HOT ART Wet City : Eat Yo Self

Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

Confession: Statler and Waldorf's sit in the balcony of my brain—mocking, criticizing, and laughing with each new idea I have.

Who else has this dilemma?

I used to listen to them a lot, thinking they knew best. (Sometimes I still do) I see them as my protectors who are saving me a lifetime of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation.

However, when I listen to them as much as I do, I find myself yearning and wondering 'what if'. That's when you know you have to tell them to shut up and sit down.

While I haven't found a way to get rid of them all together, I have learned to care less about what they think. I hear their criticisms and warnings but I try new things anyways, which really helps silence them - especially when I succeed. And even when I fail, I tell them that it's still a success because I know what doesn't work for me or maybe I know a better way to execute an idea now that I've failed. It's really a win-win.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend encouraged me to submit art to an art show at Hot Art Wet City. And of course Statler and Waldorf had a hay-day to know that I was entertaining the idea since it was completely out of my comfort zone. 

Even still, I kicked around some ideas and spent a good week or two developing and executing concepts. In the end, I had 4 strong concepts that I was really happy with and submitted for review and approval. Whether I was approved or not, was definitely not the measure of success on this project since that part of it was out of my control. The real success here was actually doing it and loving the results; Knowing that my little engine "could".

Low-and-behold, my pieces were approved and I was asked to drop off framed and unframed copies before the end of May. 

Take that Statler and Waldorf!

Here are the details for the event. I'll be there on June 3rd for the opening reception so hopefully you are too!

"Hickory-Dickory-Dock : Owl" Illustration

2nd illustration in my Hickory-Dickory-Dock series

2nd illustration in my Hickory-Dickory-Dock series

“It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking to it that one overcomes it; often it is by working on the one next to it. Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle.” - Andre Gide quotes (French writer, humanist and moralist)

You might consider this to be what I found beyond the fence; An illustration inspired by my own work.

When I sat down to coax the creativity out of me, I didn't know what I wanted. All I knew is that I wanted to create something amazing, something fresh, something new.

I immediately lost all motivation.

After awhile I realized that "new" wasn't my answer because it was getting me nowhere, fast. So I sat down again, and tackled things from a different angle; Why am I doing this in the first place? It's not for clients, it's not my audience - however, I do appreciate the love :-) - it was for me to have FUN and breakaway from the process! And that is what I wanted to get back to. 

So I looked through all of the projects I have thought about or completed in the last 6 months and considered how much fun I had with each. Hickory-Dickory-Dock was the clear winner after all was said and done. I remembered how mysterious it was from the very beginning and how it just naturally unfolded into something quirky and put a smile on my face so that was my motivation - and goal - for this next piece. 

I didn't do as much drawing for this one - since most of the parts were already built so I sketched up a basic idea & composition, adjusting where I wanted to adjust things, changing what I wanted to change from the last one, and adding new pieces, for interest. I recycled and reused to rebuild something completely new and unique to itself. Especially since there was no owl in the original nursery rhyme.

This one had its share of surprises and it unfolded completely different than what I had originally planned for it but that's why it was so fun. I had found that freedom and curiosity I was missing. I even started giving it new direction with a new character which may inspire something completely different for the next one. 

We will see where the path leads next...

In the meantime, you can purchase a print of this on my RedBubble site.

Beyond the Fence

“Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen, even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.”  - Leonardo da Vinci

As of late, I've been feeling creatively stagnant which leaves me feeling non-productive. And there's nothing I dislike more, than that.

Right now, I'm having a hard time putting the creative engine into gear, whether it's drawing, design, and even writing. I'm just drawing blanks. Everything I try, I feel like I'm failing miserably at and the results aren't up to snuff. (In my head at least.) Since creating is one of my favourite things in this world, it is quite frustrating when my right brain goes into sleep mode like this. On an average day, I never have a problem self-starting anything that comes to mind or getting items on my "to-do" list done. But these last few weeks have been far from productive.

I know that forcing the creativity to happen just won't work - as that theory always proves true - and leaves me more frustrated than before. I'd feel like quitting everything and start something new so I didn't have to feel like I sucked. I would describe this is as the "tantrum-phase", which I am slowly closing in on.

Luckily though, I've managed to get through many of these ebbs without flipping a table. I've also come to understand that the key to unlocking these creative blocks is movement. Whether it's doodling meaningless things on a page, to writing whatever comes to mind. The point of it all is to stop over-thinking and just do. I recognize that I am here now and am trying to work through it - even embrace it - and realizing it's only temporary. I'll get my fire back. It's all part of the process.

But first, I have to get beyond the fence in the backyard, so to speak, and stop waiting for something to intrigue me. I need to wander the neighbourhood, explore without direction or purpose, and see what comes.

At this point, it feels, that I'll be kicking an empty can down the block for some time until something interesting comes along but I can't worry about that - as it'll only make this journey worse.

So here I go...

Ground Control to Major Dog : 1st Design Approved!

What's the point of doing it, working that hard, and not telling people about it? At least open your window and shout. - Barbara Walters

As a graphic designer, selling is an important part of your job. For freelancers, it's what you have to do to stay alive. For in-house designers, it's what you have to do to pitch an idea. You have to hustle, take risks, tell the world you're here, show people what you're made of. It can be a vulnerable place to be. The trick to getting passed it is to face it and put yourself out there regardless of any fears or doubts you may have. If you succeed, great! If you get rejected, take what you can from the experience and move on to the next! 

A few days ago, I finished a new illustration of a dog in space. He was inspired by something I saw on Reddit and couldn't resist the urge to draw & digitize him for a t-shirt. Browsing Threadless, I noticed a "Sh*t the Internet Says" category and decided to enter him - since that's where my original inspiration came from. I'm happy to say it was approved! While this isn't for the purposes of putting food on the table, it IS an attempt to "open my window and shout".

So please share, vote, or fund. I appreciate your support in whatever you choose to do.

"Hickory Dickory Dock" Illustration

I’ve always been fascinated with children’s stories. Like a dream, they leave so much to the imagination that readers can draw their own conclusions on how things became to be.

I began drawing my latest piece as part of my #draw21days challenge and just ran with it. I knew I wanted to work in a steampunk theme but had no idea what kind of story I might tell; I just started drawing. First the cat, then the clock, then it all unfolded from there. A few pipes, a mouse, some other random items, and even I was left with a wonderment of what might be going on. What was the mouse up to? Where was he going? What would happen if someone pulled the chord to the steam whistle. So many questions led to so many possibilities and outcomes, which is why I enjoy it so much.

22 hours from sketch to final design, it is now up in my shop for all to enjoy on a pillow, a t-shirt, a laptop, iPhone skin, and many more items...check it out!