Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 in a Nutshell

So.... where to begin with 2016?!?  I feel compelled to just focus on how 2016 was the worst year yet (everyone seems to be on board with that), but I'm going to try my hardest to acknowledge all the good art things for one second.... Okay here we go:

Art I Saw

2016 was filled with lots of inspiring art.  I read some awesome art books: Katie Scott's Botanicum, Animalium, and Story of Life: Evolution, and Juxtapoz magazine's "Wild".  I visited my fave museum again, the Dali Museum in St. Pete (with a temp exhibit of Frida Kahlo<3). I discovered too many great shops on Etsy and Instagram.  And I saw some lovely murals, including a local mural by one of my talented friends (check out the progress on her Instagram!)

Heathen by Ryan McLennan

My Art

As for my art, I'm very proud to say that I accomplished a lot on my "Goals for 2016"!  I made a profesh portfolio, I had a bunch of freelance work, including my second year coordinating/judging/drawing in the "Let's Chalk About It: A Healthier Lagoon" chalk art contest, a t-shirt design for the Vero Beach Marine Lab's last summer camp<3, some animal portraits, and some wedding artwork for two of my dearest friends.  I also did the thing I thought would never happen, I opened my Etsy shop!!!  

On the side I also made some marine-life art (which will hopefully be turned into art show pieces and patterns/patches for my shop in 2017), some designs for tatts that I will get eventually (sorry, Mom), and of course, more receipt doodles (1, 2).

But finally, my most fulfilling project of 2016 is the Audubon House Mural.  It has been my ultimate dream to create a mural encompassing the wildlife of Florida (as you can see from my slightly crazy post about my idols at InkDwell), and in April, the stars aligned when I was introduced to the Pelican Island Audubon Society.  After six months of researching habitats with experts in plants, birds, and even mosquitoes, I designed a 48x11' mural that portrays three habitats that exist within the Oslo Riverfront Preserve - an important area for conservation in Indian River County.  So far, with the help of many volunteers, I have painted the base colors for the background, but by April of next year there should be 76 species of animals and plants gracing the wall of their breezeway!

Now heading into 2017, there are a few things I hope to accomplish in the new year:

  1. Finish the Audubon House Mural
  2. Show my work at a farmer's market or art festival
  3. Start a collaborative zine with a writer
  4. Create new products for my Etsy shop
  5. Snag an art gig outside of Florida...
  6. Sketch every-day things
  7. And, as always, RELAX

Tricolored heron chalk art design for "Let's Chalk About It: A Healthier Lagoon"
Brown pelican chalk art design for "Let's Chalk About It: A Healthier Lagoon"
some commission work from 2016
custom wedding invitation for my bffs!!!
some of my Etsy shop charms
All of the custom pet charms/portraits I've made this year!!  Love doing these <3
random marine art
future tatt designsss
receipt doodles of 2016
Audubon House Mural preliminary sketches
the mural right now!

Future Art

I wanted to end this post on a bit of a serious note, because something about this year has left me emotionally drained beyond recognition.  Not just because of the political, social, and environmental shit storm that seemed to grow and grow until it left us with a big ol' Dump we will have to deal with in 2017 - I felt like something much deeper and psychological was taking hold this year.  And now with the sudden death of Carrier Fisher, who was notably outspoken about her mental illness, I think it's time to open up, people.

You would think by 2016, our society would have a firm grasp on how to handle mental health issues, but the trend still remains to just deny and move forward.  Like many people, I've dealt with severe anxiety and depression throughout my life, and I was in that state of denial for a very long time.  But after many missed opportunities, wasted days, broken relationships, and months spent unemployed because of it, I finally decided to get help last year.  Looking back, I wish I had just said "screw you!" to the stigma on mental health and done something sooner.  Even now I feel weird talking about it, like it's something I should keep to myself.  But hey, "Screw you, stigma!"  Maybe this insignificant blog post will hit someone at the right time and make them realize that our brain needs to be taken care of just as much as our body does.  To anyone feeling stuck in their head, take a second to stop what you're doing, and grant yourself permission to be happy.  You are not alone, it is not wrong to feel the way you do, and don't ever be afraid to ask for help.  The sooner you do, the better the rest of your life will be.  Do it for Carrie!

With ALL of that being said, I think 2017 will be a year of much more soul searchin' in my artwork, so stay tuned.........

Past year's "In a Nutshell" Posts

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