This year has been a good one of growth, exploration, learning and failing. That being said it has been the most challenging year since I finished up chemotherapy back in 2011. Not that the two are remotely close as far as a challenge but I’ve had a nice chill ride since then. It’s been good to reflect on how good things have been and all the dope people that have entered my life and without those people I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So I am not a huge fan of the “new year, new you” saying. It is nice to have a date, landmark, or event to kickstart new habits, trends, and goals but I feel like unnecessary pressure comes from these kind of “start dates”. But, what do I know?
I do try to plan things out in a way where development comes naturally and dependent on deadlines or expectations. The planner and journal I use comes from Ink + Volt. Within this journal there are overarching goals that you can set. Then over the calendar year those goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, and even daily steps. This method tends to work best for me and sets me up for the most success in accomplishing the things I set out to do.
Anyway, 2018 was busy for a lot of people, including yours truly. So 2018 was really the first year that I actually pursued art to the fullest extent and there is still so much room for growth, which excites me!
It all really started at the end of 2017 where I spent the month of December in Iceland at a residency drawing and playing music at different cafes around Reykjavik. In pursuing that opportunity and chatting with my employer it was decided that I wouldn’t have work when I returned to Chicago in January. It was on good terms and totally understood why, I had already spent a good 3 months traveling at the beginning of the year, 2017, and I didn’t plan on easing up with the travel anytime soon.
So, as I returned to Chicago I relied on some freelance work I had with Blue Man Group to help me along. However, the holidays had been good to me and people reached out for some commissioned work which is what helped me shift gears into seeing what freelance artist/designer life was like.
Thanks to Spudnik Press, I learned how to screen print, then I continued to dropped some coin on a few items to print on and to sell at the Revolution Craft Show, the first show I had been part of. I had no idea what I was doing but at that point I had made myself accountable to showing up and providing some products for people to enjoy, or not. Fortunately it was a good experience and very successful for my first attempt in the craft show circuit.
Next up was the Randolph Street Market. This was where a learning opportunity came into play, it was not the place for me or my art. Not quite as successful as the first show but not a complete loss. Probably won’t do that market again.
By this time I had started setting routes part time at Brooklyn Boulders, the place I had to quit in order to travel (heh heh heh, I snuck back in - they couldn’t get rid of me). The 12 hours a week helped supplement income with the little art I was making.
Do Division Street Fest was an dope experience and very exciting opportunity! Super successful both financially as well as networking and meeting new people. The atmosphere of summer time vibes, live music, and a bunch of creators/makers sharing their heart and soul with their fellow Chicagoans was legit. I shared a booth with my great friends Melissa and Bruce, they were slinging Trolls with air plants as hair - check them out (Fat Plantss). We had a great time that weekend.
It was also the weekend in which I was offered a job as LED tech and camera operator for the Drake and Migos Tour. Super random considering I had no experience with any video equipment and had little to no knowledge in that field. This gig was absolutely because I had networked while I toured with Blue Man Group years prior. All about who you know.
So the tour was cool and all. It was a lot of hard work and long hours in not the greatest conditions which I can totally handle it just forced me to set art aside slightly. I was still working on commissions throughout that tour, I designed a tumbler for Ipsento and a handful of tattoos which you can find on my Instagram. It was a great experience but happy to see it end, June through November is a long time to be away from home.
Back in Chicago I hit the ground running, prepping for Renegade Craft Fair! I was so stoked to be part of this. I pumped out a new series of prints and, a new line of t-shirts, hoodies and hats! With the holidays just around the corner I was hustling, slinging art left and right, and sharing where the inspiration for my work derives from - primarily the trips I’ve taken to Patagonia, Iceland, and Sweden.
Renegade wrapped up and I hit the road for the Faroe Islands, in another blog post I’ll share all the juicy details.
Back from the Faroes I had the Revolution Craft Show to get ready for, the one where it all began! I couldn’t believe what support I had from all my friends both new and old as well as IG followers that came out to say “hi” and hear about my trip. So much love was felt, it was a great time with lots of laughs, drinks, and arts.
This coming year, as long as touring doesn’t hinder me from physically being at these fairs I plan to hit more this year than I did last year, I may need a few people to stand in for me if I happen to be away so hit me up if you’re down to stand behind a table and try to convince people you are the artist.
I have got to say that things are been off to a great start considering it’s my first year trying to make this, art, happen. Know that I couldn’t have done it without you all supporting me, giving me the drive and holding me accountable to continue to create. Thank you all! I can’t wait to see what happens in 2019!