At Flipside last year I heard some of the most amazing advice in a really long time. And the main gist was – If you want to do something, own it. If you want to be an artist, say you’re an artist and do art.
I didn’t realize how profound this statement was until it applied to my personal journey over the last year (to figure out what I wanted to do in life). It really is all about labels. When I started doing photography, I had such a hard time telling people I was a photographer. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to come off as pretentious. I didn’t want to own it. It was only after I started telling people that I was photographer that I started to take it seriously.
It is the same thing with traveling. I wanted to be a traveler so we sold everything and traveled. You do. You are. You be. The thing that I realized, the reason that we aren’t making any money on our blog, and the reason I’m not becoming a career blogger is because I’m an artist. I don’t want to sell you things. I don’t like gimmicks. I just want to create and be. I’m an artist. I do art. I am art. I spend all my time surrounding myself with inspiring people for that reason.
Starting in November we decided to go to a winter regional Burning Man event nearish Austin called Freezerburn. One of the things that we noticed about Flipside last year was the distinct lack of art when compared to the Big Burn in the Black Rock Desert. Instead of bitching about it, Shaun and I decided to take action (well, after bitching about it).
While I was falling asleep one night – on that cusp of consciousness when all those amazing ideas come flying through your brain and you either become too lazy to write them or jump out of bed in a panic and find the nearest bit of pen and paper – I came up with the electric jellyfish concept. It has been quite an interesting journey to see its fruition. Sure we were a little ambitious at first (we wanted to get it to swim like a jellyfish by pulling a cord but then realized how freaking hard that would be), but we got it done.
It has been one of the most inspiring and fulfilling things I’ve done in 10 years (minus the whole, you know, selling everything to travel thing). I get teary thinking about what we have accomplished.
We spent our hard earned money and a crapload of time working on the jellyfish, Kingsley. We were a little scared how people would react to it due to the fact that this is the first art piece we have ever created together and of this magnitude. Shaun and I only had experience with art on paper – between drawing, writing, and painting. This was a new experience creating something in the 3D world.
We rocked it.
During Freezerburn we exhibited this, our first art installation. The feedback and response was something that I will hold so dear for the rest of my life. People loved it – and we inspired people to create! They were talking about what they wanted to create for future burns! We gave to the community. What just started out as an art piece turned into an inspirational piece.
Over the course of the weekend we saw little kids twirling and spinning around in circles under Kingsley. We saw it turn into a go-go dancing cage. It turned into a place for a picnic, a place for a drinking game, and a place to make out. It turned into the art heart of our camp.
I am so proud and excited to show you guys what we created. Luckily a few fellow burners were nice enough to share their pictures and videos with me so that you, too, can experience Kingsley (in all his glory!).
I hope that I can pass on inspiration to create and do what you need to do to be happy.
What advice do you have for people to pursue what they would like to do?