Step 1: Say You’re an Artist – Kingsley the Jellyfish Afterthoughts

Say You're An Artist

Our 9ft Kingsley the Jellyfish art installment at Freezerburn. A huge thanks to Brant Moore for taking this badass picture.

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).

Say You're An Artist

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?

32 Responses to “Step 1: Say You’re an Artist – Kingsley the Jellyfish Afterthoughts”

  1. Kelly P January 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    This just makes me smile…you guys are so freaking awesome!!!

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

      Thank you lady. We’re trying to pave our little way in this world.

    • Carl Joe Wright February 3, 2014 at 4:02 am #

      It also made me smile Kelly P… Its an awesome description. I like it.

  2. Maria January 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    SOOOO Pretty! You two have more talent in one pinky than most people have in their entire bodies.

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      OOF that is a tall order m’lady. I think people have talent – they are just suppressing it because they don’t think they have the time or that it is stupid to waste their time on it.

  3. gabi (the nomadic family) January 28, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    omg i love it! love it! love it! you bring a whole new light to the joys of jellyfish.

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      HA! Thanks. I’m already obsessed with the sea so it was a natural thing to make! (No pun intended.)

  4. Lauren Bassart January 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Do what you love! :) I love that you are chasing your dreams. I find it easy to support anyone that is doing exactly what fills them with joy. Love you guys!

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      We had to shift our gears a little bit but I think we’re slowly figuring out where we need to be. <3

  5. Maria January 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Just like you said! #JFDI

  6. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures January 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    I looooove it!

  7. Ashley @ Kick Ash Mom.com January 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    This is so awesome! I an a huge huge art lover and am starting to incorporate that more into my blog. Decide what to be and go be it! :) Avett Brothers.

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      I’m glad to hear it Ashley! I think that it needs some more representation in the blogging world – especially with how much it varies.

  8. Kristina January 31, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    I love that y’all made it,instead of just talking about making it.I love that you let me come over and help.And I love the final product.It is such a cool interactive piece.

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      Kris – it meant the world that you took time out of your life to help us brainstorm and create. You will always be part of Kingsley. Thank you!

  9. Camels & Chocolate February 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    I love how artistic you guys are! So inspiring!

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Thank you Kristin! It is something we’re trying to explore more. I feel bad I put it on the backburner for so long. It feels so good to have it around.

  10. Abby February 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Um, this is the story of my life and the exact thing I’ve been working on this year.

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      I’m right there with you lady. It is my daily mantra.

  11. Alex February 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    I desperately miss creating… it is one of the things I find most difficult about traveling. Yes, I write and take photos, but I miss making things WITH MY HANDS! I can’t believe I’m nostalgic for all-nighters in the printmaking studio.

    This post really inspired me. I just started a summer to-do list, and at the top was “make a piece of art.” I’d also love to do a regional burn as I’m definitely not making it to the big one again this year.

    • Erica February 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      AWESOME! I can’t wait to see what you will create. While we are ramping up to return to the playa this year, we’ve been inspired year-round by going to our regional burns. It is such a supportive community. <3

  12. Beverley February 2, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Oh, you guys! This is amazing! You make something beautiful that people interacted with in their own different ways and it must’ve felt SO awesome to see that happening. I actually kinda feel a bit teary reading this post!!!

    I’m totally taking on board what you said at the beginning of your post though. The other night I went to a networking event and actually plucked up the courage to tell someone I met that I was a writer – turns out he actually wants to include me on a podcast and have me write his web copy so it definitely worked, even if I only owned it for a second, I still owned it.

    Thanks so much guys xx

    • Erica February 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      Thank you Beverley. You are making me blush a bit. >.<

      GET IT GURRRRRRL! Is all I have to say. See how things change a bit when you can say something with power? Awesome to hear it worked for you. <3

  13. Diana Edelman February 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    I LOVE this post. I love that you are embracing what it is you love and defining yourself as that. And, I love the jelly!

    • Erica February 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Thanks lady. I’ve been doing some soul searching with how I want to design my life. It made the most sense!

  14. Giselle and Cody February 3, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    That’s so great guys! Love the jelly fish. We were talking about the same thing recently. We are here to inspire and open peoples eyes, and do it in creative ways, not to sell something. We do things on our own terms, and some people will like it, some people won’t. As long as you’re happy with what you are doing. Keep up the art work and the travel!

    • Erica February 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      THANK YOU! I’m glad to have someone else on my poor artist boat. I love the things you create guys and I love to see you succeeding. I need you to pass the good juju my way. :P

  15. Laura February 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    This is great. Good for you in pursuing the thing that makes you happy. We’ve been on a similar journey to figure out what the next step is in life. Been on one path for 10+ years and now ready for something new — just trying to figure out what it is.

    • Erica February 9, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      Good luck! I’ll send some good thoughts your way. I know how hard it can be.

  16. karl February 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Very Cool! Coming from someone with little artistic talent I give it four stars, or is it ten? Idk, but I like it!

    • Erica February 9, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

      Thank you Karl! I just like that I have the Karl seal of approval.

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