Up in the Air

Wowza! Time’s a flyin’ by these days. Last week was a blur and I missed this Monday’s post. Things are generally on the up and up though. I’ve spent a lot of time getting comfortable with my power tools; it’s becoming quite fun actually. My makeshift driveway workshop is a magic cloud of sawdust that spits out strange art and small furniture. If I could spend every day just building things, I might not be unhappy. That’s not to say that I am unhappy, but I’m discovering that there’s a lot more to being an artist than making art.

From the moment I had a few finished pieces, they were supposed to fly off the shelf and into loving homes. Unfortunately, knowing that deep down, every wallet-carrying biped has a closet physiological need for what I make, doesn’t cut it. I am charged with the indomitable task of getting even a fraction of you to acknowledge, embrace, and satisfy this need. It should be alright though, I have a marketing degree. Ha! That weapon has long since slipped out of my holster. What I am armed with is the internet, a vast network of friends and acquaintances, and the (underrated) satisfaction of actively developing a passion. I’m learning to exploit this arsenal as I’ve reached a point in my projects where I can no longer ignore the fact that sooner than later, this all is going to have to become profitable if I’m to keep it up.

Now I actually have to make decisions on where I need to spend my time, as opposed to jumping from task to task like I have been, as impulse dictates. I’m beginning to establish a rough order of operation but it requires quite a bit of work. It goes a little something like this: network online, produce a respectable inventory of “complete” and varied art, network online, disperse art around the city in appropriate restaurants and places of business, network online, design and build new creations to maintain interest and variety, network online, rinse, and repeat.

Meanwhile, I have to strenuously smother the fire within that rages to distract me with such mundane endeavors as inducting pen acrobatics into the transcendental “Desktop Olympics” and making a video to prove it.

If you have a unique Desktop Olympics talent, please don’t hesitate to share it in a comment below. These games are up and coming, you know. Plus, face it, this is likely the best chance you have to become an Olympian.

I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that I won’t always be able to corral such wild creative tangents. Although frustrating at times, it’s a gift really, to be so cheaply and easily entertained. As long as I can manage to return to focus and be generally productive overall, I’ll let some distractions fly.

Let’s see, where was I…

As I get deeper into my projects, I am able to pick out more and more of the amateur mistakes that I’ve been making and confute some of the preconceived notions I had about doing what I’m doing. For example, I know now that art does not sell itself. And a piece of art is never completely finished; it’s done enough to let go of. And often when people ask if they can help, they’re all talk. And it’s not uncommon to doubt the work that you do, or question its likability. Nor is it uncommon to doubt the possibility of making even a temporary living off a glorified hobby. And creating an online presence for yourself is incredibly time-consuming and cannot be half-assed.

As I gain momentum though, I thrive on the positive feedback and the gradual changing of attitude of those that surround me. Certain friends and critics are coming around with the realization that I’m actually serious about this. The skepticism remains, but slowly but surely it’s being drowned out. And with that, my spirit is high.

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I Lack Discipline

Last Monday, I set out for an entire week of focus and productivity. I got off to screaming start with some early morning exercise. I diligently made it through several hours of online tutorials. I tracked down some supplies for my art projects. I designed and sketched out several new ideas. I got IMPARTWORKS caught up in the social networking scene. I even turned down some opportunities to catch up with friends.

And then, Tuesday rolled around. It’s not that I ran out of steam, it’s more like I was over-ambitious. It was like wanting to do so much actually impeded my ability to focus. I was cocky. It was like, this:

By mid-week I managed to find some balance. The key to not getting ahead of myself was simply to tackle one task at a time. You could say I found discipline within. For a while.

By Friday evening, I had seemingly lost sight of the prize. I am unsatisfied with my inability to even temporarily curb my appetite for social interaction. Over the weekend, I took nearly every opportunity presented to meet up with friends. It wasn’t excessive, but I failed my one-week challenge to stay focused. One good friend of mine deemed any attempt I make at being antisocial, “ridiculous” and “counterproductive.” As much as I’d like to agree, last week’s challenge was more an exercise in self-discipline than anything else. Therein lies my disappointment.

In light of the attitude change that I created this blog to promote, I’m going to close this one out on a high note. Despite having succumb so easily to distraction, I do have some tangibles that suggest my week wasn’t a failure after all. Here is a sneak peek at a prototype and a few unfinished pieces from my first round of production under IMPARTWORKS.

Action Reaction

As I get increasingly excited over Wall Woes, IMPARTWORKS, and my other projects, these topics find their way into more and more of my everyday conversations. When somebody asks me what I do, I proudly tell them about the blog and my art, and their potential moving forward. As it turns out, if there exist two job titles on this planet that impart upon people a sense of skepticism and utter faithlessness, they are “blogger” and “artist.” Given the brevity of my surfeit of prior “career moves”, it’s possible that within my group of friends it’s a simple case of me having cried wolf one too many times. However, I’ll go out on a limb and say that “blogger” and “artist” are two terms not generally synonymous with profitability anyway. And since money is the only measure of success recognized by the majority of my friends, I’ve been graced with more than the recommended daily dose of raised eyebrows and disinclined “Oh…that’s great. Good for you”s.

That said, I’m still super stoked about where this is all going. If anything, I’m even more driven now thanks to all these sticks in the mud. Now I have something to prove. Also, it’s becoming more and more evident that in this stage of my “independent” career move, I need to surround myself only with those who are unconditionally supportive of what I’m doing. The fact that these people are so few and far between is actually a big advantage as this frees up a great deal of time and energy for me to work on the things that matter. If I didn’t have reason enough to distance myself from distractions before, I certainly do now.

In response to the reaction I’ve been getting, I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. Starting today, for one week I’m going to refrain from any and all physical contact with my world of friends outside of a work environment and focus solely on Wall Woes and company. I’m challenging myself to actively address the challenges, needs and goals set forth in Laying the Foundation. I’m genuinely curious to see how much I can accomplish in a week. I don’t know what I’m capable of since I’ve never been focused on anything for longer than 38 seconds.

I Project Projects

As liberally as I use the term “project,” I suppose I shouldn’t be so vague. Unfortunately, my ambiguity on certain topics is unintentional. I am making this up as I go so certain things won’t become clear until down the road when enough of my random thoughts merge to form a discernible concept. Everything feels like a project to me right now, but I might be able to set a few things straight.

One of my primary objectives with Wall Woes and its “projects” is to master the art of controlled mind-wandering. My greatest ideas come about when I’m not actively thinking. I’ve spent years struggling to learn and figure things out, only to discover that innovation is born of imagination and creativity. That said, the operative word is “controlled.” Somehow, I need to let my mind wander freely within the boundaries of what’s relevant to what I’m tying to accomplish.

This is where all my projects come in. Each one is essentially an extension of those boundaries, allowing my mind to drift progressively further. As long as all projects contribute to, or benefit from Wall Woes in some way, I’ll be content to lose myself in thoughts that pertain to them. But really, what are these projects?

Wall Woes is THE project. It’s the heart of my whole operation. All the juicy details hang out on the Wall Woes’ W’s page. The rest of my projects can be divvied up into two categories: Personal and Business. That’s fancy speak for short- and long-term goals, respectively. My list of personal projects is essentially a to-do list, made up of relatively simple, specific tasks. My business projects will remain quite vague for now as they are distant goals whose fate will ultimately be decided by the collective outcome of my personal projects. Given the constant evolution of all my projects and their importance to my success, I had to devise a strategy to keep them organized. Allow me to introduce my project for projects, the Projects page!