Friday, January 11, 2019

In the year two thousand nineteen...

Now that the year is underfoot, allow me to talk smack about it...
So we all are now a few days into the new year. I decided to hold off on looking back on the last year, until it very much WAS last year.

Am I the only one that feels like 2017 was like ten years ago? I managed to watch all kinds of YouTube videos covering news events, movies, and other things that somehow I did not think had happened this year.

I'll go over a little bit of all of that, but let me start off by saying that the older I get, the less the idea behind New Years Eve means anything to me. I woke up and still weighed the same. Still owed a king's ransom in student loans. And still love the color green. Not a lot changed.

Or did it?


Overall, this year's art show efforts were on par with the sad magnificence of the Hindenburg tragedy. Only with a lot less fire. And the only death was me dying inside just a little bit with almost every show. *cue me madly scribbling terrible goth poetry*

Now, for anyone familiar with my blog, you know I like to say I'm a gambling man. I also get a charge out of a well attended art show of any kind, especially one where I can show off what I've made and attempt to sell any of it.

I know that I need to figure out what I am doing not only creatively, but also from a more solid effort to keep in tandem with my branding, and my content creation in general. I fully accept that this year could have stood for a bit more of me taking bolder strides forward. Unfortunately, I was the one that tied myself down a lot of the time.

From Planet to Geekmas, it started with a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, and ended with a fizzle.

But there were genuine bright spots during the year, that happened to manifest in the form of being around friends and colleagues that kept my spirits up, and brought me onboard to new ideas and possible horizons. And of course NakaKon, Freestate and St. Louis Micro Con helped me keep my sanity this year.

One amazing point was getting to meet another acting icon and inspiration of mine...

The oh so legendary and man with the mad skills on the microphone, Mr. Steve Blum
I go in full detail on meeting Steve in my original NakaKon post for 2018 (check the shows tab).

But the brightest points included never underestimating the power of true friends, for when you fall, they will be that helping hand back up.

Work/Life Balance.

This was one of the most overlooked aspects for me this year.

I worked contractually through Hallmark, taught school part time, and finished up my art studio bit by bit. I started interviewing artists for a new area of this blog, tackled trying to learn Excel, designed some personalized ornaments, and started learning how to model and print in 3D.
First version of ICWXP's TopsyBot 5K character printing up in the LeapLab at Hallmark.
I also put more hours in on voice acting (many thanks to Creative Circle), got more design freelance work, and the helped complete the first indie card game I did art for, "Thief's Hoard", will be mailing out soon to people who helped Kickstart it.

I feel like I managed to do a pretty good job at getting most of it done. But, I left so little time to breathe in there, that I hit burn out more times than an insecure country boy in a '78 Ford pickup at a stop light.

I piled so much on my to do list, that I didn't allow enough time to sit back to reflect and understand, and maybe even comprehend so much of what I was doing. I can't let myself make that kind of mistake moving forward.

I made time to connect to my Hispanic roots at the Latino Arts Show, even making an entry into the local news.
Me at the Latino Arts Festival, and some artwork for Inktober inspired by @Daley_Kong
Unfortunately, this was the second attempted year at Inktober, and I did get a few works completed out of it. Some that came out really good, if I do so so myself, but I still didn't manage to cross the finish line. But I have a plan for 2019... a cunning plan.

I plan to FINISH Inktober. Brilliant, am I right?

My friend Ryan had shown me his drool worthy issues of the UK art publication Character Design Quarterly (I've also got a review of these in the works), and I have to tell you, if you are not looking into this magazine and you are working on character design, you really should be reading it.
If you heard a loud yell of joy in the distance around Christmas, it was me.
Time management and organization reared their ugly heads once again, but on a positive note, I did have two very good types tools on my side. While they didn't completely help wipe out any issues I had (that's what shock therapy is for), this was more from my non adherence to using them.

The first was a large whiteboard. I actually have two, but the most important one is this 3 month behemoth (I even got multi color refillable dry erase markers from AusPen, a great Australian based company), and have been using a combination of time management apps from time tracking to checklists and timers.
The 3 month white board, and a bulk file renaming app. As necessary as food in letting me survive the day to day grind.
I will go more into those at a later date, because that's a question I get asked by a lot of people. How to keep track of creative efforts and personal time.

Online Presence.

Little by little, life is coming back onto my YouTube channel, most recently with time lapse videos of sketch warm ups. But I've got some tentative plans to up what I do on there.

Some of you may have noticed I dropped Patreon. I had to. First, it was bugging me that I was wanting to charge people for updates and quote/unquote behind the scenes anything, when that's what I had been doing for years on my own website. I just could not find a reason, nor enough capacity to create content to support that platform. That's not saying that I may not try it again down the road, or maybe supplant it with a genuine effort to expand onto Twitch (where all the cool kids go to twitch it up). But let's be honest. I do way better interacting with people in person, even as reclusive as I can be, and if I am going to offer any sort of paid element to my work, it really should be my artwork and book sales at shows.
Twitter has everything for everyone. From crazy "facts" to being able to connect and interact in even the smallest ways with people I admire and follow.
I am not letting go of Twitter though, that has become my favorite platform right behind Blogger. I've interacted and gotten to know so many really cool people through it, and learned a lot more in ways I never thought I would have.
Say and Rick are two long time veterans of producing media in multiple platforms and if you aren't following them on social media, you need to, now!
I am consistently inspired by media creators and good friends of mine like @SayMistage, Agonywolf Media, Benny Kline of Tenacious Toys, and Phil Machi who all work hard as hell to connect, market, and create content that is actually well made, entertaining, informative, fun and growing.
Phil Machi doing a freestyle format for his show StayTooned (YouTube version), and ending 2018 on a great start.
I finally finished the studio with a custom Alice in Wonderland doorknob from PropSculptor, and I can't say no to my buddy Chris Seaman's amazing Cameo Creeps series!
A new Elvira, and yes, this door knob is fully functional.
We live in times where we all can afford to have a voice, and make better things come about, whether that be in entertainment, or in sharing the wealth of imagination and humor that we as social people crave.

That was something that really dawned on me towards the end of 2018. I often feel like I am making myself be left out of having a voice online, that I don't do enough to push forward some creative impulses that I have.

Animal Rescue.

This one is more personal, and something that I've always had some trepidation talking about on here. Not because it bugs me, but I always wondered in this day and age, if talking about the troubled and in need animals I work with, would somehow break the branding message of this blog.
From Left to Right is , Mr. Floofers and his cone of shame, Gigi, and Socks and Shoes.
But then I realized I was an idiot. Just as much as any other aspect of art, writing, learning, or traveling, helping out in animal rescue and rehabilitation is a huge a part of me and my own self identity. It's been hard since Kubo and Zero passed on, and I find it harder to part with fosters more and more, but I know there are good people out there, and that more and more animals need help. I do wish we lived in a world where this was not necessary, that bad things didn't happen to animals or people. But over the last two years, I have seen scared and hurt animals regain trust. I've seen them once again trust human touch. I've seen the glimmer of safety in their eyes, and the joy of playing with a new toy, or on grass.

And it's helped me come forward in other ways, towards the people around me, in more open ways.


I know that we live in uncertain days.

There are nights I stay up late, just to sit in the silence of the evening, or because I cannot get my mind to turn off thinking about too many things.
Before we know it, today becomes history. Just like the beloved historical Greenwood Elementary school.
I had helped out with trying to prevent the end of this school, but it was to no avail. The building is way too unsafe for any proper attempt at urban exploration, and I don't know anyone with a drone capable of getting in there.

Something that had been in the back of my head since I was a kid, was a story about finding truth in the past about what is important now, for a better future. It's a deeply personal story, and one that I've struggled to get down on paper. There is an immediacy that exists in my head, not only because for every day I waste, I know I can't get it back. And all things eventually disappear.

Which, brings me to a little bit of a sad ending note. For those of you who've not heard of Walk off the Earth, they are a Canadian music group with immense skill and creative character. Many a moment lost in my own art, has been to the rhythms lyrics of their music. Days before the new year, Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor passed away suddenly in his sleep.
Rest in Peace good sir.
I am saddened, at the youthful passing of an artist in his prime with so much more yet to have come forth. I leave you with a performance he recorded for the holiday season. As you listen, remember that none of us know how much time we have on this earth.

I hope I can fill every day with a smile, with the best I can be, and do all I can to make this world better in any small way.

Because even if things disappear, they do not have to be forgotten.

Until next time, support your local artists and businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

1 comment:

  1. What a year. Good read fella. Lots of good and bad in ‘18. Looking forward to watching what you create in ‘19.