ME AND YOU

happy-new-year Guys. It's almost 2013.

I sure had a lot of "holy shit" moments in 2012. You know the ones, right? Those moments when you're thinking "holy shit, am I really doing this?" Out of all of those moments, I definitely have two favorites. One was going to blogshop in Seattle. If you get the opportunity to go, DO IT. And yes, that's me in the first pic! Gah I couldn't have worn nicer shoes? Ohh me.

The other was a major moment for me. Like, I didn't even believe I was doing it as I was doing it. I'm talking, of course, about quitting my job. Last New Year's Eve I remember feeling terrified, frustrated, lost - I hated my job and I didn't know what to do or how to fix it. I wanted to leave, I wanted a big change, I wanted to find my purpose and start effing living it already, no more waiting! But I was too scared to make a move. I had a feeling I should quit my job and try blogging full time, but what does "a feeling" really mean? If I only had a sign... a clue as to what to do.

It took me another 10 months to learn - that feeling, that inner pull to do something greater, more awesome, more useful, more fulfilling, more everything - THAT'S IT. That is the sign. That feeling is telling you what to do... and you know it. It's just scary. While I haven't necessarily found my ultimate super awesome true purpose yet, I know I'm on the right path.

2012 was about leaving behind what wasn't working and starting what I know was right for me. So I've started... I think 2013 is going to be about really going for what I want, listening to my "feelings" on the regular, owning my decisions, and being an effing boss and not apologizing for it. We deserve everything we want... so let's go for it, k? Me and you.

Here's to even more "holy shit, am I really doing this?" moments in 2013. Woot!

 

ET TU?

What were some of your favorite moments from 2012? Do you ever have a feeling about something, but are too scared to make a move? I'd love to hear about it, cuz believe me - I feel ya.

 

Image by artsocial.

FOR HAPPINESS

I just started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I know! How have I not read this already?? I'm only on page 34 and it's already given me soooo much to think about. Lately every bit of advice I receive, any episode of Oprah I see, and/or any fortune cookie I eat relates to one aspect of my life: career. Even my favorite tea that comes with an inspirational saying on the tag seems to be giving me career advice. You are limitless. Gasp! clearly that means I should blog for a living cuz I love it and I'm limitless, no limits means I can do anything I want and that thing is blogging. That was pretty much my thought process...

Dude why so cray about your career?  Wellll after so much school, specializing further and further into a particular field, then bouncing from one contracted but coveted arty job to the next, I think I want out... I don't want out of the art world, but I think I've finally accepted that I don't want to work in a gallery or a museum. Kind of a heavy realization for someone who went to school for museum studies. Seeing some of my friends advance in the museum world and looove what they're doing only confirms it, it's not my steez, my thang, my passion. I wish there was a museum kool-aid I could drink that would make me love it, that would make things so much easier... but prolly boring. Why do I feel so guilty for wanting to change course, it's allowed! Lots of people change direction... and if I'm following my own advice from this post, I'll get out now. No regrets.

SO as of now, I have less than 4 months on my current museum job contract... and for some reason I thought I had 6 months - gah! Good thing I'm not trying to be an accountant or do some other numbers-related job. Anyhoo, I need to figure some things out, do some soul searching, and I think The Happiness Project is the perfect thing for me to be reading right now. If you've read it and disagree, just don't say anything. I'm grasping for advice from tea bags over here. Jokes aside, I'm confident I'm on the right path for me... sometimes the scariest option (ie leaving a "grown-up" job) can be the most rewarding one in the long run. Cuz I don't want to settle for just any job. I know I deserve (we all deserve) a career that makes us happy, one that we really believe in.

How about you? Are you in the midst of a career change? Want to read The Happiness Project with me? Or just get together and drink these and forget all about this career stuff? Ok cool.

More awesome balloons by Inflated/Deflated thisaway.

The Hell Yes Approach

I recently read an article called The "Hell Yes!" Approach to Better, Bolder Decision Making. Totally and completely life changing. I've always struggled with making decisions to do things I wasn't excited about, but felt I should be excited about. I'd drive myself pretty cray.

This is typically how it'd go down: someone would ask me: Hey, do you want to _____? Me in my head almost immediately: nope, sure don't wanna do that. Me out loud: Oh yeah. Sure, that could be fun. And then I'd start thinking how I should probably do it, I should say yes to all of the opportunities that come my way, blah, blah. Do you guys ever do this??

Truth is, and reading this article affirms this realization, if you have that gut feeling that you don't want to do something, then it's not the right thing for you. Period. You don't even need to know why it's not the right thing. Even when you're on the fence about something, when you have a wellll, yeah maybe feeling, don't do it. You'll know something is right for you when you feel an intuitive Hell Yes! Anything else probably isn't going to get you where you want to be in life. And ya know, I've recently learned that when you say no to things you don't really want to do, even better options and opportunities come your way.

Making decisions really comes down to two options: Hell yes or NO. So listen for those Hell Yes! moments this week and don't feel bad about saying no... you'll feel better, I promise. And if you don't I'll make you this... cuz everyone says Hell Yes! to pie.

Image found here.

The Art of Storytellin

Recently, the lovely Julia asked me: What made you passionate about studying art history and museum studies?

Guys. I actually had a really hard time answering this. I mean, sure, I could have given the cop out answer - oh I just looove eeeet, blah blah blah. Which is true, but why do I love it? I've devoted 6+ years of my life to studying and writing about art, this question deserves a well-thought-out answer.

Why did I study art? Had I really never thought about this before? The more I thought about it, the more I realized art has always been a constant in my life. I'm definitely an over-analyzer and studying art was the one thing I never questioned. I just did it... weird huh? That must mean that it'll come in handy in this life right??

After days (sadly) of contemplating this question, I finally got it. On a fundamental level, the reason I'm drawn to art is: storytelling. Artwork has an especially unique storytelling ability, one that has the capability to unite the masses and transcend time, cultural differences, and language barriers. Pretty powerful, eh? Going to any big city museum is a testament to this... tourists of alllll kinds are there, in the same place, viewing the artwork and learning its story.

Maaaybe I just never really got over loving story time from my childhood... it was my favorite part of the whole entire day, especially with my Dad's awesome storytelling voices. Art history classes were like nonstop story time for adults... I couldn't get enough insider knowledge about Rauschenberg's bed or de Kooning's women... I loved being able to read a painting. Artwork is like a peephole - or a screenshot for all my tech savvy folks - of a particular time, culture, location, person... art and art history are tools for understanding. And since I looove to think and contemplate and over-analyze, clearly this is appealing to me...

And why museum studies? After 4 years of art history in undergrad, I thought museum studies would be a "practical" move... ohh me.

image found here.

Make Me Think

What makes a great artist? Years of traditional training? Not necessarily. A nugget of arty genius only possessed by certain people? Um no.

It's a question I both love and hate. I periodically get asked this question and immediately feel the pressure to provide the "right" answer since I studied art history in school. They didn't tell me the answer... maybe I was absent that day. The truth is there really isn't a right answer and that's because it's ultimately subjective. It's subjective no matter how many years of art history training you've had, no matter how many slide identification tests you've taken, and no matter how many I'm-an-expert research papers you've written. It's simply your opinion...

So how to answer? Well in my opinion, there is one trait all great artists have: the ability to make us think. Grrrreat artists use art as an avenue to address bigger, more important issues. My homeboy Olafur Eliasson comes to mind... Yep, homeboy. I wrote my thesis on one of his projects, thus we have a special bond.

Get this, for his latest project, Little Sun, he's making solar-powered lamps with the hopes of bringing our attention to global energy and the power of solar light to improve lives. Little Sun is called "a work of art that works in life" - how cool is that?? These little artworks are actually meant to be practical and affordable sources of light for people who have unreliable or no access to electricity. When I heard these lamps will be available for purchase I about fell out of my swivel office chair, got back up, and booked a flight to London to be the first person to purchase one of these gems at the opening of his exhibit at the Tate Modern. Then I googled it and learned I can buy one online... maybe I should still go to London though?? Pretty effing cool. Definitely a lot of greatness here. Eliasson's projects often involve larger environmental issues... and I loves him for it.

But what do you think? What makes a great artist? I mean, this guy's making lamps... I see how some people might not think this is great art or art at all. Sighhh but I love them. I think it's an incredible project and Olafur Eliasson is a great artist... but that's just my opinion.

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Blog Brunch-y Thoughts

Last Saturday was Blog Brunch aka the best Saturday of the month. Discussing bloggy thangs with talented bloggers from all over the country is a pretty powerful experience - and super overwhelming. It's like being in a room with hundreds of people all talking at the same time. I have zero strategy for trying to keep up with the barrage of hashtagged tweets that stream into my tweetdeck. I basically just hang on for the ride, respond when I can, and try to favorite or retweet every bit of inspiration that comes my way. It's almost like a meditative exercise, you have to be completely in the moment... no? Not a good comparison? This month's topic was all about content. This is a tricky one for me. I feel like I'm still trying to find my niche...

Everyone talks about how important it is to define your blog brand and/or identity and then stick to writing posts that reflect that identity. Welp, artsocial has gone through many changes since it first started. Me and a friend started artsocial as a social media marketing biz for artists, something she knew a lot about. After about 6 months we both decided social media marketing wasn't the right path for either of us. She went on to pursue other passions and I was left with the realization: holy wordpress, I'm in love with blogging.

So, after months of building a brand around social media marketing I shifted the focus of artsocial to "just" an art blog. But after a while I didn't want to write solely about art, that just felt too limiting... I recently started incorporating more of myself into the blog, my experiences with art, my art crushes, the prints I buy for the house, thoughts on becoming a blogger, etc., and this honesty and transparency feels much more exciting than what I was posting when artsocial first started.

So that's the journey. After nine months of blogging, I feel like I'm just starting... which is kind of exciting, but also makes me think "what the heck have I been doing for nine months!" Finding my blog identity has been a process, one that I'm still going through. I'd love to simply fast forward to being an awesome veteran blogger with a boss website! I guess it's the journey not the destination this time... so if you're wondering why the site looks slightly different every time you visit, that's just me trying to find the perfect look for this little brand I'm building :)

AND that's the story behind my blog name, I'm sure if it hadn't started as a social media business for artists, I would've called it like Chai Tea & Gangster Rap or something...

So this month's Blog Brunch was really helpful for this stage of my blogging journey... here's some of my favorite advice from this session.

What rules you should follow...

Golden rules: 1) Only post what you love. 2) Don't post if you're not inspired. If you're inspired by what you're writing about, it shows. Never post just to post. This also goes for every other form of social media - never tweet just to tweet, or 'gram just to 'gram... everyone can tell.

From the tweetdeck:

Jamie Wyckoff @JuliasPoppies: Posting for the sake of posting is just as boring to a reader as it is to you.

Jenn Elliott Blake ‏@scoutrentals: i also listen to my gut 1st and foremost. i ask myself "why am i blogging this". if can't wait to blog it, it's a goodie.

Kristin / Krissy @_kristinb: Post topics you truly love and want to discuss. It'll shine through over fluff.

When you're feeling uninspired...

If you're feeling uninspired, UNPLUG! Walk away from the computer (and that doesn't mean just switching to the iphone). Get outside, give yourself a real break from the interweb.

This next point surprised me, but I agree: don't look to other blogs similar to your own for inspiration. Looking to other blogs can lead to the dreaded envy monster, which can be super discouraging. OR, even worse, looking at other (bigger/flashier/cooler than my own) blogs can lead to the temptation to do some content stealin'. Don't do it. There are an infinite number of ideas out there, you just have to tap into them... and that usually happens with some downtime.

From the tweetdeck:

Amy Anderson ‏@ParkerEtc: Original ideas come from original sources. Read a book, visit the park. But never search other blogs to overcome creative funks.

Juliette Gold ‏@Juliette9Gold: Usually, inspiration comes if you don't stress about it.

At the end of the day...

Blog for you. You've chosen to blog because you enjoy it, right? So be yourself and have fun. That's all we can really do.

From the tweetdeck:

Poppy Magazine ‏@poppylindsay: If I don't like what I am posting, then it shouldn't go up. Never post to please your followers, it's your blog.

Olivia Ramirez @0liviaDee: my only rule is to be myself. there's no need to be someone I'm not in my posts.

 

Were you at Blog Brunch?? What did you think? I'd love to hear from you!

 

images found here: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Slow Your Roll

I've had conversations with three different people over the past two days about the importance of downtime, me time, prying the iphones out of our hands and taking a breath away from the internet. Could this be the universe trying to tell me to slow down and unplug? Nahhh. Listen here, universe, I'll tell you when I've had enough internet. Totally kidding. I probably am too connected, it's all this wonderful blog's fault...

After talking with my friends and reading articles like this, I completely agree that it's important to disconnect periodically and check in with yourself. I love having time to just sit and think. Flying is the best for this - I'll totally have my headphones in while I'm on a plane, but honestly sometimes I'm not even listening to music. I just like to sit there quietly with my thoughts. Wow that makes me sound like a total loon. Oh unless I'm on Frontier in which case I'm watching whatever glorious programming Bravo has to offer. Anyhoo, the time I spend disengaged from all of the glorious distractions out there is really when new ideas start to take shape. There's something incredibly powerful that comes from being still and quiet...

However, as a blogger I feel pretty conflicted about this downtime situation... There's always something to post, tweet, 'gram, pin, and on and on it goes. Not that I'm complaining. I am in LOVE with all of it. But how do you stay on top of everything and fit in this downtime that's so essential to creativity? Clearly, the key is finding a balance and I have NOT found it yet. Hey bloggy friends, how do you do it?? You all amaze me :)

Wishing you moments of downtime today... even a whole hour or so!

images found here and here

Personal Best

In college and grad school I was obsessed with figuring out how to succeed, how to pass a test, how to get that A. I basically wanted the teacher to tell me what I was "supposed to know" to pass the class. I'd study what I was told and regurgitate that onto a blue book on test day. Boom. A. On to the next one. I had it down to a science. And I was kinda miserable...

Looking back on my school days, I wish I would have done things differently. I did everything their way to achieve what I thought was success. I wish I would've been brave enough to do it my way. Don't get me wrong, doing well in school is important. But I don't think it's as important as really loving the learning process. My goal was the grade and I wish I would have made my goal learning a bunch of rad stuff and enjoying the academic journey.

For example, instead of writing a paper on how great Judy Chicago's Dinner Party is - cuz I knew that's what professor so-and-so wanted - I should have been like "eff you, Dinner Party! You're embarrassing yourself and women everywhere." Even if I didn't get a good grade, I would have stood up for myself and my unusually strong opinion of the Dinner Party. And I would've written a bombass paper that I was really proud of... and that's really the point. Create things you're PROUD OF.

Focus on excellence, ignore success. (Yes I got this from Deepak Chopra and I loove eet.)

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