Sunday, September 15, 2013

What do you love?

(I propose a game. Actually, like a trivia contest. Read this blog post and think about it, cuz that's what I wrote it for. But after that, play this game with me. I have included five photos in this post of specific things that have had a profound effect on me. If you can be the first to identify the applicable information for each photo, you will win two signed 11x14 inch prints of artwork by me. Read the rules at the end of this post.*)

I've read three books this month that inspire me. I won't say why, because then I won't have anything to write for book reviews next month. But I will talk about how I am inspired. Or something to that effect. How many of you read (or if you're artists like me SEE) something that is so amazing that you just want to quit. I can't tell you how many times I've heard my peers in the art department at UVU say, "Oh, well I might as well just quit now, I'll never be that good." "You're so good; I'm so jealous!" My friend Kenna and I used to joke about becoming accountants, because the process of creating good art was so difficult sometimes. But it's been a long time, for me, since I've felt jealous of someone for their ability, or felt like something was so good, and since I would NEVER be able to get there, I might as well quit. It's been at least . . . ten years. Here's the deal:

I think it's ridiculous to be jealous of someone for being good at something. If you spent the amount of time that this person has spent developing their craft and then you weren't as good at it, I would concede that your feelings of jealousy aren't ridiculous. But I have never met someone who has spent as much time, effort, sweat, blood, and tears as the object of their jealousy in perfecting their craft. I have several friends, Ginny, Adam, Nate, Stewart, who are very, very skilled in their craft. They do things that I can't do. But how can I be jealous of someone's time spent working? Ginny has wept, slaved, painted, and prayed her book into existence. She spent countless hours working on it. I know, because a lot of those hours were spent at my house. Her book will be released next month. I can't be jealous, because this book wasn't just handed to her. She WORKED for it. And every ounce of love and dedication to her craft is evident in the gorgeous and darling illustrations on every single page. Adam recently sold his work at ComicCon in SLC, meeting hundreds of people, creating original sketches, getting his photo taken and signing autographs. Because he's awesome. Because he worked for it. Really, really hard. Adam is always painting. Always. The only time I remember seeing him without a stylus in his hand was because he had a sandwich in his hand. Or he was walking down the hall. Seriously. Stewart not only did ComicCon as well, but recently received a full scholarship to attend IlluxCon. He's gotten to rub shoulders with some very prestigious artists. Because he has put in the hours to be just. That. Good. And Nate's app has had thousands of downloads from the iTunes store. And this other app he made: SO GREAT. I can't be jealous of the success his apps have enjoyed, because he worked his fingers to the bone illustrating it. Are bones sticking out the ends of my fingers? No.

So instead of getting jealous, I get inspired. I get excited. I think, "Look at all these things my friends are doing! I KNOW these people!" and I think, "I can be this awesome. I can." I look at the possibilities (which are endless) and I look at my potential (equally infinite) and I know the only thing holding me back is me.

So I read three books this week that inspired me in different ways. One was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Good gravy, this book blew my mind. (In honor of Cline's creation, I had the idea to hold my one Halliday geek contest, hence the game in this blog post.) The second is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I want to punch David Mitchell in the face, he's so amazing. Not because of jealousy mind you. Those of you who know me know that sometimes I feel so strongly about something, I just want to punch it in the face. My nine year-old has finally realized that this doesn't mean that I will ACTUALLY punch him in the face, just that I love him sooooo much. And the third book was The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr. This book reminded me to focus on what I love. The things I love will guide me to joy, to completion, to success.

And guess what? I get to decide what success means to me. That's so cool.

So here's what I love, besides family, obviously:

Novels and Stories - I seriously love books. A lot. I'm in a serious romance with literature. (Make sure you don't read that as "romance literature.") And the kinds of books I love: well-written, with compelling characters, and truth. Real cosmic truth.

Music - I seriously love music. I am listening to Let Go by Frou Frou at the moment. And I love this song. It makes me feel something profound, like a lot of the songs I love. Music speaks to my soul.

Movies - I seriously love this art form. Those of you who know me know the tirades I'll go off on talking about movies. Some movies have changed my life.

Dance - I love dance. The art of dance. The beauty. My favorite show: So You Think You Can Dance. Here's why: every week, you get to see totally original pieces of performance art by masters of dance and choreography. And the good ones go straight to my heart.

Art - Art in all its forms. 2D art is especially wonderful, because of the convenience in communication, via the Internet, etc. I have lists and lists of my favorite artists, my favorite pieces.

Writing - I love writing. I love writing more than I love making art. Which is funny, considering art is my paid profession.

I will embrace these things I love, find a way to communicate my creative vision to the world, and feel fulfilled in doing so. And to those who draw better, write better, sing better, dance better than me: Cheers, you have worked hard for your success, and your accomplishments inspire me to work even harder to be as awesome as you. But even more than that, to be the most awesome version of me. Thank you.

What do you love?

(*Rules for the game:

In the comments section for this post, be the first to post the following information in a comment and you will win two free prints:

Photo 1: Name of person pictured

Photo 2: Name of band pictured
Photo 3: Title of movie pictured, name of author who wrote the book, name of actor pictured
Photo 4: Nickname title of dance, names of dancers, name of choreographer
Photo 5: Title of painting, name of artist

Be sure to follow replies to your comment. Browse my Etsy shops Tangerine Octopus Illustration and DawgArt to select your artwork. Good luck!)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Geary. Thanks for playing! You have one wrong. Try again.

    2. And you're right, it's not fair. But how fair would it have been for me to say, "Except for Geary. She's not allowed to play."

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Kole and Lindsey. Gravity/Addiction

  4. I deleted my comments so others can play.

    1. Geary, email me with your print choices. Just because you're an aberration doesn't mean you shouldn't win things because of it! ;) <3

      Good job.

  5. Awwwwww. :) Thanks! Ya know what, I DID work hard. My bones are still showing, in fact, I haven't quite fully recovered. I did work reeally really hard. I'm honored to be mentioned in your post here in such a way :). Guess what? I have your copy at my apartment now.

    And hellooo, look at the success you're having with your dawgart. You're right up there with the best, hardest workers out there Lee. I'm not just saying that. You inspire me and I don't know if my book would be what it is without you. In fact... I know it wouldn't. By far.

    Don't forget who's kind of a big deal. ;) Love you


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