I made these little Emily-cartoons to illustrate the short talk I gave this past weekend at the XOXO Conference
here in Portland. The day I spoke was all about the stories of creators
who had built something on their own terms, and these little drawings
served to help me illustrate the beginning of my story.
Clockwise, we have (briefly):
1.) Fresh out of art school, I assumed I'd have to work in the service industry.
2.) And I did. But I also worked on creating The Black Apple at night.
3.) When, at last, I was working for myself, I was able to wander where my heart desired and make anything my heart desired.
4.) The only problem is, sometimes there are too many things I want to make!
Gathering up all my courage to give the talk to hundreds of XOXO folks was tricky, but I'm happy I did. And giving a lot of thought to how things began and how things have grown and changed since I graduated from art school in 2005 was a nice reminder that I've been doing something with my time, lo, these past seven years!
We spent most of Saturday afternoon at the festival, where ebullience and enthusiasm very nearly shimmered in the air. People were very kind and excited to be there, and the warmth with which Andy & Andy organized the whole shebang reverberated in everyone's good spirits and up into the rafters of the beautiful old brick building that housed it.
I think all of the talks will be online eventually, and I'll be sure to post when they are. I'm pretty certain the talk went smoothly (I hope it did?). Also pretty certain I'm the only speaker to refer to both Art School Confidential and The Velveteen Rabbit, which will scarcely surprise you.
It would seem I took the rest of August off from my dispatches here without planning or meaning to.
I wish it was due to some kind of Rip Van Winkle-ish, hazy Summer's end reason, but it's really because every bit of my thought and energy has been going into the picture book I'm working on. I wish I could share it - the hardest part of book-making is how solitary it can be. I'm all wrapped up in it and it's all I can do to think of anything else - this happens every time! Besides, my plans are ambitious, the original paintings are big, my art deadline is creeping closer, and this all makes for a very Tim Gunn, "Make It Work" moment in my neck of the woods.
Even in single-minded worker bee mode, there are simple things that come along and keep me happy. I try to recognize these little things and be grateful for them. Things like:
- Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Juice, which feature my favorite drink label ever. - Unkempt stems of wildflowers in bottles from a shabby late-Summer garden - Pining after sweetdottedblouses - All the Fall clothes tumbling in, coats and soft woolens and tweeds - The light on walks just before the night falls, all brilliant gold - Listening to favorite Knitters songs - Watching Season Two of Boardwalk Empire with Josiah (ieee! We just finished it!)
What little things are currently brightening up your day-to-day?
I don't like being this quiet, so I'm going to try my best not to vanish this completely again any time soon. Besides, my favorite time of year is waiting just around the corner!