months back from living in China. Furthermore, Bata Neart’s first shot at publication had been and gone. Artistically, I had started to feel like I was falling into some kind of limbo. I did continue drawing Bata Neart pages in the hope that I would need all of that material some time in the future (Which it turns out, I did – Thank you Past-Me!)
Living in China did have an affect on me, and it drastically changed how I would view my artistic future. After China, I had scrapped all ideas or plans about going to Japan, and this was down to one simple factor…racism. I can’t spin that word in any way to make it seem less negative, but which ever way I looked at it I found a lot of people in that part of the world seemed to have a somewhat biased view of Westerners, and their abilities.
I don’t mean this in an extremely negative way, the Chinese in particular were very nice to me and also to the other foreign teachers who lived there. But behind that niceness I sensed a general impression that foreigners such as myself, were seen to belong to a race of grinning morons. This went so far as for some to say that foreigners ‘could not learn Chinese’ due to it being ‘too hard for them’. Chinese was difficult to learn, but not impossible for this blogger.
This impression of them may have had more to do with China’s media networks and perhaps the area I lived in, than the Chinese people as a whole. I know this for a fact, since I befriended many people from China who do not display such ignorance. But the experience I had with this, convinced me that if I were to make anything of myself and my art….I would have to do it back in Europe, and not in East Asia. Thus, Japan was out of the question.
On returning to Ireland, I set forth to look for work. Being a 20-something graduate in Ireland (without connections), is not a good thing. It wasn’t good back in 2006, it wasn’t good when I emigrated from Ireland, and it most likely still isn’t now. It wasn’t good, because although one would be qualified and willing, employers would simply ignore you mostly due to one’s age. 20-somethings were often regarded as unreliable binge-drinking tossers who were only good for taking phone calls and fetching coffee. With my IT Degree (which was pretty damn good BTW), the best IT job I could muster was phone Tech Support. During this time,the first sparks of my office comedy ‘ Back Office’ had also started to appear.
Exactly what I should do with myself became a bit of a personal issue. I still harbored thoughts of making something more of Bata Neart, and I had even made serious moves to go to study animation in college. However, a voice in the back of my head was warning me of the future. It knew that a recession was coming, and in early 2007 I scrapped my plan to study animation, and began to look for work abroad.
I had originally planned to move to Germany, mostly because I had liked the country nearly every time I had visited, and I certainly could have seen myself living there. But the fact that I had never learned German made it impossible for me to secure a single interview. Thankfully, another option come to me by way of a friend from my college days named Kathrin. In 2007 she had moved to Norway to start a family there, and on paying a visit to her in Norway later on, I was reminded of my time as a student there. Norway became an option, and with advice and support from my friend I hunted for work on the Norwegian market. After months of interviewing, I somehow became successful.
And so, I emigrated from Ireland to Norway, and onto the final Part of Bata Neart Begins…