Intention Over Convenience
Be Nice. Work Hard.
Twenty four hours in a day, seven days in a week, you multiply those two numbers and it’s 168 hours. It’s a number that you may not be familiar with, but it’s a good one to know to get a reality check on how you are spending your time.
Say that you have a demanding job and you’re at work for 10 hours Monday through Friday (50 hours). Let’s be generous and say we get 8 hours of sleep each night (56 hours! Wouldn’t that be amazing?). Count two hours a day for eating, and 1 hour at the gym everyday (21 hours). Subtract that from 168 and you still have 41 hours left. That’s another full time job, and time for three episodes of “The Office”.
Craft + Commerce 2019
Those four words have stayed with me years after the project ended. I recently had a conversation with a friend, reflecting on what we’ve been through and dreaming about where we want to go. I brought up this story to them because it boils down how to be successful as a freelancer. Freelancing essentially is about providing someone (the client) with something of value (your art). If you can do that over and over again, and earn more than you spend, you can make a living as a freelancer. And the way to do that is to be nice to the people you work with, and work hard on making your art. It’s so simple that it seems obvious, but it’s not easy to put into practice.
Film is Not Dead
I didn’t expect the service I use to send emails to organize one of the most uplifting and inspiring conferences I’ve attended. I had a letter ready to send you on Monday, but I decided to postpone till next week so I can share my experience and takeaways from the conference. I have pages and pages of notes from the sessions I attended, and have made friendships with people who share the same mindset of creating art that is generous and empathetic. In short, I’ve found my tribe.
The Day the Music Died
Film photography also forces you to really learn about what goes into taking a photo. I learned how to shoot on a digital camera, and so when I started to shoot film it was frustrating. I was so dependent on the screen on the back of my camera to make sure my image was in focus and properly exposed. Learning how to use the camera and get the right photo, not only made me understand photography better, it made me think deeper about what I was photographing.
I Promise, No Spoilers
I picked up a guitar when I was in 7th grade. My mom had spent thousands on violin lessons only to have my heart move onto guitars. I went to a Dave Matthews Band concert that year, and I was hooked. I dreamt about being on a stage one day with just my guitar; singing my songs to an audience, pouring my heart out, and connecting with them. It was all I wanted. I spent most of my teenage years practicing in my room, learning riffs, writing lyrics.
The Artists of Mexico City
I couldn’t help but feel guilty coming back to work from my sabbatical. Freelancing has a way of leading you down a rabbit hole of feeling like you’re never doing enough and you’re never earning enough. These seventh-week sabbaticals are a way of harnessing myself so that I don’t wander too far down that hole. I know they’re good for me; the trip to Mexico was so inspiring. Still it’s hard to give myself whole-hearted permission to do it, but here’s to trusting the process.
I Don't Want to Be Safe Anymore
Mexico City, or CDMX, is a city for the senses: the vibrant colors of buildings, the scent of freshly made tortilla from the taco stand, a trio playing a lively song in front of diners, walls with murals that span half a block, and the delicious food. Oh, the food. CDMX is a total foodie town.
We went last week during our sabbatical to cap off celebrations for Becky’s 30th birthday. Our friend Andrew said such wonderful things about the city, and he encouraged us to visit. All I knew of Mexico were beaches and Spring Break. How ignorant I was.
The First Thing I Do Every Morning
I had a great talk with a photographer this week that helped fan the embers of the kind of art that I want to create. This is the kind of work that doesn’t have revenue or a strategy behind it. And work that I know isn’t easy, but that keeps’s tugging at me to start.
The most revealing feedback he gave me about my own work the past few years was that it was safe. Safe to me is the opposite of what I’ve been talking about as art these last few weeks. Being generous, taking a risk, making a connection, all these things cannot be done if I’m concerned about my safety. Safe is the consequence of not making my personal work a priority and just going from one project to the next. I don’t want to be safe anymore.
We Are All Artists
I wanted to share a practice I’ve implemented in my life that has helped me be more creative and prolific in my work. They have been the catalyst for these letters, my personal and professional work, and hopefully beyond. The first one I want to share about is called morning pages.
Art is a human act, a generous contribution, something that might not work, and it is intended to change the recipient for the better, often causing a connection to happen.