#30FOADAY Day 1

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New challenge: a finished thing a day. (Sketchbook page, full piece, other Finished Objects) 30 days! Starting today March 14.

This is not an especially cohesive piece, obviously I was feeling really scattered today and was procrastinating a lot on finishing anything important/”real.” I’m really excited about a few of the small ideas that are on here, and also some from some other pages I didn’t show from today (I did a LOT of procrastinating today.)
Cohesive or not, this is my first entry in my new challenge I just started #30FOADAY which, despite the possibly-confusing hashtag, doesn’t mean 30fuckoffs in a day, though tbh is that even a challenge if you ever venture into public?
Basically, for the next 30 days, I want to finish 1 Finished Object a day. This could mean a full art piece, an embroidered something, a clothing alteration, etc. etc. as long as it’s a finished thing I can add to a portfolio of finished things, it’s A-OK. I decided to make this challenge inclusive of full sketchbook pages because it’s definitely a goal of mine to use my notebooks more deliberately. Until recently, though I’ve always been a devoted (almost obsessive) journal-er, I’ve never really bothered to keep an “art journal,” where all of my ideas, both written and visual, get equal space. I am definitely more comfortable with writing, so my journals have almost always been pages and pages of writing with little doodles here and there. I always had visual ideas, but I aways thought of myself as really limited in my talents. Writing was my thing, and nothing else was open to me. Recently I’ve told my past self to go sit in a corner until they can stop being so negative, and let loose with whatever sort of creative projects I felt like doing. (It’s a work in progress, there’s a lot waiting in the wings.)
For some reason the idea of keeping an “art journal”, though basically no different from the “do whatever you want” journal aesthetic I’ve always had, really appeals to me. I think it’s because the name denotes a sense of shareability, or at least completion, like the book itself is worth something, rather than just the ideas inside it. Ramping up my visual art practice has been really relaxing for me, but it’s also been a good self esteem boost. This is because I realized (recently, but all at once), that if I was going to blend my natural style of “throw any idea you get on a page in the easiest form possible and don’t worry about the presentation of it” with the more aesthetically pleasing idea of an actual book full of art, rather than just a messy idea dump, if I was going to blend those two I was going to have to accept one rule:

Make Mistakes Intentional.

I know, how Pinterest-y is that. But I realized that when I was sketching and I accidentally drew a head too small or I needed the space to complete my drawing that was already taken by a grocery list, my natural instinct was just to give up when coming upon these roadblocks. (Again, I’m a lazy person, most of the time. I’m glad that I’m manic sometimes because otherwise I would literally never be productive. Ok now I’m literally just rambling. Mhm…. Right.)

 

Make Mistakes Intentional.

Like right there, when I totally could have  should have just edited that paragraph and all of the ones before it and every other thing that has already appeared on this blog, I didn’t! You know why? Because I’m taking a mistake I made and making it look like it’s on purpose. Also because fuck that, that sounds boring and hard and this blog post is literally about how I just started another Challenge despite barely handling my current schedule as it is, so I think we all know there’s no being sneaky around here.

 

Basically

When I’m sketching in pen, and I draw the head on a portrait too big, or I accidentally put a weird mark in the middle of a perfectly lovely sketch, or the hair on my character looks like someone scalped Jon Benet Ramsey and used the knockoff cosplay wig for some fire-based ceremonial ritual, I’ve gotten the best results when I just said “ok. Fuck it.” And kept drawing. Finish Everything. That’s the new motto. None of this “keep working” bullshit. Not for me, Queen of Unfinished Ideas. This Challenge, and hopefully the new movement on this blog/my life in general is all about FINISHING. Just like sex.

Kidding.

Not kidding.

AM I?

YOU’LL NEVER KNOW.

W
P.S. (I know, my natural writing style is a LOT of run-on sentences and honestly, ask literally any teacher I’ve ever had– I hate editing. It’s because I’m lazy, not because I’m pretentious. Though I am, separately from this issue, pretentious for various other reasons.)

Recent Works in Progress

I’ve been flooded with ideas lately, new projects, new stuff for my old projects, random bits of here and there my brain just spits up to avoid doing anything that will make me any kind of money. I want to start sharing more of my just-everyday life here. What do you say to once a week?

Good, that’s what I promised at the beginning and you haven’t called me on it yet. You’re getting too complacent. (This “You” is probably really “Future Me.”)

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Here are two recent works-in-progress that are both in the nautical boat. They are also, coincidentally, both in the “I’m not impressed with what you look like right now and I don’t have a clear plan to fix it so I don’t want to look at you”… boat. Boat types are very specific these days, but even a layman like me has heard of that one.

Last night/Today I got a lot accomplished, after several days of feeling incredibly procrastinate-y and useless:
  • Designed a handout for my job
  • Paid my electric and power bill (ouch)
  • started work on a truly-ridiculous-but-fun piece of art that I’m using to learn Photoshop
  • Laid out my calendar for the week and booked a ton of paying students
  • Pulled myself out of a slump that I was tiptoeing near
  • Started a new NEW piece that I’m VERY PUMPED ABOUT. I’m sure you guys will see it soon enough.

I’m slowly doing a blog re-design as well, but to be perfectly frank, it is absurdly boring and I just don’t know what I want it to look like. Marketing is not my forte. Suggestions welcome. Donors welcome. Housecleaners that work for free and also bring pizza are welcome.

W

Favorite Videos of the week

I’m up at a god-forsaken hour of the morning to teach English classes to students in China (I’m a regular diplomatic hero cough I’m avoiding getting a real job), so I figured I’d put out a little bloggity blog. I know the last few posts have been pretty heavy, and that trend will probably last because LIFE IS HEAVY or whatever, but this post is not heavy. This post is my brother.

This is why I don’t write blogs before 9am. Anyways, here’s some of my favorite videos of the week!

This lovely cover by Jon and Dodie:

 

 

This very informative and well-researched video on why the U.S. government’s de-funding of certain programs is a move that makes zero financial or common sense, much like everything else happening in U.S. government these days (with EVIDENCE and SOURCES because FACTS are REAL THINGS even if my grandmother and the POTUS don’t think so.)

 

 

This absolutely bonkers build of the Overlook Hotel Maze model from The Shining, built by ex-Mythbuster Adam Savage. I saw The Shining for the first time in January, and since then I’ve been obsessed with all things visually and existentially related. I know, I know, I’m late to The Shining party. But what can I say? I’m a lot like Jack. In that the party don’t start until I either completely imagine it or call forth the ghosts of hotels past to throw it for me. (Check out the entire Tested channel, it’s a great place for maker inspiration!)

 

 

And, as usual, I’ve been watching my fair share of arts and crafts videos. I really love watching speed painting and “watch me work”-style videos, because they allow me to trick myself into thinking that because the person on screen is being productive, it means that I too am being productive. One of my favorite crafters to watch is Jamie Jo aka BananaJamana, who does a lot of Disney/kawaii type stuff. It’s funny, because her style (super cute/Disney kitsch) is not exactly something I’m *that* into, but she is so absurdly talented (look at her realism paintings,they’re absolutely ridiculous) that I find myself drawn to her despite differences in aesthetics. Also, weird note but, as someone whose voice slips into a higher register when I’m tired or lazy, I find her quiet, high-pitched voice incredibly soothing. Double also, I love that she works in a ton of different mediums, because it means that on top of really wonderful paintings, she also does things like making a giant s’more. For reasons.

 

I’ve got a lot of favorite artist youtubers, so I think I’ll make this Favorite Videos a weekly series! (I say, knowing for a fact that when I say something is going to be a series, that is the surest way to ensure it is never mentioned again on this blog.)

W

So I had a blog post written up for today

It was (is) long and rambly, talking about a new projects I’m working on and some other random thought dump-type stuff. I’ve rescheduled it for Monday, so keep an eye out if you want.

Today, though, I woke up to this weight sitting on my chest, like I’d fallen asleep holding a child, a pressure like fingers wrapping around my throat, not choking, but reminding me of the air going in and out in a way that is usually unnoticeable. I didn’t have a child on my chest (thank god, this would be a very very different blog post. Completely unrelated note: Has anyone every liveblogged a kidnapping? If not, I CALLED IT for 2017. You better remember you heard it here first.)

I have depression, but I haven’t actually reached its depths in a while, maybe a year or even more. Sure, I get sad, but it’s not the overwhelming emptiness that comes with a real Down Day. The kind where I can’t even remember happiness, where I’ve sunk to the bottom of a deep, narrow well and neither the idea of drowning nor the idea of looking up can move me. It’s been a while since a real Down Day. Recently when I get sad it’s just Normal Sad, and that’s good. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

But yeah. Usually, my depression… manifests? performs? as, well, depression. But recently, it’s been a lot less of that, and a lot more of an intense, constant, corrosive anxiety. If you’re wondering “about what” then I envy your gorgeous world under that rock. Stay there.

While, honestly, I’m THRILLED that it seems like the Down Days are becoming less frequent and I would take this anxiety over those any day of any week, I am also feeling a little… Well… Anxious. (About being anxious. I’m great at parties.) The thing is, I am not completely sure how to handle this new development. My coping mechanisms for depression all center around feeling less sad, but although I am sad for The World at large and also My World at tiny, the more overwhelming feeling is this constant screaming, this clawing at my belly that makes regular thought impossible, that makes my actual physical heart beat physically faster, that makes me wake up feeling like I’m being slowly smothered.

I… think the way to calm this rush is to concentrate very hard on something else, and also to relax  and breathe and hear yourself talk. I say I think, because again: this shit is new to me, and although I have been driving this brain around for 26 years now, I still stumble upon new tricks all the time. Insert a driving metaphor here, I can’t think of one, but I’m sure you’ll think of a good one.

I’ve been working on a really tiny scale lately with polymer clay and paintings and papier mâché, and the level of attention needed to work with such fine details has been incredible for relaxing me into the zone or flow or zen or whatever is the cool word for “escaping a state of eternal panic.”

Ambient/dreamy songs + sculpting tiny tiny stalagmites = anxiety cure? You heard it here first! If that comes up in Psychology Today in a month and I’m not quoted I’m coming after you, punk.

Just kidding. Art therapy is a real thing already, and it’s exactly what I clumsily stumbled into while trying to self-regulate. Relax! Here’s an aggressively calming song:

 

I’ve been Really Really enjoying watching artists who sink into their art with the express purpose of exploring their own mind, rather than trying to entertain other’s. I recently found JooYoung Choi, and GUYS. Her process, the way she follows her own imagination wherever it wants to go, regardless of medium or audience, is EXACTLY what I wish from my own art. I encourage you to watch this, then go look through her entire portfolio, it’s wonderful. She began creating to promote self love, and pushed herself to create at the frequency of a professional artist.

“When you see other people at a certain momentum, you start to vibrate that way. I made a schedule for myself. I’d wake up at 7, get on the bus, take the train and get to Lawndale [her studio] at 9:30 or 10. For the first month, I was very rigid about that. I made a syllabus for myself. I made a list of everything I was insecure about as an artist… and said I was going to learn how to do it.” –JooYoung Choi

I think I’m going to do that, too. Make a syllabus. Make a schedule. Push myself to concentrate on making things so that I don’t break apart.

 

I’m not really sure why I’m writing all of this except… I just feel like maybe you want to read it and see someone else is working through it too. Or else you will read it and realize this is an experience you’ve never had before, and feel grateful that it’s happening to me and not you. Either are good. I hope you feel better now. I hope I feel better now too.

W