Tuesday, June 21, 2011


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


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.


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)


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 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)