If you were at Glenn’s birthday shindig yesterday, you would probably find yourself stuffing your face with slops of nachos and deep fried cheesecake, meeting tons of super talented artsy people, while getting roped into karaoke and then rolling on the floor with laughter. Glenn is a very close friend of mine, in fact I consider him family. Although we’ve known each other since elementary, we didn’t really become friends until we both randomly moved to Toronto six years ago.
Ah yes, I remember those early years when we didn’t really know anyone in the city or have jobs to go to. We were socially awkward, neurotic and just trying to figure out our lives and what our dreams were. Back then we couldn’t afford to go anywhere (except to gorge on $3 pork on Spadina) so on the weekends we would just play video games and one of those happened to be Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). We’re both hardcore Tolkien fans to the extent that Glenn’s end game has always been to live out his post-retirement days in the Shire. For his birthday present, I thought he would enjoy an illustration of his lifelong dream as well as something to remind him of the fond memories of our LOTRO days.
Glennerd the Hobbit has other layers of significance for me. Glenn has overcome many adversities in his life to achieve his dream of becoming a graphic designer and singer. He’s a very generous person and has a way of creating a non-judgemental, warm and safe space for you to unabashedly be yourself. Having Glenn in my life has been fundamental to both my personal and artistic growth. I wanted to give him something special to tell him, in my own way, what our friendship means to me.
When I half-jokingly wrote the About Page for this blog, I was honestly portraying the ridiculous, neurotic, self-deprecating dialogue which would play like a broken record in my head as I draw. Even with Glennerd the Hobbit, I found myself thinking: I can’t do this, I don’t have the skills, just give up, I’ll never finish on time and also Glenn will ostracize me from his life because of this art fail. But I pushed forward despite the negative thoughts and Glenn looooved this little hobbit version of himself which he describes as EPIC. Glennerd the Hobbit also represents a moment of growth, of overcoming fear and self-doubt, proving once again that we do have it in ourselves to achieve our dreams.