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Resist

I was thinking back to the last supreme court nomination and all that’s happened since then. Good lord, what a shit show. Then I remembered that I made a postcard design for Design Crush back when we were all hellbent on the resistance.

Sometimes it feels like resistance isn’t working, but I know in my heart that it is. Keep fighting the good fight, even when it feels like you’ll never win.

Sonntag, Montag, Freitag

It’s etymology time! I love a good explainer on how things got their names and this sweet little video on how the names of the days of the week came to be is awesome. (via)

Gonzo

That’s a wrap! Sweet little Gonzo is finally done. He took a lot longer than the others, mostly because I kept stepping away. My head wasn’t entirely with me while I was working on this piece, so I tried to only work on it when I was able to get into flow.

I’m struggling with the curves on plastics. The highlights and shadows morph in ways that they didn’t do on the tin toys. The subtle imprints on the toy for his hair were hard but came together a bit easier than they did on Fozzie. My favorite on this one is the two small bubbles in his shoe. I love the imperfections in the items I draw, and this was one of those subtle spots that made the piece feel real to me.

My Animal toy just arrived from Canada and I still have Miss Piggy too. I’ll likely take a little breather before starting the next one. These feel super advanced for my novice experience and wear my brain out in a big way. Still happy to see them come together though. It’s fun to look back on my progress since those sphere studies in February!

On Quitting

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve finally started leaving social media. While I hadn’t used Facebook in years, I still had a lingering account. So last week, I finally deleted it (it will actually take 30 days for Facebook to delete my content).

I’ve also curbed my Instagram usage to no more than 5 minutes per day, skipping it most days now. Why? Because it’s also owned by Facebook and every time I go on the app, they collect more data on me, refine their algorithms based on my usage, and make money off the ads I see. I have been torn on deleting my account as it’s a way to share my art, but when I really think about it, not many people see it on there anyways. There were ways to promote art before Instagram, so time to go back to old methods once I have a body of work I want to share.

The reality is, Facebook as a company is terrible. We all know this, but the convenience of Facebook and Instagram keeps us coming back. It’s cognitive dissonance in it’s purest form.

“How will we keep in touch with friends?” “How will we share what’s happening in our lives?” The bigger question to me is: How often do we just have a window to a relationship that now exists almost solely on our screens?

Facebook claims that its platform allows us to keep in touch with our friends—but in what way, exactly? In the long run, relationships between individuals are often reduced to a superficial form of contact, like seeing public photos or statuses appear in a non-personal way, lacking the intimacy of authentic connections.

These ghostlike relationships could be described as “extimate friendships” (by contrast to “intimate”). Are they really worth it?” – Louis-Olivier Brassard

In a time where we’ve been more isolated than ever, I’ve felt the effects of how vapid these platforms are more than ever. The doom-scrolling. The kvetching about usually mundane things. The lack of creativity among my usually creative friends. So much isn’t working, so why not break the cycle at the one point we know does some of the worst damage to our society?

Some may laugh that this is some sort of “I’m leaving social media” announcement, but it’s bigger than that. It’s about holding companies accountable. The “Stop Hate for Profit” boycott of ads on Facebook was heralded by users as a critical step in defunding the company, completely oblivious to the fact that advertisers spend money with them because of us, the users. If we want to stop companies like Facebook, we have to stop using them. So here’s my one step in stopping the hate.

Creation > Consumption

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I live my life and the volume at which I consume vs create.

Consumption for me typically falls heavily in the realm of ideas, knowledge, and of course, social media. My product consumption is fairly low, a conscious choice I made a few years ago to be more deliberate in my purchases and where items I purchase are produced.

With the pandemic and politics this year I’ve found myself even more cautious about my consumption. I’ve shopped less this year than I ever have in an effort to protect workers (my amazon purchases are down over 50% this year compared to 2019). I’ve narrowed down where I consume news in an effort to avoid biases, whether by the publications themselves or via algorithms.

What I have increased is my consumption of content. I’ve read a lot more, with a heavy focus on deep learning and understanding the world around me. I’ve also leaned heavily on social media to get a grasp of the lives of Black people in America. My consumption rates of novel stimuli skyrocketed.

In the midst of all of this, I found myself yearning to make more. I launched Black Equality Resources, which is valuable, but didn’t quite scratch the itch. While helpful, it’s extraordinarily factual and lacks much creativity. My realism drawings, while seemingly creative, have felt like a study in methodology and technique. Then I stumbled across this quote:

“When a creative artist is fatigued, it is often from too much inflow, not too much outflow.”

Julia Cameron

YES! This. So much of this is exactly what I was dealing with!

I, like many of us in recent months, feel like I’ve been consuming from a fire hose. I became a human xerox machine. Resharing important information and reproducing photos in drawing form. My outflow wasn’t really outflow, it was just recirculation.

So in an effort to be more intentional, I started to make some shifts. I really focused on active vs passive consumption.

My phone has been put away. Unless I need it for something active like research or direct communication with another person, I don’t use it. Adios social media!

If I do research, I take notes so I actually retain the information and I’m trying to push myself to use that information for posts here or on my agency’s insights page.

I’m taking time to “journal” each night. It’s really just a brief recap of my day, but it’s creating. I’ve also started revisiting old things I’ve made, whether its things I’ve written or drawn or crafted at some point in my life. Some of it feels so foreign. Where did it come from? Interestingly, it all came before the days of social media.

It hasn’t been long since I started this new endeavor, but I am already feeling the effects. My mind wanders more frequently now, imagining new things to make, connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated topics. I often just sit, something I did all the time when I was younger. I feel less stressed and generally more motivated.

I don’t know where this will lead to, but now I know to ration what I consume so that I have mental energy left to create.