An Artist’s Life: Time to Say Goodbye…

Sometimes you gotta know when to let go and don’t look back…

Well what a crazy year 2020 has been.

Sure every year had its WTF moments. But to date (im my opinion of course) no year could be more profound than what the whole world had faced just last year, in one unforgettable word: CORONAVIRUS.

Who could have ever guessed that one tiny spiked ball of germ could have such devastating impact socially, politically, AND economically, and on a global scale at that. What’s more despairing is that it didn’t have to get out of control like this. There had been even worse pandemic-scale diseases in the last decades, such as Ebola, SARS, MERS, Mad Cow, to name a few. Thankfully all of them had been tamed without so much as a disruption to our daily routines. The main sources of the failure to contain this one can all be traced to the Fake News fiasco, the blatant incompetence of our leaders (one in particular, with a capital T), and then the irresponsible and reckless nature of our selves for resisting the orders to avoid crowding and to wear that mask.

But there is no point in pining and griping about what we should have or should not have. The water has passed through the bridge, the damage is done. Life will never be the same.

And we have to live with it. Whether we like it or not. Let us hope we can learn from the mistakes and move forward, making amends where necessary.

For me it’s time to turn a blank page of my life book.

The pandemic had stumped my year’s worth of plans to expand upon my art career. Art fairs and conventions were cancelled, people were strapping up their wallets and spending only on the Essential goods (of course Art is not considered an essential good) and with all the curbing on social gatherings there was no way to try and make the necessary connections. I had to pull out of a gallery after only a year since I could not afford to continue paying the rent. On the flip side I’ve learned to expand my artistic presence online and grow some of my social media followings. But there was still much to be done, and I cannot do it without any financial stability. Such is the Artist’s Life, indeed.

Beginning this year I have started doing meal and grocery delivery work via Instacart and Postmates and will soon be working part-time at a small firm. And I was able to make spare some time to continue my studio work and building online presence. It was not so hard as I had thought, it’s actually doable if you do it right and with a positive attitude. I will try to document my progress here from time to time so I can come back and see how far I have gone (or fallen back, which hopefully will be rare). I still have my dream project at work and I will soon post new updates on that. I will resist the urge to wallow in my past woes and push on to my goals, making sure to be prepared for any obstacles that will surely come my way.

Let this year will be the Year of Recovery, not just for me, but for everyone. Let bygones be bygones, say Adios to 2020, don’t look back, and march forward. And by the way:

An Artist’s Life: The Art of De-Cluttering

Have you ever taken a step back and look around you and realized what fantastic mess you are standing on?

I have no affinity for neatness. Sure once in a while I would take some time to straighten up the clutter in front of me when I have nothing else better to do, then drop the neatness mode and make a mess all over again that goes on for days or even months without stopping. This happens especially when I buy a new item to add to my piling collection of junk that I had forgotten about ages ago. Much of my spending habits could have been curbed if I had taken some time to sift and search through every nook and cranny of my space and find that one sketchbook that still had many empty pages to be filled or a pen that still has plenty of ink to fill 100 pages. No being a lazy bone that I am I assume that I’ve lost it somewhere and head out and buy a replacement.

Probably the only times I actually do take the effort to stop and clean up is when I have run out of the creative juice and in need of the search for a pickerupper. Time to time I flip through my piles of old sketchbooks and past art projects from school and beyond for some ideas. That is when my eyes would open and I can actually see the mess that I had long ignored. That is the first step- the second step, the one I often stumble on, is making the time to clean up the space.

I have really bad handling of time, you see. I often complain and complain that I do not have enough time to get anything done when in reality I had more than enough. It’s the matter of pushing my big heavy butt off the couch and getting a move on. It’s happened so many times I’m not laughing anymore at how much I had missed.

Now with this COVID-19 pandemic forcing many of us indoors there is NO excuse to take this opportunity to follow through with that ‘spring cleaning’ my space I often mulled over. It didn’t stop me from trying, of course, but eventually I settled the time and days that I would organize.

Starting with my desk, it looked like a jungle of snakes running around with all these USB cables and peripherals for my computer smooched in this tiny corner desk space. When it got to the point that I coudn’t figure out which cable belong to which that I decided to get a desktop shelf. Though in this case instead of buying, I made it using old cardboards and newspaper, as you can see below:

So the desk looked clean as a whistle, finally. Now, about these piles of papers, books, and other itty bitty toys I’d stashed away into oblivion of the closet and shelves (even under the bed), and in anticipation for more additions in the future, I got Dad to help put up some extra shelves:

Now with the dust settled I can say I have more space for storage and easier access to things I need to use. I’ve even managed to toss out some empty boxes I had not bee aware of before which contributed to more mess as well as some items I no longer have any use for, though it took a bit of courage to kiss and say goodbye. I always think I would use it sometimes in the future, then forget about it and it would sit there collecting dust. As I once heard, “Close your eyes, throw it away, and forgetabouit.” There is this feeling you get after a days worth of cleaning your room-not only the room is clean, but I feel clean too. And more energized and ready to tackle on new stuff or tasks I have long stashed away.

So the lesson learned: organization really matters. And not only with your room, but your way of life as well.

An Artist’s Life : Keeping Calm Thru a Storm

Life is stormy. No question about it.

Whether it’s this current COVID-19 crisis or your own mental breakdown troubles can come knocking at our doors at any time any where, whenever it darn pleases. And we as humans have no control over it. So what to do about it?

Fight it? Well, how do you fight a storm? You will only end up slipping across the wet grounds and get a bruising or worse, not to mention soaking wet.

Do nothing and ignore it? After all you cannot reason with a storm. Just sit through it and wait for it to pass may seem more logical and less painful, but still does not solve anything.

It’s the same deal as when you are dealing with the Devil inside you. There is no gain from fighting it or ignoring it because it never sleeps. It will hound you and push you around until you break, which is exactly what it wants. Instead you have to live with and work with it, using whatever smarts you have to resist its powers and turn it around to your own benefit. Same goes for the storm of life.

So most every one of us are sitting at our homes, cut off from all human contact except your own family, no where to go since everything is just about closed. Some even have lost jobs and running thin on essential needs. And left and right we are bombarded with one bad news after another, the incompetence of our current world leaders (won’t put names, but you can guess) not knowing when or if a cure is even on the way, and various uncertainties of the future when we can finally get out from our homes.

But moping around in your undies won’t really get you anywhere, will it? As mentioned, if you cannot avoid it, make it work to your benefit.

Like some people may take this as an opportunity to reconnect with their loved ones the way they could not before because of work and/or other life obligations. Others might use this sudden day off from work as a way to catch up on non-work related duties like cleaning the house or working the garden, or even binge watch away those talked about TV shows or movies you had missed. Still another way can be to take up on that hobby you always wanted to try or might have given up before.

It can be done. As Theodore Rosevelt once said, When You Start, You’re Already Halfway There. (Actually I cant remember if he said that or someone else, anyone?) Starting is the hardest part, at least it had been for me. And once I do start, I can keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

We can always find some positives out of the negatives, if we just start looking. And when we maintain that mindset we can weather through any storm.

Stay Safe, Everyone.

An Artist’s Life: Art and the Mental State

Does an artist have to be crazy to make great art?

It is a widely known myth that artists are β€˜crazy.’  Vincent van Gogh is the unwitting poster daddy of the crazy artist.  True, artists stand apart from ordinary people in the way they think and present themselves.  Often artists will go against the norms of social behavior and status quo and use the title β€˜artist’ to justify their actions.  But there are plenty of artists out there that are just like regular folks and thrive in their life and practice.  

So which category do I stand on? Actually that’s tough to say. I guess it really depends on what others think. What I might consider normal might be the opposite to others, and vice versa. But I don’t expect to check into an asylum any time soon like poor old van Gogh did, unless I lose my mind and lose all control and sense of thinking. At least for me Art keeps me sane and on steady ground, my escape from real world surroundings when I need a break away from it (and believe me, I’m sure everyone needs such break from time to time).

I admit, that for the past six to seven years my art has been rather dark and depressing, muddled in blacks and whites with muted colors and many looking like a schizo was in town. However you might think of it, I can compare it to Picasso’s Blue Period. But I aim now to move away from the darkness and walk on toward more bright and happy tone. I realized I want more colors in my life and I aim to pursue it in the coming months. Especially with this COVID19 virus scare keeping us indoors I can definitely use some brightening up. I will keep you updated on that progress.

Have a great week everyone, and stay safe.

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…