An Artist’s Life: Dealing with the Devil

The Devil inside, the Devil inside, every single one of us, a Devil inside… – INXS

There are Devils inside all of us. How you choose to interpret that devil is entirely up to you. For me, I see the devil as that dark slimy leech that sits quietly on my back, zapping me of all my energy. They are like weeds, no matter how you labor away into digging it out of the ground, it will sneak behind a tiny seed that will spring back up again in its full glory and give you an eyesore all over again. It never lets you rest until you are dead, quite literally-

Gosh, I could go on forever with these analogy thing, so I better stop. That’s not the point of this story anyway…

I’ve had my own countless battles with a Devil or two. Often in the form of Depression. Which I had since college and that was long long time ago and to this day I’m still taking the pills for, though I’m not sure if it’s even helping me anymore. There are numerous types of depression disorders but I’ve never checked to see exactly what type I have, but I often guess it’s more or less a bipolar type. One day I’m on the extreme high and feel like I can rule the world, the next day I find myself at the imaginative pit of darkness that I can’t crawl out of. Up and down, left and right, it’s like a roller coaster set on infinite loop. Perhaps I don’t really have depression it’s my brain tricking me into thinking I’m suffering from it. Who knows, that could also be the work of the devil, trying to keep me down as much as possible and telling me it is futile to fight it. And just when I think I may have pushed him out of my life and am ready to move forward he pops up again TADA I’M STILL HERE B*@)#!

Either way, the Devil is stuck with me, and I am stuck with him. It will latch on to you and never let go. That is a fact I have since accepted, and learned to live around it. Which of course took many painful years, and it still hurts but that’s what I had accepted as well. There are some things we just cannot fight off, so we have to learn to live with it. The silver lining in that is it can be advantageous to you both mentally and spiritually. And in my case it can add fuel to my creativity. Keeping it optimistic can help a lot in dealing with that devil inside; though sometimes he will get the upper hand, in that case we can learn from our errors, and then get back on our feet and keep walking.

Stay well, and let’s get through this. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. No Devil or even that tiny virus can keep us down forever. There is an end and a new beginning. So to quote the popular phrase: KEEP CALM, AND CARRY ON!

Until next time…

The Artist’s Life: A Relapse

It seems that I have missed the last two weeks of blogging. I’m afraid the Demon is upon me again.

And I thought I was strong enough to beat it last time.

Guess I can blame the Lockdown…

An Artist’s Life: Twitching for Attention…

These days it’s easier now than ever for everyone (I mean, EVERYONE) to get their fifteen minutes of fame (which was famously quoted by the legendary Andy Warhol) via such apps as Youtube and Twitch. The latter is primarily for live streaming video games though other activities such as cooking and art are also featured regularly. I could not help but give into the temptation of putting my big pretty face in front of a webcam and show myself playing video games as of late, especially being stuck indoors to avoid the Coronavirus storm and there is only so much of my energy I can really pour all into just drawing and painting (or simply put, when I run into that dreaded “block”). There were couple other reasons too, actually. One was to overcome the “stage fright” I always get when I get myself in front of an audience of any size, big and small. Secondly being an artist these days means I need to really put my @$$ out there in the open and promote away so people can at least see that I the artist actually exist. Now streaming myself playing video games terribly (yes, I play terribly) may not seem like anything-considering this is a very dense field and millions of people go online doing the same thing daily so it takes tremendous effort to stand out of the crop- and has no way to do with my art. But I came to believe there is no right or wrong way to promote myself. Anything I can do to attract some fish to my bait line I must be willing to walk over my limits. And besides I like video games, I always have since the 8-bit Nintendo days, so it’s a win-win.

My Twitch channel should you choose to be interested can be found on the sidebar of my blog page, or on the Twitch site where I operate under the moniker atAaLLGIRL. As of now I have only less than 10 followers and average a paltry 0 viewers. I’m a humorless stiff but I’m trying to change that. Initially it felt weird talking out loud to myself (especially when I read out the subtitles from the games) but on the bright side I get a good tongue exercise out of it. And even if nobody wants to watch me babble on and play a really bad round of Mortal Kombat 11 at least they can browse my channel page and hopefully click on one of the links that goes to my website or other social media channels and find out about my art. Anything to get attention, you know.

Have a Good, Safe, Corona-Free Weekend!

An Artist's Life: Que Sera, Sera

Sometimes the best thing to do in face of a crisis is just let it be…

The year 2020 has taken off with a big KABOOM. And after almost three months in, it’s still only getting started.

The sudden tragic passing of LosAngeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant with eight other passengers on that doomed helicopter flight in Jan 26 (one of them being his daughter) had the City of Angels reeling at its loss, which was felt all around the globe. The news got me feeling numb and helpless, just another reminder that life is short and fragile, and we are mere humans with our days numbered; our life can end in a blind no of an eye and we would not be prepared for it.

Then came the COVID19.

It was apparent that this was a long time coming- the Black Plague that had wiped out a third of the world’s population many centuries ago has reemerged in the 21st Century in a form of a new kind of virus, one that my Dad sometimes affectionately called “the bat flu.” It was nothing new of course there had been other kinds of flu that had nearly erupted into a pandemic years before- bird flu, swine flu, SARS, MERS- among several other non flu related diseases. But this time it’s more serious, thanks to the ineptitude of the authorities drunk by the hush money and and foolish pride this flu managed to reach the finish line the other flu types had failed before, and now to date has seen to nearly 340,000 cases and 19000+ deaths worldwide(Coronavirus tracker, updated frequently). And now with the order issued everywhere for civilians to stay indoors and avoid social contact we have become prisoners in our own homes. Whatever short term or long term plans we’ve made will have to wither wait or bid adieu with no certainty of when this ordeal will end.

And that’s just fine with me.

By now I’ve learned the futility of making meticulous plans and to be more open to whatever sudden changes or hurdles may come my way. I’ve written about this few weeks ago so I know what to do now. I just sit back, relax, drink beer, make art, play video games, eat junk food, watch dumb YouTube videos, all while waiting for this whole thing to blow over. Of course most important of all take care of my health and my parents and survive on hope that we, our families outside this house, and friends across the country and beyond will make it through this storm and in the future this will be just another one of those dinnertime chats.

Here’s a sweet little song to end this rant by the lovely late Doris Day:

Stay Safe Everyone. God Bless You All.

An Artist’s Life: The Home Studio

What are the perks (and quirks) of working from home?

The ever evolving technologies of the Internet has allowed many people to forgo the rush to clean up get ready and combat the nightmarish commute (especially in L.A.) to their workplace, and work from the comfort of their own homes. For some it’s the financial freedom away from the extra bills and monthly rents that comes with running a business. But of course there are some drawbacks to that, depending on your circumstances. If you are single and young it would be fine; if you’ve got a growing family, that’s another matter. Imagine trying to get some reports done under the stress of kids yelling from outside your room, if they even stay outside at all. You know what I mean. The same can be said about art studios.

Unfortunately I do not have the luxury of owning a spacious loft on the top floor of a skyscraper in the middle of downtown. Thanks to my parents I was allowed to set up my art practice in the bedroom I had shared with my sister for many years. Since scrapping the car studio I had searched around for some time for any affordable workspace near where I lived. But if you are living in California these days the word “affordable” is virtually nonexistent; or rather, it will probably get you a minimum of a 4×4 windowless room without a private bathroom (think Extra Space Storage). Now that I got a studio in the same roof where I’m living with my parents I am spared the hassle of battling traffic wasting precious time on the road as well as the expenses that follows such as gas and parking. It has now been six months now since I have started my studio and here are few things I have learned, the upsides and the downsides of working from home as an artist:

The Pros

  1. As I mentioned before, there is no need to dress up and hit the traffic. No waiting behind the wheels with every car moving inch by inch, no nutjob drivers trying to run you down, no worries about that shaky steel pipe that might roll out of the back of that pickup in front of you. And now with this coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe and goverments issuing orders for citizens to stay indoors makes it that much more convenient.
  2. Ease of expenses. Room rent, utility, internet, fully covered. My parents are not hounding me to pay my share thankfully; after all I am broke and unemployed. I do earn my keep of course by helping around and running errands regularly.
  3. Unlimited access to the studio space. Again since I don’t have to drive out through the nightmarish traffic I can simply walk in and out whenever I want, while living under the same roof. And I don’t need to go through the hassle of dressing up (or down)
  4. Security. All my tools and equipments right in my sight, so I don’t need to worry about any dumb burglars trying to break in and steal them. Yes the house is protected too.

And of course, there be the Cons

  1. Limited privacy. While my parents agreed to abide my working schedule it still does not stop them from occasionally calling me out when they need something. After all my mom is still a patient and needs lots of help. The bigger problem is Dad, who has a bad habit of poking his nose in whenever he darn pleases.
  2. It’s NOT my house. Even though I got my parents’ blessing it still no way means I can turn the room into a fantastic mess. I have to always take care to not stain the carpets with paint or chemicals, and tidy up the space when my work is done for the day.
  3. Isolation. There is that age-old belief that artists are loners and relish in the sense of isolation. That is true to some degree, but even artists need to socialize with their peers from time to time as a way to replenish their mind and spirit, as well as to keep up to date on local happenings and trends. Thanks to the Coronavirus scare however it’s become more difficult to step out to social events, and no matter how good virtual socializing can be it no way replace that natural human need to bond with other beings in physical presence.

When I think about it, it’s pretty clear that the Pros outweigh the Cons; I am learning to to adjust and adapt to everything I have listed in the Cons section. The last one is actually a doozy; I’ve been running solo my whole life since grade school that it hasn’t really affected me to this day. I still would like a large loft studio someday, but for now it’s best to hunker down and make my work at the comfort of my home (or rather, my parents’ home, hee).

I must make note here: Everything I write about here is solely based on my own personal observations and not a real scientific fact. So please for the love of God do not take anything you read here seriously and think it can work for you too. Because in this crazy world we live in there is no one-size-fits-all.

Take care everyone, and stay safe in this dark times.