This time of year I always seem to find myself more contemplative than ever. It’s almost like I can’t help but evaluate my experiences of last year and come up with a fuzzy idea of a plan that is not really a plan for the new year.
I think everyone does this to one extent or another. I remember back in my less optimistic days, this time of year was only a reminder that time was running out. I would spend most of my time thinking about lost opportunities, and how terrible my year went. Yeah, I was not a ray of sunshine back then, and to be honest, my life was a reflection of my attitude.
Luckily for me, I stopped being a dumb-ass and started to appreciate this thing we call life.
My new year resolutions are not the typical “I want my butt to look better in jeans” type of resolutions (my butt looks great in jeans, btw), they have more to do with realizations I had throughout the year.
The one that is really on my mind is based on our recent trips and around 60 hours worth of conversations on said trips with Klee.
Appreciating every single individual moment that I spend being alive, and really taking advantage of the fact that I am breathing and able to make decisions that impact my life now. Essentially, not waiting around for things to happen, but just living now. Our experience last year was a solid realization that life is extremely short… So EVERY moment is precious.
Remembering that I am unique, but so is everyone else and there really isn’t such a thing as normal. Everyone is weird, but there are those who embrace it, and there are those who hide it. Embrace it always.
Well, that’s all I have so far, it’s still a work in progress and Klee and I will probably have some long conversations about feelings, goals, life, and other fun stuff. Have fun figuring out your awesome resolutions for 2019.
Oh yeah, play more guitar, write more blogs, film more videos, create more amazing art, and try to ween myself off of Snyder’s buffalo pretzel bits, those are on the list as well, so we’ll see how those go for 2019. Just kidding on the pretzel bits, I’m never gonna give those up.
I am very excited to announce that this year will be the second year of limited edition calendars to be released by me. There was such an amazing response last year that I am even more excited about this project!
Each series calendar has art that was carefully chosen by me in order to convey the message that I would like you to carry with you throughout the year.
This year, the first 50 orders will receive a free gift with their calendar!
Same as last year, I will be taking pre-orders online from November 4th – December 5th. Please make sure to order before the December 5th deadline, I had a few people that missed the deadline last year and couldn’t order a calendar. Also, these are pre-orders only, I will not have calendars with me at the market. Contact me if you want a calendar but are unable to prepay online.
You Can Pre- Order The Calendars On My Web Store.
All orders will ship by December 15th. Receive a 10% discount when you order 2 or more at a time. Use discount code at checkout: CALENDARS2019 and save!
Because I designed these calendars for myself and Klee, I also added a few non official holidays:
Along with all U.S. Holidays,
-January 13 – Make your dreams come true day
-February 16th – Do a grouch a favor day
-February 17th – Random act of kindness day
-February 22nd – Single tasking day
-February 24th – Tortilla chip day
-March 16th – Everything you do is right day
-March 19th – Let’s laugh day
-March 22nd – International goof off day
-March 26th – Make up your own holiday day
-April 14th – Look up at the sky day
-April 17th – Haiku Poetry Day
-April 23rd – Take a chance day
-April 30th – Honesty day
-May 4th – Starwars day
-May 5th – No pants day
-May 14th – Dance like a chicken day
-May 21st – Talk like Yoda day
-June 1st – Say something nice day
-June 8th – Best friends day
-July 3rd – Compliment your mirror day
-August 8th – Happiness happens day
-August 16th – Tell a joke day
-August 31st – Eat outside day
-September 4th – Eat an extra dessert day
-September 13th – Positive thinking day
-September 28th – Ask a stupid question day
-October 28th – International Observe the Moon Night
-November 24th – Celebrate your unique talent day
-December 19th – Ugly Sweater Day
-December 24th – Eggnog Day
I am excited to announce that I will be showing my art in the alcove at Artel Gallery in beautiful downtown Pensacola.
The show is called Sunflowers & The Nature Of Being. It is meant to ignite the spark within the imagination of the viewer as he or she explores the art, discovering a collection based on beauty, nature, and the human spirit.
I’m hoping it will be a window for self discovery, dialogue and inspiration. Show runs from Sept 4th – Oct 19th.
Join me for the reception on Sept 13th from 6 -8pm.
What: Sunflowers & The Nature Of Being Solo Show Reception
As I approached the gallery I found myself wondering how in the world I was going to get the massive sculpture I constructed up the stairs. I had somehow managed to squeeze it into my car without damaging it, which I attributed to dumb luck.
Luck seemed to be on my side that morning, considering I had pulled into a parking spot right in front of the shiny and unending staircase into the gallery.
I’ve entered the juried art competitions at Artel Gallery a handful of times with varying results. I still remember the first piece I entered, which was rejected with no particular pomp and circumstance. It was laid off to the side with the other rejects waiting for me to glumly collect it, like picking up a child from detention.
That rejection had a devastating impact on my self esteem as an artist for some time. I had just started selling my art and gaining some traction with local collectors, and it caused me to feel like I wasn’t good enough to continue masquerading as an artist.
It wasn’t until several years later that I decided to enter another piece, which didn’t get rejected.
The marble steps to the gallery blazed white in the hot sun, daring me to make a move. I had managed to get the sculpture out of the car without damaging it, knocking myself in the head only once.
The only idea that my mind could seem to muster that morning was to pick up the sculpture and maneuver the stairs as quickly as possible. The sculpture isn’t necessarily heavy, it’s just awkward to carry around, because like most sculptures, I didn’t design it to be carried around.
I prepared myself at the bottom of the mountainous stairs, glanced around to make sure no one was watching, and steadied my breath. One false move and all the work and effort that went into my art would be laying in pieces on the forbidding marble steps.
After deciding to enter my art again, I got pieces into four separate shows, won best of show, and had a solo show in their alcove. I also got rejected two more times, but it didn’t have an impact on my self esteem as an artist. Some might attribute the lack of feeling dejected to the fact that I had a couple years as a career artist under my belt, but I know plenty of seasoned artists who have a difficult time with any rejection.
I don’t have difficulty with rejection because after two years of avoiding art competitions, I finally realized that you can’t win if you don’t enter; and your art is not being rejected, it simply didn’t match the taste of the juror. The thing is, that art competitions don’t matter, but if you want to win one, you are going to have to face rejection. In fact, if you want to do anything awesome or important with your art career, you are probably going to face a lot of rejection and criticism.
If you want to be safe from rejection, then don’t put yourself out there, don’t do anything different from the norm, don’t try to have a voice, and definitely don’t become an artist.
Simply because someone rejects your artwork (or whatever it may be) doesn’t mean that you are worthless. It doesn’t have anything to do with you, and never will. A lot of people avoid thinking about being rejected or losing, but in my opinion it’s a good idea to think about that worst case scenario, and face the fear in your mind.
What if my piece gets rejected? How will I feel? What does it mean?
These could be hard questions, but until you ask yourself and question the validity of your answers, you are going to keep reacting in misery to rejection. The really cool thing about exploring these questions is that you don’t have to react at all, you can respond to the situation however you like.
My answers are less dramatic and devastating since I’ve had a chance to explore this topic and really decide how I want to respond to these questions and this particular type of rejection.
What if my piece gets rejected?
Then it get’s rejected. I pick it up, bring it home and probably sell it at some point in my lifetime. Who knows, it may win a prize at some other art competition… just didn’t suit the juror this time I guess.
How will I feel?
Fine, I have other more important things to focus on.
What does this mean?
Only what I think it means. If I think I’m a failure or a reject, that’s on me. This is an opportunity for me to show myself who I am, by the way I respond. I choose to respond by saying “Well, maybe next time… I got shit to do right now.”
I glanced around one more time, held my breath, and made a run for it. I verbally counted every step as I ascended the stairs with the agility of sloth in running shoes.
Out of breath and elated that I made it to the top, I stood there gleaming in victory. I then proceeded to scrape and bang my way awkwardly through the front door, hitting my head one more time for good measure. I placed the sculpture safely in the gallery lobby, signed it in, and breathed a sigh of relief.
By the way, it was number 13 in the roster… talk about dumb luck.
I had done it. I achieved something I thought was impossible to do on my own, willing to face humiliation and rejection for something I love and believe in… my art, my sense of fun, my freedom to be me.
Had I given up, after that first rejection it would have controlled me. I would have spent the rest of my life being afraid to face rejection, and I would have been filled with “what ifs”.
I don’t believe you actually fail, even if your art doesn’t get in. Even if you get rejected, or lose… I think you only fail if you give up… because that’s the one thing you have control over.
It’s sometimes easy to give up because things might seem hopeless or hard. I didn’t think I could possibly get the sculpture to the gallery on my own, but my belief in dumb luck took over, and I decided to try.
Yesterday morning, as I walked into the kitchen bleary eyed and searching frantically for my coffee cup, it dawned on me that someone would be pointing a camera at my face that day.
Klee was already up and getting ready, she kissed me good morning as she hurried by holding her hair up in a bun.
I pathetically waved back… yeah, I needed coffee.
It’s in those moments, before you are about to embark on something that you’ve never done before, that the little voice of doubt sets in.
We have been interviewed before, but never something like this. A mini documentary? About us?!
As I sat there drinking my coffee I wondered if I would be interesting enough, funny enough, photogenic enough, or even have the ability to string together a coherent sentence.
Klee on the other hand is brilliant at stringing together sentences and getting to the point, and let’s be honest, she is also much more photogenic.
My biggest fear is rambling on and forgetting what I was talking about in the first place. I tend to talk about a subject and go off on tangents, eventually circling around to what we were originally talking about… but sometimes, it’s like I’m standing in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open, wondering why I’m there.
As it turns out the experience was quite amazing, and all my fears melted away once we got started.
Jon Deckert from Vivid Bridge Studios came in with what seemed like an arsenal of compact, high tech, noninvasive equipment that fit our small space in the art studio quite well.
We had met with Jon Deckert and Doug Stanford a few weeks earlier for coffee and to discuss their idea of doing a mini-doc on us. So I had met him before, but only briefly.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Jon was awesome. Not only did he know how to wield his equipment with artistic accuracy, but he was amiable and genuine. He made the experience fun and interactive. I mean, it felt like the camera evaporated and I was just sitting there having a pleasant conversation with someone who was interested in what I had to say.
I could clearly see that he had a creative vision of what he wanted to capture, but was also flexible and adaptable to the space and our ideas. His main goal seemed to be to capture the best possible moments he could without interrupting our flow.
I am really excited to see what they come up with at Vivid Bridge Studios, in my opinion their work is creative, beautiful, artistic, and some of the best I’ve seen.
That being said, I did go off on tangents a lot while being interviewed… So they have a lot of video to edit. Luckily, I did manage to string together coherent sentences, kinda.
The mini doc is currently in post production and I’ll let you guys know as soon as that is made available.
By the way, in the old days, I think I would’ve passed up this opportunity simply because once self doubt sets in, it’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something you think is scary. I can honestly say that more often than not the voices of self doubt are wrong, and even when they might be right, it is never as scary as you imagine. So nowadays, I just go for it… and it is ALWAYS worth it.
If you are interested in finding out more about Vivid Bridge Studios, they are Pensacola’s video production & photography studio. They empower businesses, organizations or brands to promote and market their stories through video and photography. Just a really fun and super creative bunch of folks.
I talk a lot about ways to empower yourself and investigate some of the patterns we play out in our minds that may cause us to feel like victims. To determine whether or not I am feeling powerful, I ask myself whether a situation, circumstance, or person makes me feel like a victim, or do I feel empowered.
Anything that causes you to feel like you don’t have control over your emotions is a sense of victimhood. I don’t mean expressing those emotions, you can sit down to have a good cry because you know it will make you feel better, that’s empowered crying.
A good way to feel empowered and happy is to spread it like a contagion into the world. I do it through art, but I also have a few weapons in my arsenal against feeling like a victim.
1. Smile at people.
It’s amazing to me how powerful a smile can be.
2. Be positive.
Be conscious about your words and actions so that you can be a positive force, rather than, you know, a drag.
3. Give genuine compliments.
I’m a firm believer in saying what you mean, when you want to say it. That means being genuine. What is interesting is that a lot of people assume that being genuine means being mean, but I find that when you are truly genuine with yourself and others, everything is infused with love.
4. Encourage creation.
Themed movie nights, to adventure walks, to art parties. Encourage yourself and others to have creative fun.
5. Live outside your comfort zone.
6. LOVE real big. QUESTION everything.
In every given moment there is an opportunity to fear, judge, or love. We sometimes have to seriously question our own beliefs and where they came from in order to get to love. The thing is, the more you love yourself, the more you can love the world… So start by questioning beliefs about yourself.
Being an agent of positive change in this world is a label that I’ve proudly given myself. I ask that you also wear it wisely and wear it well. It takes real determination and commitment, but it brings color and wonder back into the world.
I recently created a piece out of recycled plastic bags and it was giant. Two things that have been on my to do list for quite some time was to create a life size sculpture, and create something awesome using garbage.
Crossing both of those off my list with this awesome Nature Of Being Sculpture that I created for the Artel Gallery show called “RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE… REPEAT.”
And guess what??!? I WON BEST IN SHOW!!! How awesome is that?!
Opening reception will be Thursday May 3rd, 6pm-8pm at Artel Gallery in Downtown Pensacola.
This sculpture is modeled after a series of mine called the nature of being. This series combines human beings with trees to create a beautiful symbol of being rooted yet consistently expanding towards the heavens. Connected, growing, evolving, expanding, and beautiful is the message that I want to convey.
In this piece I wanted to expand on that message, by using old plastic bags to create the form and pose. I wanted the piece to be dynamic, to show some distress, yet be fluid and organic in its movement.
The message is open for interpretation, but in my mind, it is nature reclaiming the world, and bouncing back from the brink.
What: Art Exhibition – RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE… REPEAT.
Where: Artel Gallery – 223 Palafox Place, Old Escambia County Courthouse, Pensacola, FL 32502
When: April 24-June 1st, Opening Reception May 3rd, 6pm-8pm
Why: Because it’s awesome! Come hang out with me during the opening reception!
I wanted to let you guys in on a process that I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed or dark. I write a letter to myself and then respond from a different point of view. This isn’t something that someone typically shares with folks, but I know I’m not typical, so here it is.
Warning, you may read things that concern you, don’t worry, I’m fine, this is just a way to get the feelings out in their rawest form.
This week has been a tough week for me. I’ve been wading through an emotional cesspool of insecurities and old painful memories. As a result my environment has lost some of it’s vibrant color. I am walking around in a world that I recognize, yet haven’t visited in a long time. It is a dark grey world in which the sunlight is nonexistent. For a person such as myself, an artist who thrives on vibrant colors and light, this is what I imagine hell would feel like.
It’s interesting to me that when your mind takes you to a dark place, it seems like the entire world has conspired against you. It’s like you’re in a movie and the set design is based on the overall feeling of the main character. You watch yourself on the silver screen of life following an old dramatic script that you have rehearsed so many times that it seems like it all comes so naturally. You are the main character, yet no one else is experiencing what you are experiencing, feeling isolated and alone, surrounded by smiling faces, yet totally by yourself.
So, my question is this, what do I do now?”
After a short pause… I read the letter, take a deep breath and respond as best I can.
“Dear Dramatic Self,
Good question! Well, you get off your ass and out of your head. Listen, I understand that sometimes shit happens. You are going through a point in your life that might be transitional. Maybe you feel like you lost a sense of direction, maybe you are going through something emotionally taxing, maybe some button got pushed that hasn’t been pushed for a long time, maybe things just suck right now. No matter what it is, you have every excuse to feel the way you do, but that’s the thing, they’re just excuses.
In my opinion, things that people call emotionally chronic are simply practiced. You’ve spent years practicing how to be dramatic and respond to certain thoughts or situations in a certain way. That dramatic script you mentioned is a real thing, people can follow the same script over and over in their lives without even wondering if they can change it. They can feel like their thoughts are thinking them, instead of them thinking their thoughts.
You find yourself in a rut and what do you do? You sit, slump, cry, withdraw, and replay events over and over in your mind, and repeat. You find something or someone to blame for what you are feeling. Maybe you even pull yourself momentarily out of your funk by putting all your energy into being angry at this person or situation. Yet, nothing changes, this just keeps replaying over and over in your life. So much so, that you think this is just the way it is, “this is my life”.
You believe your story, you shape the world after your story, and discount anything that challenges that story. The story has to be true, if it wasn’t true, then it means you are torturing yourself for nothing.
Well, guess what? It is true. It’s true because you think it’s true, and your brilliant mind is going to do everything in it’s power to make it the truest thing you have ever experienced. Your doubt is going to punch you in the face, your insecurities about yourself are going to knock you down, your judgments and fear about people will come true, and everything you surround yourself with will be a constant reminder of your misery and fear.
Do you know what else is true? That your courage will destroy anything doubt can throw at you. Your determination will pick you up when you fall, stronger and better equipped than ever before. Your hope and unconditional love will present itself to you in overwhelming love and kindness, and everything around you will glow with vibrancy and light, this being a constant reminder of your sense of optimism and hope.
It’s ALL true… Every last bit. The question isn’t who is right or wrong, or what is true or untrue, or what you should or should not do… but simply, what would you rather do? How would you rather feel? What would you rather think? What do you want to focus on? Who do you want to be? And what do you want to believe, right now… in this moment?
We don’t carry feelings in our pocket, or find them in a box buried somewhere. We produce those feelings based on our perspectives and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. You can believe what ever it is you want to believe about yourself and what is possible for you, and you can do that right now.
Honestly, this moment is all we really ever have, this moment, right now. So make a choice, despite the script you have been rehearsing all your life. Just make a choice.
Now quit whining and pick yourself up like the awesome person I know you to be.
So every year we try to do this little art hunt thing where we give away a lot of art with the intent to bring a smile to someone’s face. That someone is a beautiful little town named Pensacola. This year I created a bunch of art, about 80 pieces, and I created small inspirational hand painted magnets, about 100 of those… Phew.
As some of you know we had a YouTube contest to find the perfect name for this art giveaway thing we’ve been doing for several years, with awesome results.
Hashtag Inspire A Smile (#INSPIREASMILE) is what it’s called now, and that my friends is awesome!
So the date was set (March 12th, 2018) and the weather was like “hey wait a minute… I think you’ll enjoy doing this a lot more if it was dreary, cold, and windy, because that’s what all the cool kids want.”
And I was like “shit.”
But Klee and I bundled up and like the old explorers of Antarctica we braved the elements to spread our message of cheer.
(Listen, I know it wasn’t that cold, but I live in Florida the sunshine state, anything other than sunshine and warmth is unbearable.)
I put an entertaining video of our adventure together that morning for your amusement Below. Enjoy!
Within minutes of being done with the art hunt, inspiring happy messages started flooding in which makes freezing our buts off so worth it.
I think it is so important to smile. Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. So smile you beautiful human you!
The date has been announced, we will be releasing 80 small art trees and 100 empowering happy magnets around downtown Pensacola on March 12th, 2018. Klee and I will go out in the cover of darkness and #INSPIREASMILE with art.
There is something special about the mystery and the covert nature of bringing joy to people that totally gets me pumped. It’s a very rogue and unexpected way to bring happiness and I hope people will be inspired to smile by the gesture.
In the past, I have left small art trees around town, this year in addition to the art I’ll also have small sketches that say empowering things, meant to brighten someones day.
After doing this art hunt for about four years, we realized it needed a name. We asked our awesome fans on YouTube for help and they did not disappoint.
#inspireasmile captures the essence of why we do these art hunts. Also, it helps us try and collaborate with artists who are interested in doing something similar in their town.
The idea is to spread around some happy, positive, empowering messages, and try to inspire a smile from the world. It seems sometimes, that the world could use it… I know I could use it sometimes.
If you are an artist, or just a person who wants to #INSPIREASMILE feel free to join the movement, use the hashtag, and send us pictures of your art hunt along with information on who you are, where you are, and why you did.
If you are in Pensacola, mark your calendars. Pieces will be hidden in plain sight and some will be a little harder to find, but all will be just for you! I’ll be making some more announcements and releasing clues leading up to and the day of.