I started a blog on my website at the end of November last year right before I went to Ecuador. I had these expectations of documenting that entire trip everyday as it happened. The first post I created happened sort of effortlessly because I was reacting to something. So I assumed that I would be able to do that everyday but this wasn't the case and a few of the posts I created after that now feel forced to me. I quit after a few days because I had food poisoning but even when I got better I didn't continue because truthfully, I did not have the motivation to, not in the way I felt it the first day. I didn't encounter that feeling again until a few days before my trip ended where I wrote in reaction to something again.
Today is the end of April and I haven't written anything since December. I had this idea that anything I would write about wouldn't be worth reading because I was not traveling anymore but looking back I regret thinking that. Since then a lot has happened and I don't know if I could write about it all in a single post but I'd like to share an update to anyone who may actually be reading this about what has been going on these last few months.
When I came back from my trip to Ecuador I returned to my part-time job. I thought I would continue working there until I could figure out what I would be doing with my Illustration degree. I was working there for two and a half years but things changed so quickly and working there when I got back from the trip felt like a different place from where I was before I left. It took me some time but I realized that I was not happy there anymore. So I gave a two weeks notice and left in the beginning of the following month.
I never tried being dependent only on freelancing before because I became comfortable with a steady paycheck. I didn't really know what to expect after leaving because I didn't know if opportunities would be out there. My first "gig" was doing these commissions for the website of a bed and breakfast but I notice more and more that those opportunities exists. I guess it is a combination of actively searching for them and chance. In February, I also participated in two shows at the Greenpoint Gallery. It's an amazing gallery space where anyone can submit and artists can exhibit/sell their work. Each submission is $5 dollars and you can submit up to five pieces. There are also live bands that perform every show and they have a show almost every Friday.
Back in October, my friend Sam Shumway brought me on as an assistant for this stop motion shoot he was doing with Nickelodeon. We created characters from Nick out of candy for "Candy Corn Day." He reached out and asked if I was interested in doing this again for a day of shooting in February because it was similar to the last one we did. This time it was for "Cereal Day" and we created characters from Nick Jr. out of pieces of cereal. I am mainly an illustrator but it was great to be able to learn so much from Sam and the way he works with stop-motion, props, fabrication and animating.
I had been a bit skeptical of freelancing apps or networks mainly because I actually had no experience using them. My friend told me about Fiverr which is an app where you can offer a "gig" to someone and get paid for it. I made an account the month prior but I sort of forgot about it because I had not received any offers. Eventually someone saw one of my listings and I had an offer where I was creating quick storyboards and got paid a fair amount for the work. The bummer is that Fiverr takes 20% of every gig. So I don't know if I could survive only working off of that platform but its nice to know that this is another tool that I am able to access as a freelancer.
I think the other thing that has been great about working for myself is that I when I have the time, I am able to create the work that I would like to be creating. I had started a comic back in October and I finished it in March and for me it was sort of a milestone. It was something I never imagined I would do. I knew storytelling is something I was always interested in but creating a comic and holding a hard copy was a big deal for me.
This last month for me feels like it went by so quickly. At the beginning of the month, I tabled alongside my friends Dylan and Abby at MoCCA Fest in Manhattan. I created some zines and prints to sell alongside my comic at the festival and that whole process has been a learning experience. Working with Abby and Dylan, I thought more of the way I present things and package the products I am creating. The last few days before MoCCA I created a series of "Travel Zines", one for three different places I traveled to and they are filled with sketches created during that trip. I've been fortunate to travel and I create these illustrations when I go to these places but these zines are the first time I recognized that those drawings could be used in different ways. I also created an online store through Etsy this month and I've uploaded a bunch of stuff that I had from MoCCA on there and I hope to add other things soon too. I've ordered my first set of enamel pins for the store which I'm excited to share once they arrive.
These last few months have left me a little uncertain about the future but I want to welcome that feeling because it leaves room for possibility. After I graduated from my university I found myself having conversations with people about the things we were supposed to be doing. I thought if I didn't have a full-time job I wasn't where I needed to be, but this is not the case. The things we do are not going to be so linear. What I do with my life is not going to be the same as the people around me and definitely not at the same pace. Before I quit my part-time job a lot of people asked me if I really thought it would be a good idea because there was a chance I might not make enough to sustain myself. Which is a valid concern but I think if I didn't leave I would have stayed comfortable with where I was. I was making money (which definitely was still not enough to sustain myself) but I was also unhappy. I don't know if I would have accomplished the things I did if I had not left, but I'm glad I did make that decision. I definitely don't have things completely figured out. To be frank, I'm clueless about a whole lot of stuff, but I'm learning and I'll keep learning.
Back in February I was accepted into a two-week art residency in the south of France. I bought a one way to France and my flight departs on May 30th. The program ends on the 15th of June but I thought I would travel for a bit after that. I'll keep a sketchbook with me for sure and draw the things I see and when I come back I'll keep working and I'll continue to figure things out.
If you read this whole post, thank you so much. I don't know if these entries will be frequent but I sincerely appreciate that you took the time to read what I wrote.