My friend Jordan Kirian, a wonderful and talented writer and comedian, nominated me for the Liebster Award. The award was created to give recognition to bloggers who have less than 200 followers but shows potential for growth. I am deeply touched by the nomination because it made me feel like I am officially part of the awesome blogging community here (single tear drop). I can’t thank Jordan enough for nominating this young blog and for all his words of support throughout my art adventures.
First and foremost, check out Jordan’s blog here: https://jkirian92.wordpress.com/. When I first stumbled onto Jordan’s Blogalong Extravaganza, I was immediately hooked by his sharp and honest writing covering a myriad of topics as well as his short fiction that all are tied together by his keen insights, fearlessness and humour. He will have you entertained from beginning to end and then you might also learn something. To date he has published over 316 articles ranging from superheroes to satire. There is something for everyone at Jordan’s Blogalong Extravaganza and it’s updated daily (I believe) so it is definitely worth visiting and following.
Jordan has thought up 10 excellent questions for his nominees and here are my responses:
- Where does the inspiration for your blog come from?
As a kid with an affinity for drawing, I had insatious curiousity for the behind-the-scenes and making-of segments that would sometimes follow my favourite animated films on VHS. Before the internet became what it is today, I was only able to catch glimpses of the magical process of bringing drawings to life. More recently, the inspiration comes from reading other artist’s blogs, particularly the ones who openly share their struggles, mistakes and breakthroughs. This has helped me a lot in keeping a fulfilling drawing practice and it is my hope that by sharing my process, we`ll feel like we`re not alone, we`ll know that everyone has to start somewhere and we`ll encourage each other to keep practising, learning and pushing.
- When you are feeling lost or down or very, very sad, what do you do to center yourself, or to remind yourself life is alright?
Lately I’ve found what helps is just to live with the sadness and depression. That’s right, just ride and wallow in it while taking the opportunity to reflect and grow. I think we live in a quick-fix world that doesn’t always give us the time and space to deal with our feelings until you’ve bottled them up and then burst like a shaken pop can. You might think I’m a nice person by reading my blog but I have snapped and screamed at the people I care about from repressed rage. I don’t want to be that person so I make damn sure I try my best to understand what it is that makes me feel off-center. While I’m down, it’s the little things like cooking, journalling, drawing for fun, going for a walk, or having a meaningful conversation with a friend, that reminds me of how truly lucky I am. When the time comes the clouds will disperse, and sometimes I feel a bit stronger for weathering the storm and definitely more human by understanding the darker side of my emotions.
- What are some of your favourite things to do in your free time?
I like curling up in bed with a good book. My friend just lent me compendium two of The Walking Dead. I can’t really curl up comfortably with this bad boy unless I want to squash my lungs under its weight and stop breathing. Hmm, if I get enough work done tonight, I will find a way to read it without dying.
- What book would you suggest I read?
Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo. It’s a dense, heartbreaking story dealing with heavy, violent subject matter which makes some chapters difficult to read. However, there is an underlying hope in her work and the way she writes is truly captivating. The author is a visual artist and I like to think that’s what gives her work such rich, visceral imagery. People are all talking about ‘3D this’ and ‘virtual that’ these days, but Mootoo has created a truly immersive experience with her use of language. I attended her workshop a few years ago and still refer back to all the advice she gave on writing .
- How bout a movie? What movies should I watch?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already seen these but off the top of my head I would recommend Jeff Who Lives At Home, The Squid and the Whale, and The Illusionist (the animated film by Sylvain Chomet). I think you would appreciate these films as a writer who is interested in realist fiction and dark comedy. Like The Triplets of Belleville, The Illusionist is sparse on dialogue. As a writer, you probably know better than I do that much of writing is actually unseen but acts as the invisible thread in the set up, structure and execution of a story.
- What are some of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen? They can be at home or far away. Tell me about some of your travels.
After I graduated with a Fine Arts degree, I had no idea what to do with my life (and from what I hear that’s not unusual). In fact, I was so confused to what art was at the time that I stopped drawing for the first time in my life. I was having a quarter life crises so I decided to take a year off whereby I went back to school to take a few courses and work. The best thing I did that year was go on an exchange trip to China which included a visit to Taishan Mountain. I’ll never forget the view from the top. Photographs and words fail to capture the experience but I can conjure the feeling in my memory. I felt like I was floating in a literati painting. I will never forget watching the sunrise from that view.
- What are your true, unashamed dreams? What do you want to do with your life?
I want to keep drawing daily, push myself to grow artistically, and tell stories through comics and illustrations. I dream of publishing a graphic novel and having a booth at Comic Con where I can squeal with glee at all the geekiness and uber talented artists around me. Most of all, I hope to have a positive impact on someone’s life, you know, like the way we were touched or began to see the world a little differently after reading a good story.
- If you’re alone in your car, what are the songs that you just go crazy for? Turn it all the way up, windows down, singing your guts out?
Oh boy, you had to ask. Well, I would have to say Mariah Carey’s top hits from her 80s and 90s albums. Songs like Hero,There’s Got to be a Way, and Fantasy, still bring me plenty of joy today. Some of you are going to cringe at what you perceive as my bad taste in music. Many of you will smile to yourself, as closet Mariah fans, and think finally someone who gets it. Regardless, it all boils down to this: I have huge respect for exceptional craftsmanship whether that’s drawing, writing, playing guitar, making a bench or building a house. So why wouldn’t I blast Mariah who has mastered her craft with a 5 octave vocal range? So if you ever hear Honey blaring out a vehicle accompanied by the sound of wailing cats who are simultaneously scratching chalkboards with their tiny claws (because that’s what my voice sounds like), you’ll know I’m near.
- If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Telekinesis so I can fix myself snacks without ever having to move from my chair and/or preferably bed. Oh and of course, use the power to save the world and crap.
- If you could tell anyone in the world whatever you wanted, who would it be and what would you say?
I thought it would be fun to time travel and talk to my 20 year old self but after I wrote it down I think the message could be for any young person coming into adulthood:
I’m not going to lie – the next decade is going to be an emotional hell as you move from one end of the country to the other in search of your place in the world. You`re going to have setbacks, there will be a lot of confusion and frustration, and there`ll be moments when you won`t recognize nor want the life that happened to you. All the while, people are going to keep referring to you as a baby because they refuse to accept that you`re like them now, a grown-ass adult, trying to figure it out in this complicated world. You`re not going to believe me but things will get better. When you stop rolling your eyes, you`ll eventually realize that your life will get better when you align your career and relationships with your values. Nobody`s going to hand you a magic wand to make things easier and the change certainly won`t be instant. But you`ll figure out how to be resourceful and self-reliant in pursuing the things that are most important to you and you`ll develop meaningful relationships with people by just being you. So stop worrying so much about the future and keep searching, blundering and growing.
Here are the official rules for the Liebster Award nomination:
- Each nominee must have under 200 followers
- Thank and link to the nominating blog
- Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
- Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they’ve been nominated
- Write a post containing the questions
- Include these rules in the post
Here is my favourite part where I get to nominate some incredible blogs. You’ll see that I have an utter but shameless bias towards bloggers who draw, paint and/or design. The creators below provide plenty of inspiration to the community by sharing their art practice and unique styles and talents.
- Anita Salemink http://anitasalemink.com/
- AVIB3333 Creative https://avib333.wordpress.com/
- ELLIPSIS http://ellipsisartcollective.com/
- Kai Castillo https://kaicastle.wordpress.com/
- My Neighbor Duke https://myneighborduke.wordpress.com/
- SABRI-CAYE-OUS ART! http://sabricaye.wordpress.com/
- susannesemchuk https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/32121980/
- The Nerdist Artist https://thenerdistartist.wordpress.com/
- ThIRd”III3″WOrld ART https://thirdiiiworld.wordpress.com/
- ZlatkoMusicArt https://zlatkomusicart.wordpress.com/
Here are my questions below and there’s no pressure to answer them. Just know that I appreciate your work and process and hope that others will take the time to check out your blog and get inspired!
- Tell us about when you started drawing or creating, perhaps as a child, and if/how this informs your work today.
- What artists (contemporary or historical) would you say has had significant influence on your work?
- When did you decide to start blogging and why? Has blogging made any impact in your creative practice and if so how?
- What motivates you to keep creating?
- What do you do to get past creative blocks?
- What are some of your favorite art books, videos, podcasts and/or blogs that you would recommend as must-reads for other fellow artists?
- Tell us about an upcoming project, either personal or professional, that you are excited to tackle.
- Tell us about a grueling art project that you worked on. What challenges did you have to overcome to finish the project or what factors led you to decide to quit working on it?
- What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself if you could time travel?
- What is happiness to you?
Thanks again to Jordan for the nomination. I cannot think of a better way to conclude month three of blogging!