Big News!

Jeff and I have been sitting on some really exciting news these past few months, and I felt it was finally time to let the cat out of the bag. We’ll be trekking to Portland this September to take part in the Artist Alley at Rose City Comic Con! Jeff will mostly be selling his artwork (he’s an amazing illustrator), but we’ve paired up to collaborate on a few projects, and I’m really excited to share this experience.

Illustration is not my strong point (unless you’re a fan of stick figures and frumpy-shaped cats – then I’m a modern Picasso), so I’ll be contributing some of my finer skills to help Jeff out. We've worked together to conceptualize some impressive projects, which has led to me becoming Jeff's personal project manager for the time being (he really needs me). I've also offered to take some of his illustrations to the next level by screen printing them!

It's been almost a year since I've stepped foot in the studio to screen print (I'm really embarrassed by that). I've always loved the graphic look of screen prints, so I took a class last year at Pratt Fine Arts Center. I'm now a member and have access to studio space, but because I've been dipping my hands into other creative adventures, I accidentally let screen printing slide off my radar... Partnering up with Jeff on his comic con projects was a great excuse to get my butt back into the studio. And oh boy, was I rusty! I can’t count on one hand the number of times we failed during our screen prepping stages (damn photo emulsion), or during the registration phase (transparency, you bitch). But I’m really glad I didn’t give up - we pushed on to make some prints we are really proud of, and I learned a hell of a lot on what to NOT do when printing.

I don’t want to post detailed photos of our final prints, because we want them to be somewhat of a surprise for comic con in September. But you can probably tell that they are prints of some popular female comic characters! Jeff illustrated some of my favorite ladies – Bat Girl, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy, and his favorite – Miss Marvel. We plan on printing more comic book ladies, probably some of the awesome X-Men women.

I’ll be posting more on our comic con projects as they progress. If you are in Portland between September 10-12th, please stop by our booth and say hi! And if you can’t make it to the convention but are interested in buying some prints, we’ll have some extras up online.

All photos taken by Jeff and edited by me.

To share my love for animals

 

"If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls."
– Jane Goodall

 

Animals. They never cease to amaze me and will always bring a smile to my face. The things I cherish the most on Earth are the beasts that inhabit it.  I love animals and I want to protect them for future generations. This planet would not be ‘home’ if it were missing such valuable creatures.

My love for animals has always been with me. When I was a child, I idolized Steve Irwin, secretly wishing he was my dad. I looked up to my uncle, who at the time was a Paleontologist. I had dreams of becoming a Marine Biologist, working with whales and dolphins. Somewhere along the way those dreams got squashed (probably because I was no good at math or science). I didn’t invest in those dreams, and that is something I deeply regret…

Harbor Seal - Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

"The least I can do is speak out for those
who cannot speak for themselves."

– Jane Goodall

 

Do you ever feel like you aren’t living the life you were meant to live? Lately, it’s become apparent that something is ‘off’. Everyday I feel like I should be doing more to give back to nature and the creatures that live in it. Everyday I feel restless.

The welfare of animals and the conservation of our planet have always been at the back of my mind. Recently, they have found a secure spot at the very front. It’s taken me a long time to realize that if I don’t become more involved in animal welfare and environmental conservation, I may never feel truly content or happy. I see this realization as a turning point in my life. I’m giving serious thought to a career shift, but until that path is clear and I’m able to walk it, I have to find ways to get involved and start doing something.

Jaguar - Woodland Park Zoo

"If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched.
Humans want to save things that they love."

– Steve Irwin

 

Even though I have mixed feelings about animal captivity, I’ve decided to become a volunteer at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Because zoos (and similar institutions) are a heated topic for animal rights activists, this has been a tough decision for me. While I am still on the fence about animal captivity, volunteering at the zoo will allow me to see the inner workings of these institutions, and I’ll form a more solid stance on the issue. I am fully behind the mission of Woodland Park Zoo, which is to, “Save animals and their habitats through conservation leadership and engaging experiences, inspiring people to learn, care and act.” That is the main reason I finally decided to volunteer, because I want to learn more about their conservation efforts.

One awesome thing about volunteering at the zoo is that I’ll have lots of opportunities to take pictures. Photographing animals has become a bit of an obsession for me, and I'm looking forward to growing my collection below.

Sending peace and love to animals everywhere, and to all the people that protect them.

Home

Once in a while I get the urge to return home to the small town in Iowa where I grew up. It used to be easier to satisfy this urge when I lived I Minnesota. It took only a 4-hour drive down the highway to get there. Now that I live in Washington, a 25-hour drive (or a 3-hour plane ride), I’m only able to go back a few times a year, if I’m lucky.

I got the urge last month as my 29th birthday neared, and hastily booked a flight home. I missed the Midwest snow, missed my mom’s house with my old bedroom and all of my discarded belongings. I missed my cat Chitty, who was my pal through high school. I missed the simplicity of a small town, where it takes 5 minutes to go anywhere and there is always plenty of parking. I missed familiar sights like the A&W drive-in, Swan Lake, and my Grandma’s house with a backyard that overlooks a golf course.

Visiting home got me thinking about what exactly ‘home’ is. I’ve always referred to Iowa as my home, even though I haven’t lived there in over a decade. When I say home, I mean my childhood home. You can always visit home, but will it always feel like home? Will it be just the way you left it when you moved 11 years ago? The main reason I felt such an urge to return was because I wanted to spend time in my old room relaxing. I wanted to feel the way I did when I was younger, when I had no real responsibilities. I guess I wanted to escape reality and go back to simpler times, just for the weekend.

My childhood home hasn’t changed much all these years, except for strange new faces and the Taco Bell that moved in last year. What has changed after all this time is me, and because of that, home will never be the same as when I was growing up. Even though I was back in my old room, digging through my old belongings, I didn’t quite feel the same way I did when I actually lived there.

It’s interesting to look back at where you came from, why you left, and how you got to the place you now call ‘home’. I noticed a pattern when I thought about all the places I have lived. You move from one place to another when you stop growing. Some people can accomplish a lifetime of growing in just one or two places, but not for me. I left Carroll after 7 years when I moved on to better things in a big city. I said good-bye to Minneapolis after 9 years when I decided my life was stagnant and I had finished all the growing I could there. I’ve grown a lot since moving to Seattle almost two years ago, but who knows how long it will be my home.

Images taken at Swan Lake State Park.

I guess what all my rambling is getting at, is that you can never really go back home, not fully, because you change as a person. You move on, and you cannot go back to the way things were. Your childhood home no longer holds the same meanings for you, no longer feels the way it used to. You can visit home and try to runaway from reality (from your job, your bills, your stressors), but you won’t be able to completely return home. And I guess that is ok, because sometimes you are meant to move on. People change, the meaning of ‘home’ changes. But at least you have those memories, and you are the person you are today thanks to those memories.

Here's to a productive 2016

It's a new year, and for most people, that means setting new goals. I make a list every year, and even though I don't always reach them, I still think it's important to list your goals as a way of organizing your priorities. I have personal, health, and financial goals. Like a lot of people, my list includes losing all the weight I put on last year, and paying off credit card debt. But I'll spare you those details.

More importantly, I want to focus on two things in 2016: traveling and creating (more). Traveling is extremely important to me, but because of big changes over the last few years (graduating, moving across country, getting a full time job, ect), I haven't had time or money to do it as much as I'd like. I wrote about re-connecting with my creativity recently, and want to make sure I continue focusing on that this year, too.

This year I am spending my vacation time responsibly, and planning a trip out of the continent for the first time in 3 years. I'm not for sure where I'll go yet. It's a hard decision, because I only have so much vacation time! I really want to return to Europe for a more 'tourist' vacation, or return to Japan (I loved visiting in 2010). But part of me wants to shake things up and go somewhere completely new. A trip centered around wildlife and the outdoors would be amazing. I might look into volunteering with some conservation nonprofits overseas.

Aside from traveling overseas, I want to travel around the Pacific Northwest more this year. I live in a beautiful state and there are so many places to explore. I want to hike more, take pictures of landscape, try car camping, rent one of those fancy tree houses in the middle of a forest, explore the Olympic peninsula, hike around one of the many mountains. I just want to spend more time outside.

I started to re-connect with my creative side towards the end of 2015. This year I will continue working on that. I'm still battling my perfectionism, and have to admit that it's still getting in the way at times. I have to remind myself that done is better than perfect (or better than nothing). To continue exploring my creative side, I'm lining up some fun classes at the School of Visual Concept and Pratt Fine Arts Center. I'm also going to push myself to actually use my Skillshare account (three months in, and all I've done is save over 100 classes to watch later). Jeff has been toying around with the idea of selling art at one of the comic conventions in the PNW. If he lines something up, I'd love to partner up and maybe screenprint some of his illustrations. I could use the practice...

What important goals will you work on this year? For anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest, if you comment below with some places that you like hiking or taking pictures at, I'd really appreciate it!

Have yourself a merry little...

I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Holiday Season! December was a very busy month. Jeff and I almost moved into a bigger space (but pulled the plug last minute), work was hectic (retail + holiday season = lots of long hours and headaches), and I took a three week letterpress class at Pratt Fine Arts Center.

The class was a lot of fun, and was my first official time experimenting with letterpress machines. As a small group we designed and printed two different Christmas cards, which I wanted to share with you (better late than never?).

diecuttrees

I managed to sneak a few pictures of the process and have compiled them into a slideshow below with brief explanations.

Jeff and I also did a quick family portrait session in our living room so that we'd have photos to send in our cards. The cats were not having it...

Happy New Year!