Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy halloween everyone!  I'll be spending Halloween night sitting in the airport waiting for my 1am flight to Indonesia!  Crazy!

Anyway, enjoy this quick digital paint and I'll see you in a few weeks!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cthulhu t-shirts

So I just read "At the Mountains of Madness" by H.P. Lovecraft, and decided to re-read some of his other work and got on a Cthulhu kick, and decided to print up some Cthulhu shirts.  So I basically abandoned everything else for a good couple of hours and banged out a new shirt design.

EDIT:  Come check out our "kickstarter" campaign that we're running ourselves over at: http://www.monkeyandseal.com/shop/cthulhu.html for fun videos as well as more swag!

"Cthulhu Fhtagn"

ANYWAY, so I decided to run a super quick pre-sale to see if anyone was interested in actually buying this, so I'm offering it at $16.00 + $3 s/h + tax (US orders only for now, if you're international, email me).  It's Alternative Apparel, so the sizes go from S-3XL (2XL and 3XL are $17, sorry, they charge me more for larger shirts).  The sizing chart is below.  One last thing - the exact color of green might not be 100% matchy-matchy...you know, monitor color calibrations, matching silkscreen inks, etc. etc.


Just FYI, if enough people are into this design over the weekend and order, after I get back the price is going up to $20 + s/h + tax and all that, so get yours before the Monday deadline!



So all shirts ordered by Monday at noon (10/24) will be shipped out on Saturday, 10/29.  I'll be out of the country after that, so any orders made after Monday won't go out until November 16th or so, depending on my jetlag recovery.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New art, stickers

So I finally updated the painting section on www.rickkitagawa.com to include the Alone in the Dark series (thus far) and added some flavor text.  Cool.


This was a painting I did while hanging out at Artspan.  Acrylic on canvas.  The original concept was that he was going to be some creature that sort of fades up into the sky, but I ended up really wanted to paint the background blue, then went with the complementary contrast color scheme and did orange.  So now, he's just a burning mummy sort of "fading up" into the sky, but only via flames, and less ethereal planeshifting.



Also, I have stickers!  They're 2.75" x 2.75".  You can pick them up (for free) at Big Umbrella Studios, or paypal me $1 (or more if you want) and I'll send you a few.    You can also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Rick Kitagawa c/o Big Umbrella Studios, Attn: Create or Die,  906.5 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94115.  Cool.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Witch

Did this painting on the A-frame sign that we use for Big Umbrella in honor of the Witches of Wonder show that opened Friday night and runs through November 11th.  Eve has two great paintings in it, and there is a lot of other cool work too!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Defending the Homeland

Digital quick sketch. "Defending the homeland."

Morquat turned back to the last remaining defenders. 'I need more time!!" He quickly returned to focusing his energies on the task at hand - the last remaining bridge. Morquat could feel the heat of the plasma as it flew but a few feet overhead. As he closed his eyes to focus on channeling the forest energy, he heard the unearthy howl of the lumbering beast just yards away. He wondered if the plasma bolts were doing anything but enraging the invader further..





So Eve got a subscription to the Gnomon workshops, and after watching one where Scott Roberts uses markers and overlays them on top of each other to get weird compositions for landscapes, I sort of tweaked it using a mix of digital and traditional media to get a basic shape, then figured out a story (and of course, carved out a monster).  It's not a lot different from the process I outlined in my monster book for my monster sketches, so it was really natural for me to work this way.


I'm definitely looking forward to learning some new techniques to improve my art as a whole.  Cool.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Condriano

"Condriano" Acrylic on wood


After a few weeks of being completely swamped with ye old retail job, silkscreen printing, and stuff for the gallery, I finally got a bit of a break to do some work for myself.

I did the initial design in my sketchbook, then used it as reference to bang out this painting in a night.

In other news, I think I'm going to be nutso busy until the end of the year.  I've got a small group show at a shop in the Haight next week or so, we've got the Alternative Press Expo on October 1+2 (stop by Monkey + Seal, booth #532), I'll be live painting on October 8th from 1-4 at Flax, I'm also doing Open Studios at Big Umbrella on Oct 8+9, I'll be live screenprinting at Urban Bazaar on October 16, and I'll be part of a show at Eth-No-Tec on October 29th.

Pretty crazy, but it's a good crazy, so I'm excited for October. Oh yeah, I also quit my job at the retail spot, and tomorrow is my last day!  Time to do the scary dance of doing art for a living 100%.  Nutso!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update

Ug, sorry little bloggy, no love for you, apparently.

In other news, I just finished live painting at 111 Minna for a fundraiser/awareness raising campaign about sharks.  I painted a Jaguar Shark (from the Life Aquatic).  Will post pics soon.

Also, people seemed to be really into the Alone in the Dark paintings I did for the "Evilest Place on Earth" show for the gallery.  Once again, pics soon.

Finally, I'm thinking about trying to get together a small little book of monsters.  I won't have it in time for the SF Zine Fest (SOOO SOOON!!  Sept. 3+4), but I might be able to get it done in time for APE.  Not sure, but I'll try.  Yay!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Birthday t-shirts



Hey friends, these are the two designs that I'll be printing at my birthday party.  Honey Badger will be printed in white ink, and PeliCAN will be printed in black ink (so bring your shirts accordingly, depending on what you want).

If you'd like me to get some shirts (at wholesale prices), email me, or FB message me, or get a hold of me in some way by JULY 19th and I can get you the color shirts shown here.  No pressure, just wanted to offer it if you want American Apparel shirts :)  See ya at the party!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monster sketches

Monster design - all photoshop.  Woo!



Monday, July 4, 2011

Trust 30 carries on

So while I totally f'd up and got lazy at the end started working on other personal development projects towards the end, I did go back and finish all the Trust 30 topics, and wow, a month went by already?

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'll keep going, but I have learned a lot and hope to start posting more here and in general about life, art, etc. etc.

So for one last trust 30, I'll go with the topic by Seth Godin and talk about something that happened on my birthday.  According to Google search results, not much happened, but the things of note that happened was that Iron Maiden played a show in Texas.  Actually, something a bit more interesting is that Reagan nominated Frederick M. Bernthal to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Committee.  I did a quick google search on that guy, but does anyone have any idea of how terrible he was (only based on the fact that Reagan nominated him)??

Fault and Change

I already know that it's all my fault!  So.  How am I approaching it?  I have to make hard decisions and put in the work that I don't want to do in order to change it.  I have to face my fears, take risks, do whatever it takes to pull through and make my life as awesome as I want it.  It's called taking ownership, and it's time to make it happen by taking small, focused, forward steps towards the goal line.  Let's get to work!


Think of all the things that are not working in your life. That job you don’t like, that relationship that’s not working, those friends that annoy you. Now turn them all on you. Imagine that everything that’s not working in your life, is your fault. How would you approach it? What would you work on to change your life to the state that you want it to be?
(Author: Carlos Miceli)

Image

I actually feel like I don't really care, but I think this is due to me walking naked in a parade in Berkeley before, and always dressing up in weird costumes for parties, and generally being an attention hog.  Whether or not it's a good or bad picture, I think just wanting more attention has always been my thing, and perhaps being a weirdo is actually more who I really am than anyone cool or composed.



Mess up your hair. If you are wearing makeup – smudge it. If you have a pair of pants that dont really fit you – put them on. Put on a top that doesn’t go with those pants. Go to your sock drawer. Pull out two socks that don’t match. Different lengths, materials, colors, elasticity.
Now two shoes. You know the drill.
Need to add more? Ties? Hair clips? Stick your gut out? I trust you to go further.
Take a picture.
Get ready to post it online.


Are you feeling dread? Excitement? Is this not the image you have of yourself? Write about the fear or the thrill that this raises in you? Who do you need to look good for and what story does it tell about you? Or why don’t you care?

(Author: Matthew Stillman)

10 Year Text

"If you just stick with it, you'll make it.  And turn off the videogames."

I'm going to limit the amount of time I spend on games to 1 hour a day, and I'm going to use the time given to me to make sure that my entrepreneurial ventures work.


Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?
(Author: Tia Singh)

Overcoming Fear

Major Life Goal: Becoming an illustrator for Magic:the Gathering/Wizards of the Coast

Fears/Uncertainties about why I haven't taken action:
1.  Fear of rejection/lack of skill
2.  Fear of being kicked out of my house
3.  Fear of not getting my art made into a card

Reasons for each fear:
1.  Fear of rejection/lack of skill
 - There is a high level of talent for those currently illustrating the game now
 - I'm worried that my portfolio isn't good enough right now
 - I don't have much of this sort of work under my belt

2.  Fear of being kicked out of my house
 - If I spend a lot of time working on a new portfolio, I'll lose out on other, more pressing income opportunities
 - I don't know how long it would take me to paint a whole new portfolio
 - I need a job now

3.  Fear of not getting my art made into a card
 - What if they just give me a kill fee since they end up not liking the final artwork?
 - My style might not be what they're looking for
 - Irrational fear of not measuring up

Well, the answer to most of these is to keep painting stuff on the side and learn to like my art regardless of what other people think.  huzzah!


Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”
(Author: Sean Ogle)

Personal Recipe

The type of person I'd never want to be 5 years from now is someone who is uncaring, unartistic, and a general grump.  He'd be demanding and would yell a lot and wouldn't be with Eve.  He would probably go out and party to excess all the time and never do anything creative.  He'd also be living in Stockton with his  parents and would be working a retail job in Stockton.

Oh god, the horror.  To prevent this, follow the recipe as below:
-make sure you draw or paint daily.  Even if it's a little doodle or something small or its just putting paint on the canvas, make sure you do something.  If you don't do either of these things, make sure you that write for a good hunk of time.
-take action.  do at least one thing that will further you along your way to accomplishing self-employment through the arts.  Eventually, if you keep doing one thing daily, you'll make it.
-Keep your eye on the prize.  Figure out what you want, so your goal is clear enough to shoot for.
-Make sure you cherish Eve.  She's the most important person in your life and don't you forget it!!
-Be thankful.  Right before you go off to bed (and/or when you get up), think of one thing you're thankful for.  It'll keep your heart in the right place.
-Limit your time on Facebook and with videogames.  Use a timer if you can't exercise self-control.
-Be happy about your work.  No one is the final arbiter of your work/your life's value besides YOU.


Think about the type of person you’d NEVER want to be 5 years from now. Write out your own personal recipe to prevent this from happening and commit to following it. “Thought is the seed of action.”
(Author: Harley Schreiber)

alive-est

I most recently felt the most alive when I was at our gallery show The Undiscovered.  I was at a tiny little gallery/smoke shop in the mission and was surrounded by friends and supporters.  There wasn't really any smell, besides wood and maybe a little bit of sweat, but I was constantly talking with friends about my work and just hanging out and happy that people were deeply pondering the Secret of Deadbrook.


When did you feel most alive recently? Where were you? What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience? Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it’s time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand.
(Author: Sam Davidson)

Call to Arms

Over the next 12 months we're going to focus on turning Monkey + Seal into major players in the art market.  Over the next five years, we expect to be household names for artists with books, toys, and many other licensing deals signed or in progress.

Over the upcoming months, we're going to do our usual round of conventions and fairs, but make sure that we leave an impression.  Zine Fest, APE, and Baz Biz Holiday are all going to be huge events for us.  We'll release a comic by APE, hopefully a new zine by the Zine Fest, and more of everything by the holiday season.

This next year we'll focus more on seasonal opportunities  - next May and June will be big for ties for graduates and fathers.  We'll use August and October to build up interest in monsters and our books.  Late January and early February will be a great opportunity to tell ladies and gents that their male partners would look great in a tie.

We'll also explore more venues for sales, including becoming licensed SF street artists and increasing our areas of exposure by pursuing more wholesale venues.  Aquariums, both domestic and international, as well as bike shops, SF-specific gift shops, will be new opportunities for selling our products.

LETS DO ITTTTT!!!!!!!





What if today, right now, no jokes at all, you were actually in charge, the boss, the Head Honcho. Write the “call to arms” note you’re sending to everyone (staff, customers, suppliers, Board) charting the path ahead for the next 12 months and the next 5 years. Now take this manifesto, print it out somewhere you can see, preferably in big letters you can read from your chair.
You’re just written your own job description. You know what you have to do. Go!
(bonus: send it to the CEO with the title “The things we absolutely have to get right – nothing else matters.”)
(Author: Sasha Dichter)

Intuition

My intuition would look like a dragon made out of flames and scorched rock.  The first thing he'd tell me is that I need to be less scared and face my fears.  Hmm, good advice.


If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?
(Author: Susan Piver)

Courage to Connect

Hmm, not sure about anyone I'm rally dying to connect with.  Maybe...hmm, I feel like I'm fortunately enough to be in a place where there's no one I'm really dying to connect with, or maybe I just don't know the right people to want to connect with.


Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.
(Author: David Spinks)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Enthusiasm

To be totally excited about it, I think I need to believe that it's meaningful, awesome work.  To bring even more enthusiasm, I need to know deep down that my work is interesting and that people like it.  I suffer from such a debilitating self-doubt, especially being around so many other great artists that I need to figure out how to deal with this so I can really fall in love my my work again and make something worthwhile.



“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” is a great line from Emerson. If there’s no enthusiasm in what you do, it won’t be remarkable and certainly won’t connect with people on an emotional basis. But, if you put that magic energy into all of your work, you can create something that touches people on a deeper level. How can you bring MORE enthusiasm into your work? What do you have to think or believe about your work to be totally excited about it? Answer it now.
(Author: Mars Dorian)

You Know

"What do I know about this?"  I know a lot of stuff, actually.  Time to go and think about it - perfect for spending the day reflecting and trying to heal my self-flagellating need to be perfect and naturally gifted at everything in the world.



We live in a society of advice columns, experts and make-over shows. Without even knowing it, you can begin to believe someone knows better than you how to live your life. Someone might know a particular something better – like how to bake a three-layer molten coconut chocolate cake or how to build a website – but nobody else on the planet knows how to live your life better than you. (Although one or two people may think they do.) For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”
(Author: Jen Louden)

Speak Less

My various graphic novels.  What's stopping me?  All the various other projects that I also have been thinking about but haven't made progress on.  My list is pretty long, including getting wholesale orders up (need to take photos, design packaging, do research on buyers, etc.), finishing the paintings for people (just time), and working on my "Alone in the Dark" series.

All are being preceeded by the need to finish this e-book that I'm working on to battle my Impostor Syndrome and feel right about myself.

What would happen if I actually went and did it?  I would tired due to lack of sleep, but I probably would get a lot of shit done.  Hmmmmm...


I once received a fortune cookie that read: “Speak less of your plans, you’ll get more done.” What’s one project that you’ve been sitting on and thinking about but haven’t made progress on? What’s stopping you? What would happen if you actually went for it and did it?
(Author: Laura Kimball)

Facing (and Fearing)

1.  The cost of inaction is getting stuck, slowly withering away at an unfulfilling job that isn't making much money.  I'll grow old and be forever stuck at this level of poopiness. I'll work retail at least for the next five years and be stuck there potentially until I'm at least 50 or so.

2.  The type of person I want to be is someone who is courageous, intelligent, and successful.  I want to be someone who calls my own shots and waits for no one else but myself.

3.  In the event of failure, which could be a total loss of income resulting in being evicted, the only possibly outcome is that I might have to move someplace else and break up with Eve and basically lose everything.  I guess completely starting your life over, in debt, and in a new city might be a good thing, but honestly, not sure if it is.



Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:
1) “What are the costs of inaction?” I find it can be helpful to fight fear with fear. Fears of acting are easily and immediately articulated by our “lizard brains” (thanks Seth) e.g. what if I fail? what if I look stupid? If you systematically and clearly list the main costs of inaction, they will generally overshadow your immediate fears.
2) “What kind of person do I want to be?” I’ve found this question to be extremely useful. I admire people who act bravely and decisively. I know the only way to join their ranks is to face decisions that scare me. By seeing my actions as a path to becoming something I admire, I am more likely to act and make the tough calls.
3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alterative positive outcome?” Imagine yourself failing to an extreme. What could you learn or do in that situation to make it a positive experience? We are generally so committed to the results we seek at the outset of a task or project that we forget about all the incredible value and experience that comes from engaging the world proactively, learning, and improving our circumstances as we go along.
(Author: Dan Andrews)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A/B Comparison

Actually, it's more of an "1 vs A" comparison.  I like the idea that came up in an old Futurama episode, where neither of two parallel universes wanted to be "2" or "B," so there was a Universe A and a Universe 1.

Anyway, which of the two do you like better?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Actual art update!

So I'm working on a creature design for a competition.  Any critiques/suggestions by Sunday afternoon would be super helpful.  Weeeee!

I guess the concept of what I'm going for might be helpful.  So the idea is that it's this giant beast (~300 ft. or so) and it's the embodiment of all life in a sort of "embrace-the-entire-cycle-especially-death" type of life.  I wanted to represent as many of the different kingdoms as possible - thus the amphibians, animal, plant, and fungus parts.

Just so you know where I plan to go with this - finish the spiky "teeth" parts on all the flytrap heads, maybe more leaves and smaller vines whipping about, the glowing pods on all the mushrooms, and maybe cooling down the background and warming up the beast as a whole?

What do you think?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dreams

Top 3 dreams:
-1. Showing at top-tier galleries internationally
-2. Illustrating for Magic:the Gathering
-3. Having to hire people to print ties for me due to having wholesale orders in the thousands

What's holding me back?
Not having a spare $200,000 for the loans.  Not having a portfolio of Magic:the Gathering-level stuff.  Not promoting my ties outside of San Francisco.  A day job that prevents me from working on these goals in a timely  manner.  Not making new packaging for my ties.  Not having a linesheet yet.  Fear.  Being too tired to work on the shared Wacom during the evenings.  Fear, again.


Write down your top three dreams. Now write down what’s holding you back from them.
(Author: Michael Rad)

Write about your future

My future is pretty grand.  I get to sleep in most days until noon.  I paint and print ties for a living.  I'm showing internationally, and my biggest stress is making sure that I'm getting my paintings framed in time to ship to Tokyo and London or New York.  My art is selling for thousands of dollars per painting, and I get to travel around the world to sell at Cons, and craft fairs.  I hire a small team of awesome sellers to sell for me when there are conflicting craft shows, and my student loans are all paid off.  I've travelled to Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and am planning trips to Africa and South America.

I have a few Magic:the Gathering cards underneath my belt and get asked to guest teach/lecture at various art events.  I've also juried the Spectrum annual and the NY Society of Illustrator's annual (after winning golds in both).

Eve and I had our gigantic, epic wedding, and we now live in our house/studio that we own in San Francisco, although we're thinking about also getting an apartment or condo in New York and LA, since I have to travel over there so much.


A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
My favorite quote of all time is Alan Kay: ‘In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.’ I am all about inventing the future. Decide what you want the future to be and make it happen. Because you can. Write about your future now.
(Author: Cindy Gallop)



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wholly Strange and New


I think the only time I really felt like I was starting life over was from jr. high to high school.  All my best friends from the time were going to different high schools, and while I had classmates going to the same program as me, I wasn't really friends with them.

It was interesting, as I could practically reinvent myself, and there wasn't any legacy telling me who I should be or what to do.  While I've made some other big transitions in life, (ie high school to college, starting a corporate job, going back to art school), I've always had friends or partners there for me to keep me grounded in what had gone before.

In that transition, I guess I sort of broke out of my other, more popular friends' shadows and started coming into my own.  I ended up playing sports, dating people, running clubs, running for homecoming king - it wasn't the worst of times, and I think that experience of being able to really start being myself allowed me to create the foundation that lets me thrive today.


---
Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?
Write about that moment. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, let the miracle play out in your mind’s eye and write about that moment in your future.
(Author: Bridget Pilloud)

One Goal

One goal I've had for about 15+ years or so is to be a Magic:the Gathering illustrator.  Even when I first started playing in elementary school, I've always loved the card artwork, and half the fun of playing the game was looking at the cards.

How am I going to do this then? I'm going to work to create a portfolio of 15 highly flushed out, fantastic illustrations and then email the guys who work at Wizards of the Coast (I got their cards from Revelations a few years back) and hope that they still work there.  If not, I'll dig around in forums for contact info until I can find someone who works there who can put my stuff in front of an AD's nose.

If I still don't get a job, I'll keep working the portfolio and keep submitting.  Bam, done.


Take a moment, step back from your concerns, and focus on one thing: You have one life to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted. Sounds simple, but when you really focus on it, let it seep into your consciousness, you realize you only have about 100 years to get every single thing you’ve ever wanted to do. No second chances. This is your only shot. Suddenly, this means you should have started yesterday. No more waiting for permission or resources to start. Today is the day you make the rest of your life happen. Write down one thing you’ve always wanted to do and how you will achieve that goal. Don’t be afraid to be very specific in how you’ll achieve it: once you start achieving, your goals will get bigger and your capability to meet them will grow.
(Author: Colin Wright)

Alternative Paths

Because my goal is so broad "making a living off my art," recently I've been definitely exploring more and more paths.  While my painting is always a focus, I've been able to sort of work on some concept art  and push my ties forward.  I'm working towards more craft fairs and vending opportunities (a la the SF Street Artist program), so we'll see where that all goes.  Basically, my eyes are open and I'm constantly looking for new ways and opportunities to expand my framework and see what's out there.


The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.
(Author: Jonathan Fields)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Surprising myself


To be perfectly honest, I have never really surprised myself in this way.  I'm too much of a quitter and excuser to really ever surprise myself.  I do things that I know I can do, and I back off of things I think I can't do.  Everything that I've had my doubts about have ended up in failing.

This is the challenge, to figure out something that I think I'm not capable of doing and then to do it.  I need to find something small to boost my confidence, as the one biggest challenge for me (ie living solely off of my art), is definitely something I am not confident about, otherwise I would have already quit the dayjob.  Thus, to prove to myself that it's something I can really do (over the course of the next few months and not the next few years), I need to challenge myself to do something that I can realistically get done in a day or so.

Any suggestions?


Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself.  How will you surprise yourself this week?
(Author: Ashley Ambirge)

Doing the thing I fear

What do you fear?  I fear not making it just by selling my ties and paintings and living off my art.  I fear not being able to survive on that alone.

Was the insecurity worth it?  No.  Your fear was unheeded, your worries (while legitimate) were just that-worries.  You won't be happy if you aren't doing what you're really doing.  All this filler that you've created in your life to keep yourself busy is unnecessary.  Just frickin' paint and tell stories and do your thing that the rest will come.  Believe me.  In 10 years, any failures or blunders or mistakes won't matter, although I can't tell for sure since you'll be your true self a lot sooner than you think.

You just have to cut out all the other stuff in your life that's getting in your way.  Stop blaming other things and do the work.  Just go out there, do the work, and fucking enjoy the ride already.



Ug, I think this post was the hardest for me to write yet, which shows me that I really don't believe in myself yet.  While I have to trust that I can do it, I found it incredibly difficult to tell myself that everything will be okay if you just do the work.  I don't see myself making the type of money I need to do the things I want to do in the timeframe that I would need to, but I'm not sure which way to play this. Do the alarm bells in my head mean that I need to just grab a knife and throw myself into the shark-infested deep side of the pool, or do I need to stay in the shallow side until I at least can cobble together a spear gun?  Arrrrggggg, having faith in yourself is hard!!!


Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following:
Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel?
Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes?
Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?
Now Do. The Thing. You Fear.
(Author: Lachlan Cotter)

No more imitations

Its hard to figure out which individual parts of my life are imitations - especially since I'm so adept at becoming a chameleon that I tend to unconsciously pick up other's people's speech patterns and mannerisms.  Having a background as an actor is great in some regards, and is sort of terrible in others.

However, the two aspects of my life where I have to really fight imitating others is in my art and in my finances.

Obviously, looking at lots of art and being around other artists is great for inspiration, but making sure that I'm creating what I want to create is very important and is necessary for my true voice to really speak out.  More and more, I'm realizing that while I'd categorize myself as a visual artist, my writing is taking more and more of my time.  I ended up writing a full zine for my last art show, and this writing challenge has been taking more of a priority than my painting sometimes.  I think that my true voice lies not with just writing or visual art, but the blending of the two together.

With my finances, I've never had really strong role models for finance growing up.  My family was definitely not well off growing up, and while weren't poverty stricken, I do remember many discussions about how to save money, and not being able to afford things.  Even then, however, my parents would still spend on new gadgets and stuff, and I think that's where I get my crap financial sense from.  Trying to fight the urge to buy shit I don't need and to start saving for things I do really really want (ie another international vacation, a new wacom tablet, my own screenprinting press with microregistration, etc.), is one of my largest personal challenges.

I guess in terms of a "divine idea" that I might represent, I guess it's maybe as a storyteller who weaves tales with words and images.  I personally feel like both images and words can do things together that they can't do by themselves, and perhaps that's my idea: that images and words belong together.



Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?
(Author: Fabian Kruse)

Friday, June 10, 2011

We Out Here - live printing!


Hey all you sexy people - if you want this awesome shirt (or this on a print), head on over to Big Umbrella Studios tonight from 7-11pm (or while supplies last).  The Lords of Print will be showing at the San Francisco: We Out Here photography show going on at the gallery.  We'll be printing these badboys on some nice fawn Stonehenge paper or on some nice American Apparel shirts in grey.  

Did I  mention I"ll be printing this AS YOU WATCH, so you can ask me all the questions you ever wanted about screenprinting while I do it in front of your lovely face.

PS  - Prints will go for the ridiculously low price of $5 each (signed and numbered in an edition to boot!), and shirts will go for $15!!  Can you seriously believe these prices?  Honestly, I'm kinda embarrassed our shit is going for so cheap, but the boss man speaketh.  Take advantage while you can before this shizzle sells out!



Big Umbrella Studios
906 1/2 Divisadero ST (x McAllister)
SF, CA 94115

Big Umbrella Gallery Presents:
----------------We Out Here!!------------------------
6|10|11 - 7|08|11
A group photographic exhibition celebrating life in the city through the eyes of a diverse mix of San Francisco and Bay Area photographers . Answered through photographs- the artists will answer the question of what motivates, inspires, and keeps them in searc...h of capturing and documenting life through the photographic process. Curated by Raymond Sanchez & Charlie Mirador

-An opening reception is scheduled for Friday June 10th.
Live music and entertainment to be announced-sliding scale donation @ bar for those 21+over.

Exhibiting artists:
Jeremy Conant http://jeremyconant.com/
Amanda Boe http://www.amandaboe.com/525776/Info#1378773/AMANDA-BOE
Thomas Hawk http://thomashawk.com/
Andrea Sonnenberg http://teenwitchart.blogspot.com/http://www.juxtapoz.com/Current/from-erotica-remixes-by-teen-witch
Chris Atwood
Ashley Taylor http://4blankwalls.com/
Michael Rosen http://www.sfbg.com/sexsf/2011/04/29/thirty-years-radical-sex-seen-michael-rosen
Blake Cole http://www.fecalface.com/POTD/2008/08/http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakescole/
Matt Nasal http://bigumbrellastudios.com/artist/matt-na-sal
Charlie Mirador http://35mmirador.blogspot.com/http://www.flickr.com/people/35mmirador/
Kelly Long http://kellyelphotography.info/
An opening reception is scheduled for Friday June 10th.

http://bigumbrellastudios.com/

Personal Message


My personal message right now to 1 Million people would be: STOP TREATING OTHER PEOPLE LIKE SHIT.  


Seriously, people are so unwilling to be decent human beings to each other, it makes me insane.  Whether it's people passing by an old lady that's fallen and busted her face open, or it's people being rude to retail clerks just because they work retail, or people not cleaning up after themselves because "oh, it's the janitor's job," it's really quite sickening that things like income level and social status and shit like that make a difference.  We're all human beings and let's start treating each other like that.  


I think a lot of problems would be solved if people just cared about each other more.  If people who made fortunes off of exploited labor gave a fuck about human rights, they'd give up a billion or two (of their multiple billions) and pay these people who are making them rich a livable wage. Basically, global warming, global poverty and hunger, war, and lots of other bullshit stupid crap would all be solved if we all decided to treat each other like we'd like to be treated.



What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?
(Author: Eric Handler)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New painting: Spirit of the Lawn

Inspired a bit by the Totoro Forest Project book (although not referenced at all), I recently did this little piece as part of the Spirits Within series.

The spirit of the lawn loves barefoot children, sunshine, and fertilizer (a big distinction, however, is to be made between fertilizer and a dog pooping on it).  Oftentimes, the spirt of the lawn gets lonely and if it is not cared for, will depart from your grass and your lawn will soon wither and become infested with bleak weeds.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Secret of Deadbrook

New piece I painted for the prize for my The Undiscovered: The Secret of Deadbrook show.   It's titled "Dweller of the Deep."  Feel bad for the giant squid and the whale.  Congrats to Molly for solving the secret and winning this piece to take home!!


 If you missed the show, here's a quick shot of the persons involved in the case.


And of course I'm going to have monsters in my show.  Here are the Five Destroyers. 


Anyways, a long-over-due "Thank You" to everyone who made it out to the show and even those who didn't who wished us well!  You all rock!!

The Secret of Deadbrook will be up at Oz Gallery, 3224 1/2 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 until June 25.  Please call them to make sure they're open, cuz they keep different hours, and are closed on Mondays.  (415) 970-9747 

Rick of 5 years past and future

Rick of 5 years ago was just graduating from UC Berkeley and was about to travel the world post-graduation.  He'll go to Europe and Australia, and will eventually get a job at a recruitment firm, then quit, then get a job at a paper retailer, then he'll go to art school.

The advice I would give him is: a) when you are taking photos across the world, take better ones.  Learn about composition.  Center things on thirds - don't take photos with stuff right in the center, unless it's straight on and usable for reference.

b) don't take sketching for communication.  You only need analysis of form, so take figure drawing instead.  That way, when you take perspective over the summer, you'll have more time and already know how to draw people better.

c) when you're working on your big portrait of eve - don't forget to put in core shadows, even if they are very very slight differences!

d) don't trip over Amy Broadbent's class.  Focus on analysis of form and color and design instead. Also, don't try and head emboss your take-out boxes.  It's not worth it.  Also, don't cut on the floor!

e) when you go to Revelations (don't worry what this is, just write this down), don't ask Jason Chan what teachers he took.  You're not going to remember, nor will you even follow the advice.

f) if you're going to quit Minted to go start up Little Yeti, launch on Etsy first, and do pre-designed invites.  Go with your zombie niche, don't try to be Allison or Kate, be your zombie-wedding loving self.

g) don't worry, you won't give up.  In five years you'll be owning a gallery and getting asked to do shows and you'll be busy as hell doing art, so chill out.  You'll make it.

h) after you take silkscreen at AAU, print on ties!  Also, buy the screens bulk - search online, you'll find cheaper than what your teachers tell you about.  PS - San Francisco designs and fish designs!

To the Rick of 5 years future:
Dude, do you remember back in 2011 when you were struggling to pay bills and constantly worried about giving up as an artist? It probably all seems pretty foolish now that you're sort of a big deal.  You just had to get over the whole "I'm only as valuable as people think I am" bullshit that you were dealing with back then.  Once you started really going hardcore and stop talking about things and just doing them, things got easier, right?

Yeah, I know you're still swamped doing the art hustle, but really, leaps and bounds, my friend.  Anyway, just remember that everything in life you learned from One Piece, and don't ever forget that your success is the result of many people's support.  Keep on doing what you're doing and just think where we'll be in another 5 years!  Huzzah!



What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?
(Author: Corbett Barr)

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Blueprint for Quitting My Day Job

While I can say that I'm pretty lucky in terms of owning some businesses, getting to paint, etc. etc., the one thing I've always been afraid to pursue is doing art full time.  I've had numerous business ideas and different product lines and whatnot, but I've yet to really formulate a strong business plan and formulate a plan for a wholesale line or work.

Having a fall-back job that comes really, really easy (see last post), in a way has almost become a crutch.  It's not the worst job ever, and it doesn't really challenge me most of the time, and I get to talk about (not actually do, a lot of the time) art with people.  I do get to teach, which is cool, but basically, I'm pretty comfortable. 

So why don't I just quit?  Well, the surface reason is that I have huge student loan bills, rent, etc. to pay every month, and if I were to completely set out myself, I would not have any of that safety net to cover myself.  Additionally, I would need to get some capital for marketing, photography, raw materials, etc.  Since my monthly bills are so high, I can't afford to save.  Lame.

Additionally, part of it is basic fear.  Fear of failure.  While the idea of failing isn't such a huge deal, I think that a failed business venture early on when I quit my dayjobs marked with the high price of failure (not being able to pay rent, getting me and Eve evicted) is frightening. 

So how to go about defeating all these obstacles and doing it up right?  The plan is to a)reduce risk, b)create capital, and c)make it happen.

First, reducing risk.  First off, to defeat the fear of failure, I have to make it so that if I fail, nothing too bad will happen.  I won't have to live on the streets, etc. etc. 

In order to reduce risk, I need to basically do B, which is to create some capital.  I can do this by working to create multiple alternative streams of income.  This will be done via $20 illustrations, craft fairs, and getting a handcrafted license to sell on the streets of san francisco.  saving and eating out less will also help.  Additionally, making a kickstarter video can also be awesome. 

So I guess the last part is just doing it all.  While this is an overly simplified plan of action, I already have the entrepreneurial know-how to make most of these things happen, so why not start today on my day off?  Oh wait, I guess I will.


“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.
A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” - Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.
Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.
The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?
(Author: Matt Cheuvront)

One week to live

With one week left on the planet, the obvious first choice is the day job.  While not the worst job in the world, besides the cool people I work with, I've gotten about as much as I can from the job long ago. 

Really, while I wish I would say that I would spend the entire time painting, I probably would try to spend as much time with Eve as possible. 

One of my worst problems is figuring out what my priorities are, and given only a week it seems like that wouldn't change much.  I'd snuggle with Eve, paint, and eat the best food I could.  However, what would I stop doing?  Probably all the business stuff that I make my money off of.  What good is money when you're dead? 

I guess that stays pretty much  in line with what some key life advisers have been telling me recently - worry less about trying to make stuff that sells, etc., and do more of what you love.  While it's hard to believe that if you just do what you love, the money/success/etc. will come, it's something that I have to work on.

This also sorts of ties into the wrap-up for the post-it note post earlier.  One of the biggest things I'm working on right now is the notion that my work is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it.  I've decided that what I have to do is to just keep making work that I love and am happy with, and who cares if it's "good" art - as long as I'm happy with it who cares. 

While I'm thankful and glad that I can talk about art in more objective terms like composition, saturation, balance, value, etc., I need to focus more on the very subjective quality of "badassness," which will help qualify my art more on how much I like it and less on how I think others will respond to it. 



If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.
Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?
(Author: Jonathan Mead)

[these topics are all pretty fatalistic, aren't they?]

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Where do I want to go?


I think for me, Japan is the single country I need to visit before I die.  I'm fifth generation American of Japanese ancestry, so it has always been weird living such an American life, but being boxed in to my ancestral homeland.

For the longest time I denied my ethnic heritage, mainly because as a kid, who wants to be different?  It sucks when people mispronounce the food you eat or your name (it's phonetic!), but I took me a long time to embrace the generations-removed ethnic mark left upon me.

Part of what has shaped my identity was the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Really studying the history and the socio-political roots of the tragedy (and finding out that my grandparents and family were all interned) has definitely shaped my identity as distinctly American of Japanese Ancestry - I'm not Japanese at all, I'm very American, yet my ancestors all came from Japan at one point.

For a long time I also tried to distance myself from Japanese culture, just because I always viewed myself as more American than Japanese.  I basically tried to avoid anime and manga, and would only pull out my knowledge of Japanese culture or history or mythology if it was convenient.

But after a long while, I realized that most people are going to see me as Japanese before American, and until we become a more globalized culture, nothing is going to change that.  So, I've decided not to reject things that I might like just because they're Japanese, and have found an incredible love of anime and manga and J-dramas and also super cute stickers.  Damn those stickers.

Anyway, thus, I want to go to Japan to finally come to terms with this ancestral homeland of mine and I think it'll help me continue on my path to fully understanding myself and the way people perceive me.

In terms of getting there, to make sure that I make it I've got to start to travel fund.  Maybe a dollar a month or so (while I'm broke) and then I'll scale it up as the bare necessities (food, shelter, art supplies) gets taken care of more and more.  Not the most revolutionary plan, but one I can tackle.


Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?
(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

Post-It


Ug, sorry, forgot to upload this yesterday, mainly due to my show.  Whoops.



Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.
Bonus: tweet or blog a photo of your post-it.
(Author: Jenny Blake)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One Strong Belief

Perhaps I'm just lazy, but I'm fortunately that nearly all my strong beliefs are shared with the people closest to me.  If anything, I'm lucky that my partner and I are on nearly the same wavelength about everything we're passionate about.

Whether it's food politics, art, following your dreams, foreign policy, charity, feminism, whatever, Eve and I roll pretty much the same way.  I don't think that I go out of my way to avoid others that don't share my opinion, but I find that most of my close friends and I tend to share the same beliefs.


The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
(Author: Buster Benson)

Eh, kinda a boring post, but you can't win 'em all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Today

Today is a whirlwind of dream chasing, hard work, and physical exhaustion, but a culmination of magnificence.


The prompt:

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.
(Author: Liz Danzico)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

15 Minutes to Live

So I just signed up for the creative challenge of the Trust 30 project - basically you get a prompt every day for 30 days and the challenge is to blog, journal, or create something each of those 30 days.


Here's the first one (since it starts today!):


I guess I would typically write the story of my life, but that's not really the story worth telling.  Well, it is, since I think that everyone's life story is worth telling, but I'd rather take these last few minutes left in my life to try and distill my life down into the lessons that need to be told.  Whatever.  Anyway, here is a story of a little Monkey who deeply loved a Seal and made art together.

The Monkey always felt like he was destined for greatness, because he excelled at academics.  However, everything else he could do (and he could do practically anything) was good, but it was never great.  Jack of all trades, master of none, you know?  Over the years, with growing frustration and difficulty, he realized this and set out to be what he always wanted to be as a wee-little Monkey.  He wanted to be an artist.

Now, the biggest difficulty for this Monkey has been realizing that all the stuff that we see in music videos and TV are things that aren't really important.  Yes, going out and getting drunk and hooking up with random people can be fun, and the glamour of drugs and power, and wealth, and fame and all that are nice things to have.  But when it comes down to it, none of that guarantees happiness.

Monkey thinks that the purpose of life is to simply be happy.  Many people get misguided and have been so hurt that the only way they know of to make themselves happy is to hurt other people.  People like that tend to be abusive, and tyrants, etc. etc.  But really, to be really cheesy, all you need is love.  Happiness is the ability to accept that life isn't your ideal.  Everyone co-exists in this world, and if everyone's ideal (or at least what we think our ideals are) were met - well, it just wouldn't work, since how can one person's conflicting ideal both be in existence?

Anyway, so Monkey realized in a very Buddhist way, that we should all try to be happy and to love ourselves and each other.  Life is hard, but it doesn't have to be unpleasant.  Don't take out student loans out if you can.  Cherish your friends.  Yes, you can choose your family.  Eat less meat (or go vegan if you can).  People who are different are okay as long as they don't harm you.  Money is important only as much as we make it as a collective society.  If you have an excessive of power or money, share it with those in need.  Drive less.  Drink more water.  Remember that you are beautiful and awesome and that no one has any right to take that away.  Tell more people they are jerks and should be nicer.  They're usually jerks because no one lets them know that and they have their own inferiority complexes to deal with.  Be super nice to retail folk who are trying to help you - they are people too.  Don't be rude to customers unless they're rude first.  I really like food  - try new stuff all the time.  Sometimes you just have to take a chance.  Failure isn't the worst thing in the world - living without risk is.  Learn from your screw-ups  and remember that everyone makes mistakes - the greats just learn from them.  Don't look at the clock so much.

Failure is not the end of the world.  Love is pretty awesome, but if you fall out of love, don't force it.

So I guess that's it.  Seal, I love you a lot and thank you for always being there and never stop fighting for your dreams!  Everyone!  Don't stop fighting for your dream.  You're amazing people and if you could harness just a fraction of that magical wonderful goodness that is all inside of each and every one of you the world can be a better place.  Fight for your dreams like you would fight for your life because they are, in fact, the same thing.

Just remember -





Ahhh, what a cliff hanger.  Anyway, if you didn't get the fatalistic nature of this theme (or by the obvious nature of the title), here's the inspiration for the day (by Gwen Bell):


You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Asian Heritage Street Fair

Hey everyone, I'll be vending as Monkey + Seal this Saturday from 11am-6pm at the Asian Heritage Street Fair.  The programming for the fair looks super cool, and there are a lot of other really great vendors.

It's on Larkin Street between Grove and Ellis.  Anyway, I'll be debuting two new tie designs (think badass ocean creatures), some new tie color combos on old favorites, and Eve and I will both have some new prints up for grabs, including my illustration "Dr. Madness."


Anyway, stop by and hang out and say hi!  Admission is free so we hope to see you there!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Building Stuff

After I got off of work on Sunday, I headed over to Big Umbrella Studios to go build a mobile display unit for our retail space.  I drew up some plans a while back, and the other co-owners got a chance yesterday to go pick up the wood.  Sooo, I worked from around 9:30-11:30 building this thing. 


Off to an inauspicious start, with some 1/2" pieces of plywood, and some 2x4s.

 
Added some supports to the sidewalls and working on building the bottom front of the display.

Sidewalls and front bottom attached.

Put the top on, possibly the easiest part of the entire building process 

Added some casters so that it's mobile!  Very useful in a gallery with movable walls where we might be changing up the retail space reasonably frequently.


 Ta-da!  Finished, and I started putting some merch on it.  The slanted front is to optimize the display of prints, and the big flat surface can hold tons more.  

Next I'll be working on a display for our ties (and simultaneously, I'll be getting ready for a split show with Eve on June 3rd.