Blog| The Comparison Game

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If you’re not aware, I’ve been sick for the past few days which would explain the lack of a blog yesterday. Our house is full of sick people and animals at the moment between Demo getting his arm amputated, Almond not feeling good, and me getting knocked out by a severe cold.

How do I spend my sick days?

Mostly by scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos. Like most artists, I follow a ton of other artists as well. My YouTube is filled with speed paint videos, studio vlogs, and all sorts. On Facebook I see video features and articles about other local artists and projects and all of their art.

And then I started to feel bad about myself. I am surrounded by artists so it’s hard not to compare myself to them a bit. I see their amazing works and galleries and projects and my mind goes, “Why can’t I have any of that?”

Comparison is a double edged sword. Most artists do it in some way. They look up to other artists and take the styles and techniques they love and try to emulate them in some way. It can be healthy to do this. A lot of artists learn through emulation and there’s nothing wrong with that (as long as you’re not passing it of as your own and selling it.) We do it all the time, taking qualities we like and inheriting them.

Advice from Facebook:
“You do you. Every artist, regardless of medium, find fault in their own work, so having the balls to put it out there to the world is huge. You are not anyone else, and no one else is you. Be you, do you.”– Emily H

“I would say everyone’s art journey is different. Don’t compare your work or how you approach being artist to other artists. Your story will be unique to you. In addition to that, don’t look down on other artists if they don’t follow what you consider the proper way to go about being an artist.” -Kendra M

The problem gets to be when you do it too much. When it no longer is about growing yourself, but looking at your growth and diminishing it because it’s not as good as someone else’s. Comparison tends to lead to jealousy and envy. It’s a struggle not to do this. Humans are competitive and that permeates the art world, especially with the surge of social media. It’s a battle for followers and likes and shares.

That’s when comparison can become mostly a negative. It’s a fixation of “Why am I not selling pieces? Why can’t I get my own gallery? Why don’t people want to feature my work anywhere?” Artists put so much of themselves into their work that it gets personal when they see another artist they think had an easier time get more of a spotlight; it can lead to resentment and jealousy.

Advice from Facebook: 

“It’s normal to compare your efforts to the works of someone whose talents you admire. The trick is to compare without criticism.” -Billie A

” The world is full of different tastes so even though you might like and admire someone’s art, you shouldn’t push yourself to be too much like someone else because plenty of people will like YOUR stuff.” -Ana H 

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms. ~ Zen Shin” -Lisa M

We’re all not immune to it. I’ve been doing art seriously for 10+ years now. I’ve done small galleries and group shows and now help run one. I am not immune to it at all. I watch these videos of artists being able to work full time in their art studios and create all day while I have an office job and barely get the time and energy to work on my own pieces. You look at everything and wonder what you’re doing wrong.

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Here’s something not a lot of people know.

A year or so ago, my depression was on and off and I seriously considered giving up pursing art as a career and resigned myself to boring office jobs. I hadn’t sold anything after putting hours into my paintings and watched as my friends sold piece after piece and got commissions and invited to do cool events and workshops and everything while I was struggling. I thought there was no point. Everyone said they liked my work but it wasn’t showing.

I had spent years in the art community and had gotten no where and was tired of being passed up. I wasn’t in galleries, no one knew who I was. It was pointless.

Advice from Facebook: 

“Stop that shit!” -Todd G

” Let your light shine.” –Greg F

I love art. I need art to keep myself sane and balanced but comparing myself to everyone else had put me in this dark pit that I couldn’t get out of and I wanted to quit. I was so tired of fighting and climbing uphill. It took Rony to talk me out of it and keep going. Things got better. I stopped focusing so much on everyone else. I took the time and focused on what I wanted to do.

I do both original fine art and fan art, but not solely either or. It puts me in this weird category where since I don’t do constant fan art I don’t get the recognition for that but because I do fan art, I don’t get the recognition for my fine art. I’m in limbo. It was one of the reasons why I’ve been trying to make the Lubbock Artist Collective galleries so diverse. I want to allow room for both fan art and fine art you can be good at both.

The artists I follow online are in the same category as myself, but it’s hard locally. Lubbock is small and the art community is tight. Even surrounded by artists, I feel like an outsider.

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There are times where I still get bouts of jealousy and self-deprecation. It’s hard not to, but I’m working on it. Now when I see others succeed, I have to remind myself it doesn’t affect my own journey and I should be excited for them. I look at my Instagram feed and the Youtube videos and use these glimpses into other artists worlds to inspire me rather than put me down. I use it as motivation.

Seattle will have more opportunities. I’m growing my own opportunities here for now.

It’s not easy and it’s never going to be easy. Paintings don’t sell and pile up, you email galleries constantly looking for a place that will accept your art. Opportunities go by while you see your friends get more and more. It happens. But you have to keep going. The hard work pays off eventually.

Advice from Facebook: 

“I know art is cathartic for a lot, including me, but remember it’s fun and that it’s okay to just make stuff that isn’t great sometimes, so long as you enjoy it.” -David P

“We’re our biggest critics. Focus on your work and what you want to do. Don’t compare to others, because they’re on their own journey and see things through different eyes than you. We’re all human and have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves and think the next person is better. More often than not, that person you think is better, is probably thinking the same thing about someone else.” – Natasia M

So remember, no two people are alike. Each person grows differently. Some fast, some slow. It’s okay to look up to other people, but don’t diminish your own growth and put yourself down. Comparison can be good in small doses to motivate and inspire but you are one of a kind and can’t be anyone else. You’ll get there. Just keep going.

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What advice would you give someone? Have you struggled with comparing yourself?

-Sam <3

365 Project| 29-35

It’s been a busy week so let’s check out how I did. So far going strong.


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29: Between dog sitting, vet trips, cleaning, and Ladies Night, Saturday was chaotic. Afterwards we all got together to play games, eat pizza, celebrate making it through my Vegan challenge, and just hang out.

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30: We like to feed the dogs in their kennels since they’ll steal each others food and get mad and sometimes they throw fits and pout when we do it. Leon loves to tear apart his beds and fill his kennel with stuffing and Almond will toss everything out of hers.

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31: Our little cactus grew another head. We’re gonna use these neat skull cups we found and turn them into plants to give them more room.

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32: I went to the dentist to deal with a toothache and came out with two more prescriptions, one for an infection and the other being pain meds. The amount of medication I have to take a day is ridiculous.

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33: We finally got a new car and that meant saying goodbye to our baby red one. I’ve had it pretty much the entirety of mine and Rony’s relationship. The first thing he ever got me was this sticker from the farmer’s market back in his home town. We’re gonna try and get a replacement for the new car because I can’t say goodbye to that yet.

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34: The shop is picking up which means I’ve been getting orders together and trying to get them shipped out. There was a time when I would get 30 in a week and was drowning in orders to go out in the mail. Things are steadier and I’m okay with that.

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35: Friday was Demo’s big day. After 2 years we were finally getting his arm amputated. We got him packed up and corralled him into the crate and then dropped him off at the vet. His surgery went really good but they went ahead and kept him there overnight just to check on him. We officially have a 3 legged cat and hopefully he’ll be much better.


-Sam <3

Blog| I went Vegan for a Week

My sister and I like to give each other challenges to do. One, it’s a way for us to bond and do fun things and two, we like to brag when the other starts losing.

I challenged her to do the 365 Project and she challenged me to do a week of being vegan.

Guess what I’m doing now?

Goal: Eat vegan from July 24th to Ladies Night on July 29th and see what the effects are on my body and if I won’t die of hunger.


Day 1:

I was not prepared. At all. We got back from Ruidoso Sunday evening and I went straight to a dinner party then passed out. In the morning, I was tired and exhausted and went to grab something for breakfast only to find nothing I could eat.

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I drink my coffee with cream and sugar so I couldn’t have it and had to drink sweet tea instead. I was starving. Went home for lunch. Finally found some rice and a bag of steam-able veggies to eat. It was the saddest little meal I’ve had. After desperately searching the house some more, I realized the garden veggie Pringles chips we just bought were vegan.

I think I downed half the can.

After work I went to the grocery store and got some fruit, salad stuff, fake vegan meat, chips and salsa, and almond milk so I could eat cereal. I forgot pasta sauce since the sauce we had already was four cheese, to my dismay.

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I ate a salad for dinner, snacked on chips and salsa, ate a cup of Special K cereal with almond milk, and drank V8 fruit blend. I had a headache, was tired, cranky, and couldn’t seem to feel full. Day 1 was awful.


Day 2:

I was exhausted! Seriously, I slept through my alarm then had to run and throw on clothes and eat some more Special K for breakfast. My stomach felt like a black void and I had the worst headache. It’s the kind that feels like your head is split open and makes you nauseous.

For lunch I went crazy because I was starving. Tomato soup, slices of bread, chips and salsa, and the veggie Pringle chips. I gorged myself because I was so hungry and just wanted everything in sight to get into my stomach.

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After work, I was still starving. I snacked on baby tomatoes and homemade pickles. Ate another cup of cereal. I was also exhausted and the headaches were persisting. I spent a good amount of time just laying on the couch with my phone, trying not to take a whole bottle of pain medicine.

For dinner, I wanted to try something beyond rice and veggies. I had bought some meatless vegan chicken strips and googled how to make your own teriyaki sauce. With some modifications (because I didn’t have everything and I was too lazy to go to the store), I made the sauce with some steamed stir-fry veggies and added the chicken. All of it went on top of some white rice and boom, dinner.

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Surprisingly, it was very delicious. The chicken didn’t taste just like chicken, but close enough and the texture was kinda similar. But the sauce was good and I even ate the vegetables I usually hate.

I passed out early for bed and dreamed of cakes and cream cheese and everything I couldn’t eat.


Day 3:

I was less tired in the morning but did wake up starving again. I realized the food I was eating just wasn’t lasting that long. I made the effort to get up, fix my hair, eat a big bowl of cereal, and take some fruit to work. Since I’ve had to forgo coffee and I forgot to make more sweet tea, I drank water at work.

The headaches were still ongoing but I looked it up and it’s apparently my body detoxing from dairy and meat. I chewed some gummy vitamins for good measure and drank more water.

I started to dislike Almond milk less, though I wouldn’t drink it straight. It was a weird tan color I just couldn’t get passed. In cereal it wasn’t bad, I’ll give it that.

Lunch was tomato soup again since we ate all the leftovers and I didn’t feel like salad. After lunch I was fading fast. I could not. stop. yawning. I drank even more water and finished off my Pringles to keep myself awake.

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Marisa was supposed to make a vegan dinner, but ended up losing her debit card (RIP debit card) so I settled for a spinach and tomato salad with Italian dressing. I’m starting to notice that certain flavors are starting to be overpowering. Certain things are too sweet, the Italian dressing was overpowering and too much. It’s strange.


Day 4:

Today was the first day that I didn’t get awful headaches and didn’t feel like I needed a nap every other hour. I ran out of cereal but found out the “butter” we had was actually vegetable oil spread and I could eat it. So I made toast with jam.

I’m drinking more water and more fruit. A lot of bananas and peaches from the store, snacking on tomatoes. Vegetables I hated and would pick out of my food I’m just shoving into my mouth because I’m hungry and don’t wanna hassle myself with picking them out.

Lunch was a dull affair of leftover tomato soup with bread and veggies. Most of my lunch break was spent cleaning up the dogs’ kennels since Almond had an accident due to an upset tummy.

I snacked on salsa and chips, finished my tomatoes, cried over my forbidden donuts and Lunchables.

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For dinner I decided to cook again. There was some gnocchi in the cabinets and we had another bag of meatless chicken. I cooked them up, threw some steam-able veggies into the microwave and then mixed it all together and made vegetable and chicken gnocchi with plain pasta sauce. It was pretty good and very filling! I actually liked it a lot and say of all the vegan stuff I bought, I liked the meatless chicken the most.


Day 5:

No headaches! It was a miracle! I ate toast again for breakfast and had some tea and found I was less tired for once. My sleep schedule was still all crazy and I ended up staying up too late coloring my coloring book, but I wasn’t dead on my feet so that was good.

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I ate leftover gnocchi for lunch and decided to cook meatless ground beef tacos for dinner. Honestly, it didn’t taste that much different from regular meat. I seasoned it like normal and topped it with tomatoes and spinach instead of lettuce and put a little salsa on it. Rony and I both ate them all and agreed that the meatless beef was pretty A+. 10/10 would buy again. I think next time I’ll try and incorporate it into other dishes and see how it holds up.


Day 6:

Saturday was the last day of the challenge. I had to get all the way through Ladies Night and then I could stuff myself with pizza and donuts and anything I wanted.

We were crazy busy so I ate cereal for breakfast in between running around. Around 2, it finally settled down enough that we decided to go out and eat. I wanted to try and see how easy or hard it is to order vegan food at a restaurant so we went to one of our favorite Thai restaurants. All I could think was that I was pretty sure most of the noodles are made with egg and I’d have to suck it up and get a fully vegetable plate and this was going to suck.

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I got lucky. My favorite dish, Lard Na, was made with rice noodles and they had a tofu option so it was all vegan. I’ve never had tofu but Rony recently got won over by it so I figured I would try it to.

During the whole week, I was surprised by how less picky I was getting. Usually I pick out cabbage and any weird vegetables I don’t like. Sometimes I was too hungry to care and shoved everything into my mouth, everything tasting like pure gold in my mouth from starvation. I was less anxious about the tofu at that point. And it was actually not bad. The gravy had soaked in and it didn’t really taste like anything and the texture reminded me of a less chewy version of tripe in menudo which I love. I was pleasantly surprised.

Rony got tofu as well but it was fried. I tried his and it tasted like weird egg but I’d eat it. It wasn’t bad. I ate my whole plate and felt full and happy. I was proud. It was my last vegan meal and I had expected the worst, but the whole week was better than I thought.

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Ladies Night came and I survived. I did ALMOST ate a cookie on accident though. Tabby had picked all the M&M’s off hers and I didn’t want it to go to waste and had put it in my mouth right as I realized it wasn’t vegan. So I spit it out and almost cried. I would have been so mad if I ruined my whole week in the last hour.

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We all went to my house and ordered pizza and played games and drank to celebrate Ladies Night and me ending my veganism. The taste of cheese pizza had never tasted so good. I ate chips and bread sticks and dip and hung out with my friends. I even drank the cold brew coffee that had been sitting in the fridge.

We laughed and listened to music and stayed up until almost 3am. It was a good end.


Final thoughts:

I will tell you, I threw a fit when my sister gave me the challenge. I couldn’t survive without dairy. It was gonna be awful. I was gonna die. This was too much work. Even Rony was like “hell no” and didn’t want to do it.

But I genuinely surprised. Yes, the first few days were hard as I figured out what I could or could not eat, figured out my intake, and suffered through dairy detox. I was miserable and tired and grumpy and just wanted to shove donuts into my face. After I got groceries, tried to cook and got things I could eat then it actually wasn’t bad.

I noticed I started to crave dairy and cheese less, I ate less sugar and caffeine, and cooked a lot more. I started looking at labels and taking vitamins and eating less processed food. The few times I seriously craved foods was in places like the mall and when everyone but me had junk food.

Were there downsides? Yes. I’m going to be honest. I had gas all damn week. It was crazy. Everything gave me gas and I hated it. I was also hungry all the time, ranging from “maybe I should snack” to “holy shit I’m going to eat paper if I do not get food.” I would have to eat very filling lunches to last me from breakfast until after work when I would eat fruit or something small to relieve the hunger pains before dinner.

I was tired, fast food was almost completely out of the question, and the groceries were slightly more expensive for less items. Lubbock is a small town and does not have that many vegan/vegetarian options and I hated spending so much on groceries.

But at the end of the week, I was super proud and it’s made me think a lot about my diet currently. I gave up red meat, but all of the meatless options were just as good as actual meat. So now I think I may be giving up poultry eventually and just eat fish. When we go to Seattle, we’ll be able to get fresh, local fish and that way I don’t have to feel guilty about the meat/poultry industry.

It’s weird to be making all these dietary changes but I have to admit that I did feel good at the end. I didn’t change weight, but my body felt healthier and I had to consume so much food that was plant based that I wouldn’t really have to worry about overeating. If I had worked out this week, I’m sure I would have saw some changes.

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So how have things changed almost a week later?

Monday I drank two sips of coffee and felt like my heart was going to explode from caffeine. I hate some chips and a cookie and felt sick all day. Cheese is almost unappetizing to me and I can’t go back to regular dairy milk. So far turkey meat doesn’t make me queasy but I essentially can’t go back to a regular diet without feeling nauseous and worse than I did at the beginning of the vegan challenge.

I won’t keep being a vegan, but unless I want to feel like crap for a whole week, I can’t go back to eating how I did. So I’ve cut out coffee and soda and a lot of sweets and dairy. If I do eat junk food, I can only eat a tiny bit or else I feel awful.

But I’m kinda okay with it. Yes, I would like to go back to eating whatever I wanted but in the end, I understand that it’s my body telling me it does not like it. So I’ll be like a weird lenient vegetarian.

In a month or so, I’ll let you know how it goes :)

-Sam <3

Blog| August Goals

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I like that every time I’m like “oh this month won’t be busy,” I end up eating my words. This month was hectic and I know I did awful, but I really did try.

Let’s recap July and see what happened.


July Goals

Personal:

  • Restrict non-essential spending to $50 for the whole month– I failed this spectacularly. I was doing so good and then we decided to buy a $50 skull and taxidermy bugs and it went downhill
  • Swim in the pool once a week- I really wanted to do this one, but unfortunately we did not get a pool cover, it rained, and now we’ve had to drain and completely scrub and repair the pool because the dogs started to trash it
  • Get back into using the planner-  I’ve tried to add a lot more and update plans and events to help me keep track
  • Take the dogs on a walk once a week- Nope.
  • Drink more water- I’m going to give myself this one. I have been drinking more water, just not as much as I’d like. But my water intake has gone up

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Work:

  • Paint one thing not for an event- I did a few fluid art paintings and did an ink drawing!
  • Finish Wonder Woman Read Through- I just got too busy to dedicate 30-40 minutes to that trash. I’m going to try again later
  • Do a painting process blog/livestream– Yep! Did a process blog on my Alien painting here
  • Plan out blogs ahead of time- Did this too! I have a lot of blogs planned so I’m not struggling to produce content!
  • Update resume and portfolio- I did not do this, but I want to get really good scans and photos of my paintings first.

Projects:

  • Start 365 Photo Challenge July 1st- Done!
  • Give up red meat July 5th- Done!
  • Do Vegan Challenge for a week July 20th-27th- Done though we had to change the dates! You can read about that this week!

So 8/13 is more than 60% met! Not the best but then again, I just got slammed with event to trip to event and I feel like I’m barely catching my breath now. One of these days I’ll actually have a slow month.

I do need to get my budget under control and get serious about saving money and not spending. I want to get my online shop straightened up, the house clean, and have a good routine for myself to follow and stick to.

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So let’s look at August Goals!


August Goals

Personal:

  • Restrict non-essential spending to $100 for the whole month
  • Pay attention to what I eat and allow myself only some treats
  • Go to sleep by 11-1130
  • Take the dogs on a walk once a week or take them somewhere
  • Take care of your dishes every day

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Work:

  • Paint TWO things not for an event
  • Finish Wonder Woman Read Through
  • Update Etsy shop and list items on Society6
  • Try to nail down a location for the 24 hour lock in
  • Update resume and portfolio

Projects:

  • Art Coffee Night
  • Garage Sale

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I think by getting down a routine it’ll help me focus on my projects and that way things don’t pile up, the house and animals are getting taken care of, and it’ll be less stress for everyone. I need to clean up the business and get things organized and ready to start focusing seriously on it. I want to do more original content, put on more art events, and focus on the art community.

And I really need to start trying to do my personal goals rather than just my work ones. I put myself last to mostly everything and don’t take care of myself like I should because if I’m not okay then I can’t help others and get things done.

It’s all gonna happen! I just have to stay determined and focused!

I’m linking up with Nicole from Writes Like a Goal so go read her small goals for August and the other link ups!

-Sam <3

365 Project| 22-28

This week was a mix of busy family and friend outings and I don’t think it’s gonna slow down any time soon.


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22: We spent the day in Ruidoso, hanging out in the cabin and relaxing. It was beautiful and was just a wonderful chance to breathe.

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23: We went to the shops in downtown Ruidoso and antique shopped before heading back home. I loved all the knick knacks and interesting things for sale.

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24: Rony’s mom gave us a few new plant babies, including two tiny succulents.

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25: I found a bug shop on Etsy a month ago and splurged and they finally came in. They’re absolutely gorgeous and I love them already.

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26: A friend of ours was in town and we went to the pinball bar to have drinks and play games.

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27: I needed a downtime day and finally sat down and starting working on one of my coloring books. I got a few as gifts but haven’t colored in them and I was excited to finally do so. I even sketched a bit as well.

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28: My sister, niece, and nephew arrived in town so we went and hung out with them after work. Rony is Tabby’s favorite person to hang out with so she was excited to play with him and show him all her things. We went and saw him play soccer and then all (well, except me) got ice cream.


-Sam <3

365 Project| 15-21

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15: Ryder has started meowing to go outside a lot lately so I’m working on training him to walk with a leash. There’s been progress but we need to work on his listening skills.

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16: I’ve been having an insect obsession and have started adding them to all my paintings.

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17: Work night. Sometimes I just like working in the kitchen rather than my office.

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18: I got anxious and frustrated and needed a release so I chopped off half my hair in the bathroom. I feel better.

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19: Dinner at Marisa’s house with some friends. I snuggled her puppies and ate good food and watched people play board games.

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20: Packing for our weekend trip to Ruidoso. Almond and Leon are not thrilled but they get to spend the weekend with Marisa and her pup Cooper while we’re gone.

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21: On the road. Texas is a pretty great place for sunsets but off to New Mexico we went to spend the weekend with Rony’s family at a cabin.


-Sam <3

Blog| Zero to a Hundred

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I do a lot of events. Like a lot of them. Two to three years ago if you had told me I’d be planning and organizing events and galleries, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was shy and had a hard time emailing or calling businesses and people, much less being in charge. But here I am.

When things slow down for me, my brain starts to overwork and fixate. It’s a good and bad side of my brain that tends to cause me anxiety. Someone suggests or jokes about one little thing and my brain will fixate on the idea until I end up either doing something drastic to my hair, the house, or coming up with a new project to focus on.

That’s what happening now. I did two of those three, but we’ll talk about one of them later.

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A year or two ago, Rony did a design event in Albuquerque called Createathon where he and a bunch of different graphic designers were assigned a project for some non-profits and were given 24 hours to work up logos and marketing material and sometimes website. They did a lock-in and worked from like 11am to 11am the next day. I drove him and some of his coworkers to it so I could drive them back safely and let them sleep in the car.

He tweeted about it the whole night and I followed along while I stayed in the rental house. A lot of good work came out of it and it seemed like a fun idea.

I have no clue what made me think about it again, but it kept bouncing around in my head. I wanted something new to do that would be interesting and push artists to create. I wanted to do a 24 hour lock-in for art and maybe we could display the work and donate part of the proceeds to charity.

When I started Ladies Night, all I had to do was email Robert at Star Comics with the idea and it somehow came together. We set a date, I did art for the flyer, Rony put the flyer together, and the rest was trial and error. Geek Girl Brunch is a collaboration with the other officers. The Pokemon Art Drops were trial and error but easy overall. And the galleries came from experience and brainstorming.

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Everything I’ve done so far has been simple in concept. Previous events give me inspiration for new ones and the experience to push myself forward.

I’ve somehow become an event coordinator and have learned how to market and push events to get the attendance.

This is different. This is harder. Even with the Star Wars charity event we’re doing in December, that’s pretty easy since I have help.

Where do I start? Who do I contact? What are the details?

I’m been thinking about it all week, talking it over with Rony and friends on Facebook. I’m emailing galleries and looking up places that have done stuff like this before and seeing if we can rent churches or gyms and what about live streaming the event? We need a place to hold the actual lock-in, need a place to display the art, need a date, need to figure out requirements for participation, figure out snacks and food and necessities to supply artists for 24 hours, advertisement, what charity are we giving too, do we need to write up proposals, etc etc.

It’s a lot, but the thing is: I don’t mind it. My mind is being kept busy. I’m working on art which sometimes is a mindless task for me. Art just happens and flows and I don’t have to think too much when I’m in the zone. But I like events because they’re a challenge.

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I like making a difference. A few years ago I didn’t have any information or places to display my art or things to participate in. I want to provide those opportunities for new artists and help them get involved.

My problem with fixation isn’t always great. It can lead to big, impulsive decisions but sometimes it works in my favor to keep me motivated and growing.

I’ll figure out how to make this event work. I always do. And one day, maybe I can do events as a career and be able to make more of a difference. But for now, I’m busy, I’m happy, I’m covered in paint and I’m working to make the art community a more fun place. I think that’s pretty good.

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-Sam <3