Thursday, September 29, 2011

social media

When I'm trying to meditate, or breathe my way through yoga, or focus on The Now, I often find myself drifting into a fantasy of being interviewed by Vanity Fair, Ira Glass, Teri Gross, or even Playboy. You know those quick little Q & A's that some magazines do? One of the questions they always ask people is what characteristic is most important to have, and what traits they most value in other people. If I were asked that question, my answer would be "integrity" and "bravery." Playboy bunnies almost always answer "honesty." How do I know that?  I just do.

Of course if I were being interviewed by those people-- and I'm still holding out that it could happen someday-- I would not be asked either of those questions, I would be asked the question I always get, which is, "What is your advice to an artist starting out?"  I've already written a bunch about that topic right here.

I'm always thinking about that question, and refining my past answers, and coming up with new responses. I have a new answer right now.  My new answer to the question of what I advise artists starting out-- or who are already out and on their way-- is to get very skilled at social media.  And when I say "social media" I am referring to the social media juggernaut: the facebook, blogging, and the twitter.  And Flikr, which I guess is social media, but I look at it more as online image storage. And I'm rooting for Google+, which I adopted right away because it is so much better than facebook.  But I'm not going to get into that right now.

I've been trying to write an informative and interesting post about this topic all week, and every post I've attempted totally sucks. There is so much information about social media out there already.  I know I have knowledge to share that is helpful for the artist, but my brain keeps overloading.

 Then, it occurred to me as I was writing a third sucky draft on this topic, that rather than try to figure out what I should write about social media, I should use social media as a way to let you tell me what you want to know, what's helpful for you.  So I set up a discussion tab on my facebook fan page, and then I was promptly informed by facebook that they are discontinuing the discussion tab soon because they think the best way to encourage discussion is by people leaving comments on your page.  That is just one reason why I get so sick of facebook, they are always trying to control how I use them.  So we'll keep it simple by starting the discussion right here in the comments forum.  Post any question, answer, comment, or thought about social media you have below.  Let's get the discussion going! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Yesterday as I was on my way to my local box manufacturer to pick up an order of shipping boxes, crawling along in freeway traffic trying to edge around an accident that turned the road into a parking lot, I fondly recalled the days where I hardly left the studio except to go home and sleep.  I would get to work as early as possible in the day to throw, trim, decorate, and glaze.  I didn't have a computer, employees, a production schedule, or frankly, many customers to distract me from my work.  Now, my studio work is only one aspect of what I have to do everyday.  And it's very easy for the day to turn into a total clusterfuck.

By the time I got through the accident,  took the wrong exit and spent another 20 minutes trying to  get back to where I needed to be, picked up the boxes, and drove back to the studio, 90 minutes had gone by.  And I was a simmering.  My mantra, in these moments, is, "This is your job, and it's better than working for the man, trying to look busy while you think up clever facebook posts, being told when you can take your lunch break or your vacation, and dying for Fridays when you can go get wasted and forget what you do for a living." Too bad that mantra doesn't do shit for making me feel better, or productive.

With the distractions I cope with every day it's a wonder I have a business at all. What's the lesson here? I have no effin' idea.  Actually, I do. It's all about choices.  I chose to go pick up boxes instead of having them delivered because it saved me 90 bucks in freight charges.  And I need that 90 bucks for my therapist who helps me deal with my resentments and anxiety around my business and artwork.  See?  It's all working together like a nice, tightly interlocked puzzle.  Now, where's that damn corner piece?

Monday, September 12, 2011

endless summer

Last week, I got into an accident on my bicycle, resulting in a neck injury that has kept me from doing any studio work.  For those of you that like accident details, I was doored, which in bicycling parlance means someone suddenly opened their car door in front of me.  One second I was pedaling along, the next second I was flying through the air, and preparing to make contact with the bumper from a stopped truck in front of me with my face.  It's amazing how when you are in an accident your brain is still processing and thinking, and what I was thinking was how much plastic surgery was going to cost to fix my about-to-be-smashed face.  Somehow, I got my feet under me and rolled onto my shoulder, which hurt, but saved the bones in my face.  Somewhere in between the flying and the sprawling on the pavement, I also tweaked my neck.

 I work very little during July and August, and the day of my accident was the same day I was "getting back to work."  I know I should be prepping myself for the holidays during the summer, but you know what?  Fuck the holidays.  I'm sick to death of being a slave to the season. Being off work for another week gave me plenty of time to consider how screwed I am right now.  I made all kinds of false promises to myself about what I would do this summer to tighten up my business, make new work, ramp up my marketing.  All I did was get so lazy that I can barely answer emails.  And, I gained weight  from the gallons of beer I drank in my backyard in between naps.  Honestly, I think I slept more in my backyard this summer than I did in my own bed. Here it is, almost mid-September and what do I have to show for it?  A half completed new website and 5 pounds.

This is the problem:  When the pressure is off, I'm off.  My brain gets all floaty and vague.  My goals get fuzzy.  I forget that I have a job. For me to get shit done, I need to be under the gun. By the way, I think that expression should be the new "Keep calm and carry on" and someone should make a poster of it right now.  And by "someone" I mean "someone else".  I need a challenge, and a deadline to keep things popping in my work.  And I'm ready!  I swear I'm ready to get going again, if only I could turn my head...