Aug 12, 2009

But all my friends are doing it!!

Lately I've been thinking a lot about peer pressure, and the way that other people influence us. It first dawned on me that peer pressure can be really useful when I was in university, when spending time around my awesome friend Lacey turned me into a photo-machine. Lacey and I would do elaborate photo set ups, spend hours in the dark room, and fill our year end portfolio twice over the requirement. This was not my usual way of working, but when I was around Lacey I always pushed myself a little harder (to keep up with her amazing standards, no doubt!)

When I finished art school, everything died down. I relaxed, drew a picture every now and then, but that was it. Then 6 months or so out of art school I started dating a graphic design student named Mark. Over the course of our 8 month stint, we ended up forming a small design group with 2 of our other graphic design friends, put out a run of 8 (or was it 6?) t-shirt designs in collaboration with Living Planet (a screen company in Newfoundland) and were on our way to reaching the stars! (Until the relationship ended, of course). My time spent with Mark opened me up to a whole new part of the art community; graphic design. To this day I still go to Chapters and check out Computer Arts magazine, Juxtapose, Beautiful Decay, and other design mags and think fondly of all our creative times together. And whenever I talk to him online (which is somewhat often) I still feel creative and inspired after our chats.

Then this past Christmas, I was spending a lot of time with my wicked cousin Becki (who, incidentally, I had met the Mark through!). Feeling stuffed from Christmas dinner, her and I sat in the hallway at her house hunched over her laptop. She was showing me all the design work she had been doing, I was bookmarking my favorite fashion blogs on her interwebs. We got to talking about design, screen printing, fashion and business and I left her house feeling crushed that I no longer live in the same province as she does. Being around her made me explode with ideas, in the same way that Lacey and Mark made me feel.

The point that I'm trying to get to is that being around creative people who inspire you is one of the best ways to be creative and inspired yourself. That old "no man is an island" bullcrap is actually true! I read an article this morning about how happiness is contagious up to 3 degrees of separation! So if your friend's friend is happy, then you're more likely to be happy...I think that's how it works. I firmly believe that the same can be said for creativity. My other cousin Jackie is a great case in point. For a couple of years she worked at a crappy insurance company. She hardly ever painted or drew, and in fact she wasn't enjoying herself at all. Then, she started working at a creative arts community center (she's the exec. assistant or something, but I like to think she runs the whole show) Now, she's working on a new body of work (that's right, not one painting, a BODY of them!) she's organizing events, and she's having chair racing derbies when there's no one around. She's living the sweet life! The lesson to be learned here, comrades, is to always keep yourself surrounded by creative, like minded individuals. You can keep the flame (of art-love) alive, but you have to stoke the fire with your friends... (not by throwing them in, just get them to help you fan the flames.)

Here's a link to the article about happiness travelling through networks.

Aug 7, 2009

Cookie/work - a - holic.

I've always had a good appetite. When I was a kid I'd always go for a second helping of turkey dinner, I could put away a full bag of cookies in 10 seconds flat, and you don't even want to know what I could do to a lemon filled angel food cake. In recent years, it seems that my appetite has faded from its former glory (except for my appetite for cookies, which remains like a pillar of hope through the ages). I've now noticed that I have a different type of hunger: the hunger for work. Not work in the traditional sense. I don't stay awake at night dreaming about going to an office, filing for 3 hours, then getting on the phone to take calls from angry clients. But I am kept awake thinking of new projects to pursue, how I'm going to network, who I'm going to call (ghost busters), and I impose deadlines on myself to do these things. The truth is, I'm addicted to being busy, or at least feeling busy (the same as I'm addicted to eating 14 cookies in one sitting).

This brings us to the point of why I hardly ever write blog posts. It's because I've got myself up to my eyes in workering! Next week I will be working downtown at an office (which is where I am now, which is why I have time to post). In September I may be going home to NL for 2 weeks to promote the book I illustrated this past winter. Also in September, I hope to launch a small jewelry line, on which I work non stop while I am at home in the evenings. My boss is having one or TWO open houses, where she wants me to bring and sell some jewelry. Then in the first week in October, I'm accompanying her to Delaware for a dog show. At this dog show we'll be selling her jewelry, my jewelry (so I'll be busy all September preparing for that) collars from fabric I'll design and print, t-shirts which I design and print, and possibly greeting cards or tote bags which I also design and print. In the beginning of November, I am taking a MUCH needed vacation with my mama to Florida to get some shoos (another addiction I'm afraid). On top of all this, I have also agreed to do ANOTHER kids book, with a deadline in November! I'm tired just thinking about all this stuff, let alone doing it!

It seems like creative people always have looong "To Do" lists, several projects on the go at once, and new ideas coming in by the day. This means that things are always being pushed onto a back burner (my back burner is so full it's gonna catch fire one of these days). This has always been the story of my life, except now I have people depending on me for these numerous projects, so the back burner is not an option! What's a girl to do? How does one stay motivated and focused with so many things that need to be done right now? How does one finish all the projects one starts? I'm sorry, I don't have answer. But I'll think about it, I'll persevere through the next couple of months and I'll let you all know how I managed to do it all, or else I'll let you all know how I dropped every ball and failed at life. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm off to get some cookies!