This year was a great one overall. I tried new things, spent a lot of time outdoors and felt a tremendous amount of growth. As this year comes to an end, I am super happy as I have spent a lot of time catching up with friends and family. Normally, I don't have New Year's resolutions, but this year, I want to make more time for reading books and less time for awesome TV shows like Fargo Season 2.
As I look back on the year and write this, I do feel like not every year goes quite like this one. There are always good and bad years. I know I like to travel, spend time outdoors and make art, so I try to spend as much time and energy doing those things as I can. This means I don't have a normal job, I don't have my own car (though I share one) and I don't have lots of new clothes or fancy things. My savings account is small. And 401k? What's that?? Maybe I haven't really "grown up", but oh well, I like my life.
Here are some highlights from the year...
100 Day Project
Ah, the 100 Day Project. If you aren't tired of this phrase yet, I'd be surprised:) This project was awesome in so many ways. It pushed me to think differently and work when I didn't want to. Although I didn't stick to doing it daily, I feel accomplished. The support I had through likes, comments, purchase of original artwork, to calendar orders, really blew my mind. There will be a separate post about it next week.
I assisted Jen Stark with her mural at Facebook headquarters. It was quite an experience being at the not-quite-open new building. Jen was amazing to work with, as was the crew of artists above. Facebook also treated us so well offering us anything we needed.
You can probably tell from my art that I am really inspired by nature. I just need to get out and see trees and open land without other humans, probably because I live in the crowded Bay Area. I camped with my good friend Kelli at Armstrong Redwoods, with another group of friends near Mammoth Lakes and with another few good friends in the Ohlone Wilderness. So many gorgeous sunsets, some grueling footsteps and quality time with good friends. Sometimes I think I should be a park ranger rather than an artist.
You can find the original posts on these trips:
I went on my first cruise, which was an interesting experience. We went with good friends and saw so many incredible sites in Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Grand Cayman Island. It was a dream to be out at sea, though I guess my original dream involved a sailboat. Still, the cruise ship was a great way to see so many places in a week. I swam with dolphins, cruised through a river with dolphins and sharks, watched a lightning storm at sea, worked out at sea and on and on. It was surreal.
Probably one of my favorite art jobs, I painted people's dreams for the New York mattress company Casper. They gave me a station to paint guests' dreams on cocktail napkins. You can read more in the original post here.
I started training jiu jitsu in May of this year, right after I got back from the cruise. I have been working really hard at it, going 4-5 days a week when I can. I have made amazing new friends that inspire me with their skill. I competed at a small competition and surprisingly won gold. I prepared and trained hard for it, but I have never won anything athletic in my life. In fact, I was a pretty clumsy kid and always one of the last running around the track in P.E. I never played on team sports and although I like being active, I don't know that I push myself as much as I should. With jiu jitsu, you have to push yourself. You want to get better because you don't want to be smashed or submitted by someone else. Plus it's fun and you just want to be good at it. I'm excited to see where this goes this year.
I think I have a little fear of painting live in front of people. They can see your awkward starts, your rough drafts and I learned they like to make a ton of suggestions. Although I have done public art on the street before, this was different. I had a lot of fun painting at the Cinequest Film Festival earlier this year. Being in a window where an audience watches you and votes? Needless to say, it was a great experience. It also prompted me to be more comfortable sketching out in public at coffee shops and other art events. I believe doing this also lead to the above painting project for Casper. You can read more about this even in the original post.
If you know me well, you know my frustration with tabling events. Don't get me wrong, it's fine to do if you have products, but if you are selling art, it's not always the greatest experience in my book. Or maybe I'm not great at selling at these things? Whatever the case, I decided to stop doing these this holiday and I have to say I loved it. I will likely still do occasional popup shops, but I am over the 2-day events.
The other way I have had to say no is to friends and sometimes family. I hate to do it, but in order to get my work done sometimes I have to skip out on the fun or seeing friends or even going to events that I feel I should be going to. It often feels bad on my end, but it has to happen if I have a tight deadline on a portrait or proposal. On the bright side, saying no has helped me get things done.
Working Very Small and Very Big
The smallest art I made was this one-inch square galaxy, seen above. The largest art was the 4x6 foot painting for the Cinequest Film Festival. I like working both ways and hope to continue to do so in 2016.
Who knows what will happen in 2016? Every year I do this and it's interesting to see how many things get checked off the list. I suggest you try it! So far, this is what I can think of.
- Dig into the more mysterious, subconscious and dreamy side of my work
- Submit book proposal(s)
- Do another art residency
- Make ceramics again
- Submit portfolio for editorial work (I'd love to illustrate for Lenny Letter)
- Continue SoFA Sketch
- Complete the second half of my sailing classes for certification
- Attempt to hike Half Dome again (hopefully not closed due to fire this time)
- Backpack at Wildcat Camp in Point Reyes
- Train hard in jiu jitsu