Passion

Do you feel that passion? The kind that keeps you up at night the kind that drives you forward? The Kind of passion that you think about every waking hour, Dream about through the night, And constantly crave?

The kind that you won’t let you settle for second-best. The passion that gives your life meaning? It gives you spice And entices you to dance with it.

The kind that isn’t comfortable but keeps pushing you to your edge making you explore your own abyss.

Passion that regularly taps you on the shoulders remind you that it’s there. It’s seductive. It’s mesmerizing. It has you entranced so you think of nothing else.

This passion comforts and claws. It torments and soothes. It is the devil and the angel. It is the vixen and the virgin. It bursts and flows through your veins. Part of your innate being, part of your soul.

That passion ignites fires and boils the waters. It is everything and nothing. It is infinite.

It is that kundalini snake coiled at your spine, that begs for exploration.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Go now and explore. Don’t get comfortable. It’s a journey.

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I am just a tool

I just worked really hard on a piece. I’ve actually been working on the piece for about a year now. Not consistently, but I’ve been working on it here and there. It’s one of those personal pieces where I put a lot of time in it, get it where I think it is good, and someone says, nope, it should be this way.

It’s frustrating and heart breaking.

I wasn’t the one who initiated this piece, so in some ways I do have to care what that person thinks. I know I know, if I like it it should be enough, but when you are trying to work with somebody, and that somebody has a strong vision, it doesn’t really matter what I think. I’m just a tool, really, a means to an end. A tool that doesn’t seem to have the right attachment to make the final product into the vision.

I just want to hear, that looks awesome.

Sounds lame, but I do. I struggle and put a lot of thought and effort into my work and it is becoming increasingly difficult to just hear, better, but it isn’t…and it completely dashes my confidence. Which is probably why it’s taking me so long to work on this piece. You’d think with my meditation and yoga, that I would be better about removing my expectations and need for approval from others. But that need has been there longer than the meditation and yoga. It’s driven beside me in all of my endeavors. The need for approval and to hear positive things said about me and my work is so strong that to not have it is an embedded fear. It’s a large reason why I procrastinate…if I failed it’s because I didn’t put a lot of time into it. I usually didn’t though…still was pretty successful.

And now…WTF?

And now I try, I put a lot of time and effort in and it’s still not good enough. What kind of reflection is that for me? Maybe it’s a reflection of the other person living an unsatisfied life, never being happy with themselves or what they are doing. Maybe it’s them feeling their own personal failures and unintentionally bringing me down to that level. Makes me wonder if the piece will ever be good enough. The only time the pieces are good enough is when that person gives me step-by-step directions, over my shoulder, on what to do. Not really an equal partnership. Huh…that sucks. What’s difficult is the work we do together is pretty fucking brilliant. But I can’t really consider it a we project, not when I’m just taking directives, being told what to do. I really am just a tool. I have the programs, the computer and literally the technical skills to accomplish a vision…but it’s not my vision.

I’d say when is it time for my vision to come to fruition, but I need a solid vision first. And any time I have had a solid vision, it still doesn’t get a lot of great feedback. What does that say about me? Maybe I really am a failure, maybe not an artist at all. Maybe I should just give up and except I am a tool. Or just not share my personal art with anybody. I clearly get my feelings hurt when I don’t get the response I was hoping for. My artist self may just belong in a cave in the farthest reaches of the mountains. Yeah, dramatic, I know. I’ve heard that before too. Whatever.

Being a designer can be frustrating

Tons of people are designers, artists, something of that nature these days. Seems like there are more artists than anything else right now, except maybe yoga instructors. But every once in a while I encounter someone who isn’t a designer, and their response is always something to the effect of, that is so cool, you must love your job. And I do. I get to draw, color, and essentially make a message look awesome all day. Yes, I sit in a cubical with no windows, but it’s still surrounded by art. I have pretty flexible hours considering I’m not a freelancer, and I get to work on some pretty creative projects. Overall, I enjoy being a graphic designer.

However.

The other side of the coin can be incredibly frustrating. I work within the in-house marketing team, so all of my “clients” are other departments. And said other departments don’t seem to understand the work we do, or they just don’t care. It feels very dis-respectful at times, to work in this department.

One department constantly demands ASAP turn-around times. On occasion, I totally get it. Shit happens or comes up and you need something quickly. But when nearly every project is ASAP I really just want to say, Take some damn time-management classes and respect our workload. We can’t always drop everything for you. Oh, and BTW, designing a flyer takes time! Concepting it, writing it, designing it, getting it through the review process…we’re not just throwing crap together here! Seriously, time-manage!

Another department constantly demands variety, which, again, I totally understand. We’ve tried asking them to fill out surveys in the past, but no one ever did. So my team researches best practices, works hard to come up with a variety of designs that maintain brand integrity, have our logo and social media buttons on them, variable data that allows them to customize their own text and say what they need, with HTML emails we actually code them for two different tools that require different types of code for them to choose the email tool that works for them. It’s seriously a large chunk of my time. And a lot of energy. And you know what? Most of the department doesn’t even use any of them. They decide they want to have a little creativity in their jobs so create their own. They use pictures from across the internet, some off our website, some of off our INTRANET that are SPECIFICALLY designed for internal purposes, and just throw some text in. No branding, NO LOGO, incorrect grammar, none of our messaging, sometimes wrong facts…just a complete mess. Oh, and did I mention that the formatting of their emails gets all jacked up because when it gets forwarded the images become attachments and all formatting changes? It’s sad. And it’s really frustrating because so much time gets put into creating things for them to use and they go rogue and do their own thing. Why do I waste my time?

Also within that department, we had a couple people come to us and ask us to brand something for them (they had been doing an event for three years and just putting their own marketing materials together. They finally just asked the marketing team to help). We get the details and spend two months working on a design for them. I presented to my directors and marketing specialist a ton of sketches to choose from, took the favorite sketches and turned them into a variety of digital options, and took the final six designs and presented them to the clients. And of course, all I heard was complaints. One of them even being, Well I really liked what we have done in the past, why can’t we just use that? Really? I mean, come on, REALLY? For several reasons 1) We aren’t in kindergarten 2) this is a business 3) you didn’t even bring up in ANY of our meetings ANYTHING about carrying a design aspect over from previous years and 4) because you came to us and asked for our help. We are specialists in this area and clip art and animation isn’t what we’re going for here.

It’s just inane to me the things that come out of their mouths and the things they do. They completely disregard all the time and effort we put into doing our jobs. It’s so often just a complete waste of time and energy. Being their designer can be frustrating.

Snow Fun in May

Something I find interesting about my job, and really any job in marketing or where you have to plan far ahead, is that I am designing for events in December. It’s May and I’m sitting behind my desk trying to brand Snow Fun Blood Drives. What’s ironic is that the weather has been moody each time I’ve worked on this project. The weather wants to be sympathetic.

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These are the options I am sending to the client. A decent variety. This client is particularly difficult and I am providing so many options to hopefully satiate their need for ownership. Which they should feel. It makes sense. So hopefully they are satisfied with at least one of these options.

It’s interesting that this morning I deleted Option 4 and then decided to throw it back in just because. And every person on my team really like it. Made it to the final round. Interesting how that works. I may have just deleted it because it was the first one I designed. Who knows. I actually presented 17 options to my team and they narrowed them down to 6. Kind of sucked that my art director thought I grabbed images from the Internet to make up the last two options. She suggested I illustrate them all, which is what I did. I put a lot of time into drawing those images, scanning them, and then penning them in Illustrator. They are all original vectors. Can’t always satisfy everyone though. She only slightly contributes to my misanthropy.

At any rate, I’m super glad to have had so much time to work on this, and even though I just planted my garden I think head Snow Fun graphics turned out pretty damn good. I’m excited to hear what the clients think! Wish me luck!

On being a “pretty” designer

 

Hmmm…today I received some feedback and I love positivity around my work, but sometimes the choice of adjectives is severely lacking. Yes, I am female. Yes, I am sometimes trendy. But come on, does being female really warrant the adjectives of “cute” “pretty” and “adorable” to be applied to my designs. Yes yes yes, I realize I shouldn’t be complaining since it is positive feedback and that can be hard to come by around here. And yes, the paper itself is pretty; pearlescent paper is. But I get these adjectives for EVERY design I do. Am I really a pretty designer? Is my work really deserving of these “kitten-describing” adjectives? Or is it because I am a female? I would just like, at some point in time, to have a different adjective. I have heard these same adjectives since I was in college and nearly half of a decade later I would like to hear something different. That may require a different approach to my design work, different material, different content. But it is a goal of mine for 2012 to have my designs require a different adjective to be applied to them. The current adjectives seem so superficial and I can do better. At least I hope I can. If not, I will have to bow down to the adjectives and just accept that is the kind of designer I am. A pretty one.

 

A "pretty" design

 

But what makes a pretty design? I feel like my designs have varied quite a bit but I still get the same responses. Here is a list of things I think contribute to me being a “pretty” designer:

    • Color choices. I guess this one could be obvious, though I was told my black, white and red design was pretty. Some color combinations are just pretty.
    • Content.I work for a non-profit company that revolves around blood/blood product transfusions and saving lives. While we could definitely go to the dark, dramatic and intense side of this (and I always want to), the boss-people tend to shy away from that and always want to make the content soft. They go for the heart-tug and as a result my designs reflect that.
    • Images. While similar to content, the images we choose can be pretty as well. See the content section for why my images may be considered “pretty”.
    • Paper or background.I love paper for this reason. It really can make a design come to life. The paper I chose for my most recent event program was a gold pearlescent for the cover and a champagne pearlescent for the text. Though flooded with color, this really makes the whole program shimmer a bit. It is definitely pretty and I am okay with this adjective here. (I’m still struggling with adorable though). The program is all about light and depicts candles, lamps, lanterns and the such and to have it shimmer really brings the vibrancy to life. On the web, a background color or texture can act in a similar way.


What else makes a design pretty? Are you a pretty designer? Am I the only one who seems annoyed and plagued to forever receive these types of adjectives? What are the adjectives commonly applied to your designs?

Navigating the inner and the outer

Every human being must navigate between the inner life and the outside world, just as the artist must navigate between Poetry and Craft…

We are all artists, in our own ways. We have the same struggles, the same drives…sometimes, it seems, and I could be wrong here, that artists just feel it more. Want to express it more and try to help the world via their own personal expressions of that navigation between their inner selves and their outer selves.


And for some artists, the torment is romantic.

And for some artists, the torment is romantic.


It’s an element that denotes life allowing us to scream out, I AM ALIVE! To get caught up in the mundane necessities of life is to deny an entire human responsibility. Not every one can answer this call. And that’s fine. Each of us is on our own journey and each of us on our own path. I have a path of pain, of extreme human emotion-sometimes mine, sometimes not-that cries out for expression. It dwells so deep within that it hurts. Deep in my Manipura, my personal power and how I relate to the world. It is excruciating and sublime simultaneously. Beautiful and ugly. The polarity I feel towards art, and this deep-seated feeling of needing to express, scares and excites me.


It is a visceral experience that foments existential unrest at times.


Each day is an opportunity for art. Each day a time to succeed or fail. To sit with art, to live with art, to express in art, is a curse and a gift. One that encourages you to explore your soul, you inner deep being, and somehow connect that to the world. the challenge, to not get lost in your soul universe and to remember that there exists an external community to connect with. To be a hermit, is all to easy.

A new year in art


2011 was an interesting year. I made a lot of progress in art, mainly in setting it up on Etsy and Zazzle.. I even sold three paintings. That was encouraging.



So it’s amazing that here I am in 2012 feeling like nothing happened in 2011 and that so much more needs to be done. How many of you feel that way? Need to be more consistent in blogging, in joining etsy teams and forums, in uploading products to Zazzle, in gathering a following, in determining relevant content, updating my website…oh, and let’s not forget about doing art and growing as an artist.



I must say though, that as I look back on previous projects I have worked on, I do feel like I have made enormous strides in my art. What I once thought was amazing is now questionable, and what I am doing now seems superb!


These two are .pdf’s if you want to check them out:
Outside of a Program
Another event program

An inside page to a program.
An inside page to another program. This will be printed on pearlescent paper to give it a wonderful shine.


It just never feels like enough though, does it? Always should be doing more, putting more time into things, life, art…It’s utterly exhausting so that by the time I am sitting down to do some art, I have no energy or brain power to do it. Everybody has to be in a similar situation though. So how do you do it? How do you maintain your life and still have the energy, will and brain power to improve yourself and your art. Create art. Explore your soul. Write music. How do you find the balance in your life, to live a life, and achieve all of your goals?

Talent entrusted to you

“You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you. Go work with it.”




I just read this quote on Facebook. It’s an interesting thought…destiny of sorts. That are souls yearnings, and our natural talents are given to us so we can share them and make an impact on the world in a specific way.


I often wonder if art is a natural talent or an idea that I want to place myself into…an image, I want to become. I have this idea of who I want to be and it’s quotes like this that make me wonder if I am ignoring what I “should” be doing, or if I am trying to achieve just that. I mean, where does the image, and the drive to become that image, come from if it’s not an innate need. Or is the fear I feel telling me that I am indeed not good enough to achieve this image, that the talent isn’t entrusted to me? All the training in the world is not a substitute for natural talent. Do I have enough natural talent to do what it takes? Can I succeed?


There are people who believe in me and believe I am talented. Maybe, in this current state of confusion, I should just trust in them. Haha, I was just reminded of this song:


trust in me siouxsie and the banshees


Natural talent eh? I just want to be an artist. To explain my emotions and thoughts visually. And yet I have this huge wall that keeps me from doing it, and thus making me question myself. I have no artistic style, no idea how to transform my emotions on canvas. I mean, I am a graphic designer by day and that’s all well and cool since I am designing for someone else. It’s not me. I don’t know how to put me on a canvas. I want to put my fear on the canvas and yet am paralyzed and have no idea how to do it. It feels pathetic. I’ve even gone so far as to ask ‘K’ to draw something on a canvas that I can then add paint on. Super lame.

Stress


So I am responsible for the talent that I was entrusted with…what the hell am I talented at? And is it talent I have, or an image of what I want to become?

Blog hope via @RockablePress

After a sleepless weekend of trying to figure out how to better manage Social Media, I made a decision. I keep seeing this  “How to build a successful blog business” ebook from Rockablepress.com. I’ve been hesitant to buy this book mainly because I think I should be able to find everything I need just by perusing sites. However, this has clearly not been working for me. I’ve been trying this social media/blog business for about a year now and still have had no success, no comments, no user interaction. In all honesty, it’s getting pretty old. I’m tired of feeling like a failure. I research all the time how to make this better and I still haven’t been able to do it. Granted, I lack a consistency that is essential to success. But I think it is more than just that. An obvious answer could be that there are so many blogs out there, already established, doing exactly what I am trying to do. So what’s the point? Why do I keep trying? I’m not sure. That existential question of what’s the point when there are so many other more talented designers/artists/yogis out there has been plaguing me for a while. Put me in all out crisis really. Lacking reason, motivation…the understanding of the why. It sucks walking down a path like that. So I am attempting to put the energy out there that says, I want to figure this out. Or I’ll have to give up and decide I was not meant to be a blogger.

To blog or not to blog

And it’s not just about making money on a blog. I already have a few jobs that pay. That’s not what I am after. I am after the interaction. I want to know if others have the same struggles, same excitement and just similar experiences as I do in this world. I don’t think I am so weird that no one has similar experiences. There has to be millions of people out there that like art and yoga. Hell, I’ll appreciate an either/or at these stage. I just want to share and have others share. I guess I just want to jump on the band wagon and do what everyone else is doing, and connect with people like everyone else is. I just want a piece of the online experience/success. I don’t want to be passed by as some ignorant nobody who couldn’t figure it out. I’m not ignorant, and I am a somebody. At least I think I am. Maybe you will too, eventually. I just need some help figuring it all out.

So, I bought the @RockablePress book. I haven’t had a chance to look at it, but I am hoping it was a good investment and it will help me make my blog, my time, my efforts worthy of a good investment and a good ROI as well.

We shall see, and this blog will be the evidence. Here’s to hope.

Social Media is keeping me up at night

Social media is keeping me up at night. Seems pathetic, but it is. I tossed and turned trying to figure out what I should be doing, what I am doing wrong and how I should be proceeding.

I feel like I am failing. And I am not entirely sure what I am doing wrong.

Social media is interesting. And pretty damn self-reflective. It’s all about trying to find what is most interesting about yourself that you think others would find interesting. Determining a niche has been hard for me. Generating interest even harder. And maintaining the motivation to consistently peruse it challenging.

I just don’t get it. I’m trying. I want to. But I just don’t get it.

How do you do it?