I should have written this at Christmas, but I guess New Year’s is as good a time as any.
I have been thinking lately about the world and my place in it. I have often felt like I am missing something. Missing a piece of myself, that I used to have.
I’ve had a few discussions in the past few months with friends about the way the world is. How we, the whole world, abuse and misuse technology. We have a plethora of knowledge at our fingertips; we have the ability to make global contact in a way that was never possible before. And we use it to focus on ourselves.
13-year-olds have $600 iPhones that they want a new model of the next year. They are obsessed with the number of likes they can get on their latest selfie. The number of friends on their Facebook page is drastically exaggerated from the number of people they actually spend face-to-face time with. Followers become more important than real life companions. The vast majority of people are spoiled by the ease of technology and unappreciative of the tangible things in our lives.
I remember one of my fondest Christmas memories. It was waking up and walking into the living room, where the lights of the tree lit up the room in that classic Christmas rainbow, to see the wall lined with plastic snow sleds for each of my six siblings. They couldn’t have cost my parents more than $20 a piece, tops – and yet they remain one of my favorite gifts. The magic of seeing those sleds, of sharing those memories with my siblings, cannot be compared to any self-obsessing gadget today. Those were gifts which encouraged sharing memories with others. Now, we give gifts that encourage isolation.
The year I got my computer was a really big deal for me, and my family. With so many siblings, each year only one of us would get THE “big gift” of the year, and we never knew who it was going to be. It was always saved for last. All morning, we were opening gifts and I had no idea that the giant box in the corner was for me – I didn’t even look to see who it was for. And when it came to the end and my parents told me to open it, I could not have been more appreciative. It wasn’t just a computer. It was the gift of privacy – something that, with six siblings, I knew to be a precious commodity. It was the gift of love – I knew that computer could not have come cheap and my family was not made of money. I was gifted the ability to come into my own through this piece of technology that was my very own, and no one elses. This clunky piece of metal and plastic that would be frowned at by kids now-a-days.
I was given the gift of being able to tap into my writing, late at night when I couldn’t sleep (which was often). No longer did I have to wait until morning, because the family computer was in my parents room where they were sleeping. Now, I could turn on music, in the privacy of my room, and write until my eyes were stinging from the blue glow of the screen. Then I would crawl into bed and fall asleep, satisfied at what I had just created. I was given the gift to communicate with my best friend, who lived in Canada (this was long, long before I owned a cell phone). And you know what? I loved that thing to death. Literally. I loved it and lugged it through every move until it just wouldn’t turn on anymore. It was a source of knowledge, of creativity, of making friendships with people overseas that are still in my life today. For maybe eight years, or more, that computer was my everything, in a very positive way. I only had social media for the last year of its life, before social media blew up into the monster it is now. So I never associated that computer with all the garbage there is today. It was creativity and privacy and mine.
Unfortunately for the laptop I own now, faithful companion that it is, I have been unappreciative. It is a thing of distraction, of mindless internet browsing. I love a good cat video as much as the next person, but the number of creative documents I have written on this computer pales drastically in comparison to my first computer. I abuse and misuse my laptop now. I can access the internet on my phone, I work on a desktop all day at work, so I hardly touch my own computer anymore.
But that is something I want to change. I want to make a difference, and not just in my own life, but in others. I need to find my own inspiration again so I can inspire others. The internet, for all of its faults, holds a vast world of inspiration from other people just like me – people I connected with on my first computer, all those years ago.
I am not a doctor or a scientist – I cannot cure disease or save lives. But I am an artist. I can inspire, which can remind people that there are things worth living for.
I believe in love and beauty, and I can share that. I want to share that.
I like this more solid style better than the previous, softer blended cat, so I’m going to re-do the first one. I should be done with this project this week so then I will become more committed to having good entries for Punday!
I have been working on some cats for a freelance project and finally got around to coloring one of them!
Colored in Photoshop.
Remember that time I said I was going to blog more and share more of my creative work? And I never did?
Well this time, I’m here to keep the promise! Well, sort of. I’m at least going to give you a sneak peek into a piece I’ve been working on. It’s for a client, for work, so I cannot show you the full thing, but I thought I’d share an in progress photo of some hand-illustrated typography I was working on.
I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge and creativity of illustration typography, however, and it’s great practice to finally start working on my wedding invitations! (8 months to go…)
So stay posted for that…
It’s been a whirlwind of a month, but I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the opening reception of the Student Scholarship exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in NYC, in which my illustration was a finalist. It was super surreal to see one of MY pieces hanging in an exhibit in NYC. I did not win any awards at the reception, but it was fantastic to be there and I’m really honored and humbled.
I took terrible photos (it was a very crazy, chaotic 24 hours that I was there) but fortunately, some of my former classmates traveled to NYC last week and they stopped in at the museum. One of my former teachers took these photos of my piece, and I am very happy to have nice, quality photos of it hanging in the gallery!
I also happened to be BACK up in NYC over Memorial Day weekend to attend a few Broadway shows with my sister. We saw Cabaret (with Alan Cumming!) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (with Neil Patrick Harris!). I love Cabaret, and I was so excited to be able to see Alan Cumming reprise the role (and he stood like 4 feet from me in the audience!) but… I was especially excited to see Hedwig. My first tattoo, on my hip, was the Origin of Love symbol used in the film. The show.. blew away my mind and both elated and destroyed my heart. The movie is fantastic, and I was skeptical that the show would give the same feels. But Oh. My. God. The show blew the movie out of the water. It was meant to be a stage show. Everything made so much sense. NPH played both the role of Hedwig and Tommy and after seeing that, I had a metaphorical head slap moment of going, “Of course he plays both roles. It makes so much sense! It’s his other half! He is his other half, is other half is him.” I still adore the movie, and I immediately watched it the first night I got back, but I don’t think anything will come close to what the show made me feel.
I love NYC and I have enjoyed my time up there this past month, but it’s also a city that really stresses me out. And it’s expensive. I’m looking forward to a few trips and visits this summer, but keeping it fairly low key from here on out. It’s very hard to save for a wedding when you’re traveling. Time to simmer down.
I saw this typography piece on Etsy today and really liked it.
It’s so true with me that I always put off drawing because I’m not happy with the direction it’s going and I abandon it. But the reality is that I need to draw something, every day, even if it sucks. Especially if it sucks. Because what our parents always said is cliche, but true – practice makes perfect. Just like with any other skill, you lose your drawing abilities when you aren’t drawing every day.
So for me, the hardest part is getting over that hump of being defeated because my sketches lately aren’t up to par with what I know I can do.
I’m hoping to make progress with this, though. Life is hopefully settling down a bit – after more than a month of searching and 20-some apartment viewings, we FINALLY found a place. We will be moving mid-April and although now I have to somehow figure out how to clean and pack among family visiting from out of town next weekend and us going away the following weekend, I’m hoping free time may be in my future!
The hard part will be convincing myself to be productive with that free time. Seeing as how I spent 8 hours watching Bates Motel on Netflix yesterday and am already on my second Disney film of the day today. (See my previous post for how I like to spend my weekends.)