Make Instagram Work For Your Art (And Not The Other Way Around)

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It’s been almost a month since the opening of “Myriad”, my first solo gallery sold-out show. The response has been nothing short of breathtaking, with paintings moving even weeks before the opening. Even after the last piece was declared sold on opening night, the gallery informed me that inquiries were still pouring in from places as far as Greece.

I am overwhelmed, elated, humbled and anxious all at once.

Overwhelmed by the wonderful response.

Elated that my work is appreciated.

Humbled by others’ faith in what I do.

But anxious as I wonder where I go from here.

My husband just shook his head and reminded me to stop, relax and relish the moment.

It started in 1997.

My story as a professional artist began the moment I left university with a BA in Psychology in 1997, and tried being everything else other than myself. Since then, I made half-hearted efforts to break into the art industry but always with one foot out the door, ready to bolt whenever things didn’t go as planned.

And that’s exactly what happened.

When things hit a slump or did not yield the desired result, I quickly went back to my comfort zone and sprinted right back to Plan B, C and even D.

Although I had an exhibit in a bistro and another one in a fine-dining restaurant in 2003 and 2004 respectively, it wasn’t until last year, 2015, that I sold my first work through an art gallery.  While I juggled 3 to 4 non-creative part-time jobs while trying to do part-time art after 2004, my half-hearted efforts would pretty much produce a half-baked career. This was how it was up until I hit my creative block sometime in 2007 and had my breakthrough in 2012.

Fast forward to April 2017, after a long and excruciatingly slow journey strewn with hits and misses, twists and turns, I found my way back to myself.

A body of new work up in my first solo gallery show has come to fruition.

Climb a wall and commit.

For a brief moment, I got into wall-climbing. At that time, I also had the good fortune of coming to the facility whenever the national team came for training.  On my first evening,  I passed the halfway mark of a 40-foot wall, when I was met with a 1-ft indentation jutting directly over my head at a 90-degree angle. I could’t figure out how I could hoist myself up. While I was trying to find a grip, I yelled down below “I can’t!”. Others who were resting heard me and yelled “Commit! Commit! Just commit!”

This meant that I should release my grip, and without fear, hoist myself up with everything I’ve got and commit to another grip with the free hand. It also meant to let go and have faith in the movement.

When I moved to Singapore in 2010, I eventually saw it as a blank page, a fresh start, and a chance to reinvent myself as an artist. It was this brand of commitment that I took to heart that changed everything. I stopped doing things that were not-related to my art. Then, I closed down my Etsy and Society6 shop because that wasn’t what my work was about anymore. I said ‘no’ to a lot of offers which no longer fit my vision.

I narrowed my focus, buckled down and did nothing but paint, paint and paint.

Social media helped. By a mile.

Let social media work for you and not the other way around.

I joined Instagram in 2014 when I got into calligraphy, a craft with a very strong and supportive community around the world. Unfortunately, this was a short-lived hobby but I learned that being part of a community, even though we’ve never met each other in person, made a world of difference. So I stayed on Instagram.

Being on social media gave me a chance to grow my work in anonymity.  It gave me a different kind of validation knowing that my art is valued simply for what it is, and not something born of friendship, affiliation, or a favor.  In 2015, I joined an Instagram class by Melissa Camillieri. This was a game-changer. It gave social media a purpose, a direction, and showed me how something seemingly fun and mundane can otherwise be a powerful tool to connect with the world and build my work.  If there’s one thing that made IG work for me, it would be the sincerity behind both what I post and the art that I do.

Oh, and hey! A little bird told me that she’s holding her next class in a week or two! To see what this class is all about, click here.

Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of being on Instagram is relying on it solely  to build your business. While this can totally work  it is an unfair expectation to think that Instagram will do the job for you.  Instagram is merely a tool to be heard by the universe around you. Instagram did not create my art. My art existed independently of social media except it’s like I was handed an extraordinary megaphone to tell my story, loud enough to be heard across the planet.

And, gratefully, they did.

When Art Becomes A Little Less Fun (Part 3 of 3)

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In an earlier post, I delved into the changes that happen when art is no longer something you do for fun, when it’s something you have to do because it’s your life, and it’s your job.

Things change when you do art professionally.   When things shift from hobby to industry, we become our own boss. Thus, parameters need to be defined and, like any other 9-to-5, work conduct must be upheld in all our transactions.  The goal of our craft is not simply about getting messy and mixing paints for its own sake.

It becomes about someone adding value in the world.

Art is not free

When I was 14, I hand-painted posters for an event in my local country club. It was something I personally pitched to the manager, and something I wanted to do because I was on summer holiday and I was running out of things to do.  The deal was they provided the materials, and I drew. I honestly think that was the start of my professional career! 🙂

One would think twice about asking a lawyer, a doctor or a carpenter to do work for free.  However, and quite sadly, many people will not hesitate in assuming that artists will be okay to do things pro bono. Up until recently, I still got offered mileage as payment, good golly.  In my opinion, mileage does not pay anymore, not in this era of social media with today’s generation of outspoken artists.  You can read my thoughts on this  here.

I’ll understand if it’s for a charitable cause that is in dire need of support, and it’s also your prerogative if you want to accept work  in exchange for goods and services that will be of use to you.  Be open to negotiations but refrain from doing things for free.  Doing things for a free meal? I say no.

I’ve also read about a lot of people on social media reaching out to designers and artists asking them for free items in exchange for a blog post and an Instagram feature.  It’s easy to get excited at the idea that someone else will talk about your work.

But here are some key questions to ask:  Who are they? What do they promote? How wide is their reach? And most importantly, how robust is their engagement? It’s not always about the number of followers that makes the difference so I’ll talk about this at a later post.  Always be on your guard when offers like these come your way because people who sincerely want to promote you on social media will do so out of their own free will because they truly believe in you.

The practice of doing art for free should be obliterated from our paradigm.

Refrain from apologising

I think a good number of artists have an issue quantifying work. It’s uncomfortable and makes people queasy. But over time, I learned to do this as gracefully as possible, with conviction and dignity. After all, art is work, mine and yours. The best advice I ever came across was in an article on the internet.  I cannot remember whose article it was but she said this: Never apologise for your prices.  

I used to be guilty of this when asked about my rates, ending it with “For the project, it costs $_____.  So sorry!”.   Now that I think about it, I can’t exactly remember why I was being apologetic yet it rolled offf my tongue quite easily.

Like I was apologising that I had to charge for art.

It was only when I accepted and embraced the full scope of my work and that it IS a job,  a profession like everything else and thus requires equal treatment like all other industries. Thus said, setting our professional fees respects global industry standards, ideally. It is rooted on size and materials (if it’s something like a painting), experience,  merit and scope of work. This makes your pricing clear, reliable and fair because it’s objective.  It’s not some numbers you pulled out of a hat or priced based on the level of emotion attached to your work.

The idea of a starving artist must die a swift and instant death right now and never be heard from again.  It is a poorly romanced idea of what makes an artist “real’.  When it comes to being a professional artist, there is much weight on the word “profession” as much as there is on “artist”.

The goal as working artists, aside from making beautiful art, is to make a living by being fair, sincere, trustworthy and credible across varying projects and clients. What our art means to people is just as important as who they’re dealing with, and our sense of commitment and purpose in all our endeavours.

To read Part 1, click here.

To read Part 2, click here.

When Art Becomes A Little Less Fun (Part 2 of 3)

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As artists, why do we have to talk about money? Because we have to and because it’s our job to do so as a working artist.

In my opinion, this is, perhaps, the trickiest part when it comes to art: pricing your work. Money is something many of us enjoy having, but not necessarily something we enjoy talking about. This is the part when art becomes a little less fun.  I remember being taught that it’s something you simply don’t talk about at all, and asking for money is just a big no-no.  This mentality is perhaps what feeds the guilt and the lack of confidence many of us have when it comes to commanding rates and prices because art is not exactly a straightforward product you can reduce to a number, like a bag of flour or a bottle of shampoo that can be easily and objectively quantified.

But really, how do we expect to be paid if we don’t have the initiative to even talk about the value of what we do?

Pricing method

There are some ground rules you can set for your body of work. For painters like myself, one can price art per square inch, per linear inch or by the hour plus costs. Personally, I use the square inch method because it’s what I was taught and  it has worked for me since.   Now knowing the multiplier without overpricing yourself will require a lot of research.  Study the different prices of artworks across varying work experience, exhibits, art background (I have none, don’t worry), size and medium.  The internet makes this part rather easy.

Setting the tone

I think this is where having a non-art background helps.  In an earlier blog post, I talked about my years of experience wearing many non-creative hats and how this provided a solid backbone from which  business ethics and protocols were born. These non-artsy elements are key in being a reliable artist.  Our decorum affects people’s perception of our  transactions, whether on paper or in person.  Do you hesitate when asked for pricing? Do you exude conviction?  Ditch the emojis, the smiley faces and the multiple exclamation points.  Refrain from making jokes or giggling nervously, and try not to get flustered in the client’s presence when money is now the focus of the discussion.

If, however,  you feel you can’t blurt out a price at the drop of a hat, be honest and say “Could you give me time to review your requirements?  I’ll get back to you within the day”.   This will buy you time but do not delay. Keep the turnaround time very swift and be ready to draft your own contract if the client won’t provide any.

Oh, and when dealing with clients face to face, remember to dress smart and neat.  There is immense power in it.

Dealing with low-ballers

Up until recently, I still got offered “mileage” as compensation.  Seriously. It’s 2017 in the age of social media where artists have direct reach with their audience.  Unless it’s a major publication, a relevant TV feature, a globally recognised blogger  or Oprah, the offer of mileage does not always compute.

I also noticed the term “collaboration” being  distorted to serve other people’s own purpose. If you are asked to shell out your time and give your products for free in exchange for foot traffic and exposure yet the establishment you are “collaborating” with benefits financially and directly from the project, I wouldn’t call it a “collaboration” anymore.

I would simply call this unjust.

In the second part of the blog post, let’s talk about doing art (and other creative things) for free and why this practice should be obliterated from today’s world. It’s about time, don’t you think?

Click here to read Part 1.

Click here to continue reading Part 3.

When Art Becomes A Little Less Fun (Part 1 of 3)

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When my husband came home one night, he asked me how my day went and I responded distractedly with “Oh, the usual. Just work.”   To which he replied “Sounds like a day at the office.”

Don’t get me wrong   I jump out of bed each day eager to start working so I count myself very, very, very lucky.   However, there are some days when it’s just a little less fun than it used to be. Here’s why:

1. It’s a job.

And just like any line of work, you now have real and defined responsibilities and deadlines.  Now that it’s not something I do leisurely, it’s a true discipline. There’s also a huge difference between painting versus doing design work for clients.  When we do the latter, get ready for multiple revisions. In both cases, it’s best to clarify limits and conditions in writing and stipulated in a contract.  As mentioned earlier, it’s a job.

2. We’re not always inspired.

Unlike doing art as a pure hobby when I would pick up the brush when a wave of inspiration washes over me,  I now make art not because I want to  but because I really have to.  In the real world, I don’t always feel inspired day in, day out all times of the day. That’s the truth.

The challenge of being a professional in the creative field, I realise, is finding ways to inch forward and make art even when I don’t feel like it.

3. It’s not always 100% spontaneous.

Yes, there is still a lot of liberty and expression in my work, but creativity has now become slightly calculated.  Now that I’ve agreed to a theme or to a concept, I must deliver accordingly.

4. It’s a commitment.

I owe it to myself and my clients to continuously hone my craft.  This means I must continue to try, to experiment, to be better, to practice and ultimately deliver. Being a professional  demands discipline and accountability. This is also why, in an earlier blog post,  I talked about why it’s also good to not become an artist from the very start.  There are many things one can learn first from a not so artsy background.

5. We need to talk about money.

Money. It’s something I need to gracefully talk about with every transaction — with dignity and conviction. Whatever price I assign for services and/or paintings must be consistent so that remunerations are fair and reliable across all clients. One can’t exactly keep changing fees depending on how one feels about a body of work.   This is the part that makes my stomach queasy and something I wish to ponder on further in another post.  Artists, we’re gonna talk about this more!

To continue reading Part 2, click here

A List Of Sketchbooks

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For the longest time, people have been asking me about sketchbook recommendations and what brands I use.

Finally, two new things today:

  1. a video, and
  2. all the sketchbooks and journals I use.

I hope this helps! Sorry it took so long but I’m glad I soldiered on and put this together 🙂

Next video coming up answers the question: “What pens do you use?”

 

Make Room For Your Life

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Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Whenever I have loads to think about, the first thing I do is clean up. And when I say “clean up”, I mean I use it as a time to de-clog and de-clutter my energy by sorting, throwing and donating stuff.

This is a habit that I built for myself since I was in high school (that’s an almost 30 year-old habit to date!), long before Konmari Method became a thing. I have a mental quarterly purging system, one that started when I used to throw no-longer-needed quiz sheets, activity papers, circulars and scratch paper. The ability to purge has become automatic that I don’t notice that I do it quite regularly.

For those who find this to be a gargantuan task (it’s only massive if you allow lots of stuff to pile up), here are some ideas how to go about it without freaking out:

  • Always start within, and start in the farthest corners of our closet by evaluating clothes I have not worn in a year or two. This does not include seasonal travel clothes, however. I’m talking about clothes I say I’ll fit into one day but I know I just won’t, clothes that have seen better days, or idle clothes I’ve been holding on to for no reason at all.
  • I donate to the Salvation Army or to communities who accept second-hand clothes. Anything that’s torn, ripped, stained, snagged or hole-y gets turned into rags. I never give away clothing I myself will not wear.
  • Another space you can go to would be drawers where you stuff bills and receipts. I’m pretty sure many of us have that drawer. Yes, that one. I typically keep monthly bills good for a year for whatever reason. After a year, they all have to go. Receipts from restaurants, take-away, taxi cabs or whatever — if you still have them in your pockets or the inner sleeves of your wallet, ask yourself ‘Why am I still holding on to these?’ 🙂
  • I only buy what is needed, what is necessary, and never in excess. Cabinets are not bursting at the edges. How many pans do I really need? Check the pantry. I’m pretty sure some bottled dried herbs are 6 months to a year past its shelf life.  I just spotted two and disposed of them over the weekend.
  • The only stuff I have a lot of are my paints and sketchbooks, but that’s because they’re consumable and used for work. I also don’t buy more paint as necessary as they will dry up if stored too long.  When people look inside my closet, they’re shocked. Why? Because there’s so much space, and to think it’s a shared closet I have with my husband.
  • I donate and give things away while it is still in working, usable or presentable condition. If you have gadgets, appliances and other household stuff you no longer need, give it to someone who can make the best of it while in good order.
  • Finally, I only buy what fits in the house and things that have a direct purpose or function. If there is no room for it at home, I won’t make room for it if it’s not a necessity.  I simply won’t buy it. When you live in a building apartment where you have a booth for a kitchen, then there simply is no room for that air-fryer  or that dehydrator I’ve been eyeing for quite some time now.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Out with the old.

In with the new.

 

Empowering The Professional Artist

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What do professional artists have today that we didn’t, say, 12 years ago?

Answer: Power.

Today’s artist is a lot more empowered than he or she was in 2005.

The artist of 2017  has the strength to reach his or her client directly easily and effortlessly.  

Back in the day, we were at the mercy of mainstream media editors and TV producers.  Most, if not many, were supportive of fledgeling artists and I found myself fortunate.  Cold calls led to a big break in a major broadsheet, and being spotted in an art fair led to TV features.  For the most part, it was a struggle to be seen and heard as an artist during those times.

What gift do we have at this very moment  that we didn’t over a decade ago? Social media.

2004 saw the birth of Facebook, followed by the inception of sites like Etsy in 2005. These two factors were enough to break some of the barriers that prevented artists from reaching their clients directly.  The biggest game changer was born in 2010. It’s called Instagram.

I regret not joining sooner but luckily I had the chance to catch up.  This, perhaps, is the biggest factor that helped me get back on my feet after a 5-year dry spell of  creative block and absolutely no art.  I became active on Instagram in 2015 and by December of 2016 I have grown to a community of 28k on @thejarofsalt. The numbers definitely mean something because it opens a number of doors and builds highways to clients near and far across the planet at all times of the day. It was when I met Melissa Camillieri that I was able to make heads or tails of Instagram. It was midway through her class when a lightbulb went on in my head that I fully realised my direction and completely re-branded myself as an artist.  I know she has an online class on January 16 and I promise you it will be one of the best things you can do for yourself if you want to be more present online.

The artist of 2017 has more resources today than any time in history.

There are no excuses anymore at this day and age. When we needed to do research before, we needed access to an actual library that holds all these heavy but fantastic art encyclopaedias.  Today, anyone with access to the Internet on their phones or laptop can easily peep into museums through their websites or artist’s personal sites from wherever they art. There are also lots of mainstream articles and blogs dedicated to art and artists (such as this very post you’re reading), offering varying and mostly candid opinions about  topics you might be looking for. Blogs offer a more honest (but not always necessarily accurate) source of information.  It was through a blog that I learned the perils of re-posting photos (even with credits) and how she was sued for it. Now this leads me to my third and last point.

The artist of 2017 is informed.

12 years ago, I didn’t have the luxury of all the information swimming in the worldwide web today. Now, even art lawyers, editors and artists have blogs where I have learned a lot from. If you’re doing research about galleries (I’ve discovered that one that reached out to me was a vanity gallery) or online classes you are keen on, there are so many personal reviews available to take into consideration. Lots of things are listed online today, including material that is in the public domain versus those protected by copyrights, sample contracts, etc. I personally do not undertake a project without a written and signed contract that stipulates all the terms and agreement.  I suggest that all artists and creatives equip themselves with written documentation because it goes a long way and this is what professionals do. Full stop. 

Today is as good a time as any to uphold our rights and value as a working, professional artist and be accountable for making things happen for ourselves in this succulent new year.  Stay equipped and enjoy the creative journey up ahead!

Going Online And Onto The Real World

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2016 was a turning point in my career as things revved up and switched gears.  It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely onward and upward ever so steadily, excruciatingly slow but ever so surely. Putting my work online was, perhaps, one of the best things I’ve done for myself because of the personal and professional ties I’ve built over time.

With gratitude, here are some of the best people I’ve worked with, thanks to the magic of Instagram:

Working with Stabilo has been very inspiring. To have my work acknowledged by a brand I’ve been using since 4th grade (and that’s a loooong time!) has been very humbling and empowering at the same time.  My new sketchbook classes use Stabilo products in our Singapore classes and the results are simply fantastic! One of the “highlights” of working with them is being one of the first to try their soon-to-be-released color palette in 2017!

I’m not exactly someone who shops a lot and I keep a very lean wardrobe but my jaw dropped,when I saw this steampunk ring on my feed one day. Created by Inspired By Elizabeth, these rings are crafted from watch parts (the grooves move!) and Swarovski crystals. I don’t have an SLR so it’s difficult to see the intricate details. Her site, however, has all these inspiring photos of her works of art so pop in if you want to see details up close!

I conducted several sketchbook classes called “The Big Blank Page” in the latter part of the year and can I just say I am absolutely blown away by the support here in Singapore, and more so for people who made an effort to meet me here during their travels!

Will I have online sketchbook classes for The Big Blank Page? The answer is one resounding YES. See you online in 2017!

 

I have an affinity for vintage, retro jewelry and fashion. For those who follow me on Instagram, my rings have become synonymous with my creative process and regular sketchbook entries. Sometimes I really wonder if people follow me on Instagram for my art, or my rings! -_-  You can only imagine my surprise when Daniel Wellington sent me this old-fashioned leather watch.  Their simple, clean and classy large-face watch speaks volumes.

I love trees but I also love paper. It’s a bit of a personal conundrum but I make sure that I justify my paper usage as best as I can. Thus said, it was an honor seeing my work on Bookblock‘s journal. Stitched with ivory pages and rounded corners hardbound with a matte-laminated cover, Bookblock created my very own personal journal with a fire-engine red satin bookmark and elastic band. You have to feel the notebook in your hands to appreciate quality paper and fine craftsmanship.

The idea of working as a surface and textile designer never occurred to me until two years ago. For almost all my life, I always thought illustrators were limited to graphic design and/or children’t book’s illustration.  Having my work shown in New York in Printsource’s  surface and textile design show is, indeed, a dream come true. And it’s thanks to Jen of  Zoejo Design, who came across my work on Instagram and saw value in the imperfections of my work.  Thank you, Jen!

One of the keys to working effectively, in my opinion, is based on sincerity — both online AND offline. This is perhaps the most important lesson I can impart with anyone who’s keen on getting their work online and into the real world.   I’ve written about the importance of staying real on social media  and being a true professional as a working artist.  It makes life and work easy for you because posting on Instagram, or whatever platform you choose, is merely an echo of your daily life.

Although I was already online two years ago posting random kitchen escapades and late posts from travels, it wasn’t until I took a closer look at social media that I found some direction in my online existence. Melissa Camillieri did an incredibly fantastic job in helping me with the ins-and-outs of Instagram, teaching concrete steps how to make Instagram work for me.  A little bird told me she’s holding another class on January 16 so click this link to sign up!  I entered her class with 700 people in my IG and today I woke up to a 27k-strong community on Instagram.  Do know that these are not “just numbers” to me.  27k means all the breathing, thinking souls living daily lives who share their thoughts and with whom I have significant dialogue with.  This, for me, is what Instagram is all about.

Me, Work And Instagram

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I only wanted to post a lot of whatevers when I initially joined IG,  kept on private mode with no friends because I simply wanted to see my photos with all the filters.  It was all about the things happening in the kitchen and my travel pics. Then I got on the calligraphy bandwagon and started posting everything about that and switched my account to “public”.  I lost steam quickly and realised the discipline was not for me and faltered away.  Though I abandoned the handwriting craft, it left me with around 700 followers and I was absolutely elated.

Soon after, the tides changed and I was off to a new direction as I rebranded myself. Not so much that I decided to do a drastic thing but I decided to return once again to my own art: painting and illustrating — a career I stored away in my heart and remained hidden for 5 years during a long spell of creative block.  Within a year, I started developing my work from a clean slate. 5 years of creative block meant 5 years of empty sketchbooks and blank canvasses.  It was a struggle just to get my imagination course through my veins down to my hands.

As of this writing, my own community on Instagram has grown to 26k. It’s something that takes me by surprise every single day.

It’s nice to know there are people out there listening everyday to whatever I have to say, and for that I am very, VERY grateful.

So today, I look back at 2016 and try to peel back the layers and review the core of what I do as a working artist, how this helped build my work and relationships on social media and beyond.

Don’t play the numbers game.  

Your are not made of digits so this should not be the end-all and be-all.  Expecting people to “like” you back because you “liked” them is kinda like thinking everyone you meet will instantly be your friend, in my opinion. It’s just not realistic.

Please DON’T buy likes and followers! Such a travesty to build a name on a blatant lie.

Social media still boils down to genuine relationships. While the bulk of people who follow you might be people you probably won’t have the chance of meeting in the flesh, treat every single one of them with the same level of respect you would accord people you meet in person.  

Good manners say a lot. 

I’ve come across a great deal of people on IG who will follow you, like a gazillion posts in one day, then immediately unfollow you as soon as you follow back.  I feel people are brave enough to do so because there is no in-person transaction, so there’s no tangible accountability or “face” to lose doing something so immature and rude.  Then again, to many, it’s still about what was said in #1, at all costs.  

Work on your work before working on your post.  

What are your reasons for being on IG in the first place?

If you’re staging photos only for the sake of Instagram fame and crafting an image with too much effort for the sake of the number of “likes” and “follows”, then you are paving a very wide road for frustration filled with nothing but smoke and mirrors.   It’s difficult to share something relevant if there really is no work going on.

Focusing on our craft brings so much more real value that sharing stuff on social media is but an echo of our real life.

 On the flip side,  many highly successful establishments and people with inspiring and lucrative careers have relatively small social media followings because, really, they’re too busy taking the entire world by storm in real life 🙂

Be sincere.  

I am not going to wax poetic and attach profound quotes on a photo that has nothing to do with the text. Neither will I post a heavily edited beach shot I’ve never been to (or a photo that I didn’t take in the first place) and say that I’m dreaming about being there.

I think it’s just awkward.  What you see on my IG account, is pretty much what you will get from me in real life: my splattered workspace, the cluttered desk, my dog Jones, my sparse home, my candid comments.

My days are far from perfect so you can expect my posts to be just all about that.

Share as needed. 

My IG account is primarily all about art.  And yes, of course it’s self-promotion! 🙂

Okay, okay. So sometimes I post what’s happening in the kitchen.

But really, I’ve gone on silent/lurker mode on Facebook since the beginning of the year, for the most part.   If I have something to say, I just bug someone on chat and have a real conversation.  

Besides, there was a time when people didn’t share inane stuff ever so publicly at such lightning speeds.

I kind of want to go back to a more analogue life, if I could. 

 

Thrive Amidst Your Chaos

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Letting go of the need for perfection takes a lot of practice. All the what-should-be’s, ought-to-be’s and all about the self not being enough.  It’s a habit learning to thrive in your own chaos.

It’s this gnawing dissatisfaction, nagging sense of not being able to tick of everything in my to-do and to-be list. But the year that was is coming to an end in less than two weeks, and I feel like I’m still running a race against myself.  Did I mention that I am my own worst opponent? A competitive heckler with a loud, loud voice.

Sometimes, in my obsession of chasing after a never-ending list of goals, I forget and overlook everything that I have achieved. It’s so easy to be ungrateful in the constant need of wanting more.  It was my husband who stopped me one day, and exclaimed “What the hell are you talking about?? Don’t you see how much you’ve accomplished in just one year?”.

And then it hit me.

In my constant need of wanting more for myself,  I realised I have been bestowed so many opportunities that allowed me to grow and flourish — as a working artist and most especially as a human being.

I’ve always thought I had none of that artist’s angst they speak of. But perhaps the creative process has led me to face my thoughts and emotions a bit more sincerely.

The discomfort.

The little aches.

The uncertainties.

The ability to forgive faults, mine and the rest of the world.

In all the mess of my daily endeavours and the awkwardness that comes with growing pains, I found my self.  Slightly rough around the edges but fully functional and equipped to make something of myself one day at a time.