Bridging the “Gap”

Checking my “On This Day” on my personal Facebook account has become somewhat of a habit. And by that I mean, when I’m laying in bed, unable to sleep, I look at the clock, see it is after midnight, and think, “oh, at least, I can check my ‘On This Day’ now.” I regularly have difficulty falling asleep, hence the use of the word “habit.”

This past Friday, I was a bit behind in checking it. However, I did make time in my day to post a new business card I designed. It is a joke card I designed about my dog, who I have decided needs to stop whining in my ear, getting hair on my carpet, demanding food, and instead get out there and make a bigger contribution to society. There is also a resume I created for him, which you can see here. After I posted this image of the business card, which includes a portrait of the pooch, Facebook reminded me to check my “On This Day.” As it turns out, five years ago, I also posted a portrait of Renegade. It was created much in the same way the one on his business card was — I drew out a quick sketch, transferred the hand drawing to my computer, then outlined it and colored it using a couple of Adobe’s programs. The process being the same, the end result is certainly not:

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What adds to this coincidence is that on a different year from either of these dog portraits, I ALSO posted  on this day, the embedded video below. It is two minutes of audio of Ira Glass speaking about what he calls, “the gap.” (It also has some beautifully animated typography by David Shiyang Liu)

For a very long time, and sometimes still, I get an idea in my head, get very (quietly) excited about it like a dork, research if I need to, sketch it out, possibly sketch it out a second time, transfer it over to whatever media I will be creating a finish in, complete it, and along the way have arguments and make compromises with myself over how this is not looking the way I intended it to. As a result of this, many of my canvases have multiple paintings within the layers of paint as I try to get it right. Even if you go through my files of digital work, most of those pieces have more than one version of a finish.

This happenstance, of both these portraits being shown to me at the same time, along with this video, is an inspiring and much-needed reminder of how far I’ve come. Not necessarily in a monetary way, or worldwide renowned way, or even being settled into life way, but a deeply personal, building-myself-into-the-artist-I-want-to-be way. I do not feel like I have yet to completely bridge the gap Glass describes, but I think my bridge is coming along very nicely.

For anyone who is undergoing any type of creative endeavor, or even just trying to get through life and developing their ideas of who they are as a person, this video applies to you.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

A wish of peace and warm toes this holiday season.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I am really not quite sure how it has become that time of year again, but oh boy has the tail of the end of the year come up fast.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 12.24.24 PMMany, many changes this year for me, with even more coming as we enter the new year — however, one tradition is staying the same:

The SamSketches 4th Annual Holiday card is finished and on order.

And as the tradition holds, this limited edition card print (signed and numbered) is free to anyone who trusts me with their address, allowing me to mail it to them. It is a token of my sincerest thanks to followers and patrons for supporting me once again throughout the year.

I am delighted to have been able to already have added new addresses my constantly growing card list. But, not to worry there are still a few slots left!

To any interested, you may email me, info@samsketches.com, with your request for one. Or, reach me via any other form of communication at your disposal.

SamSketches: A 2016 Calendar

For the third year running, there will be a SamSketches calendar.

It is my hope for this third year that it will be gracing even more homes than its predecessors. The pieces selected, for the most part (not going to lie and say every single one), were done so with a special meaning behind each month assignment.

For instance:

  • July includes an illustration of Gader because it his birth month — his birthday will also be noted on each calendar as well, you’re welcome.
  • August’s image and words refer to music, a reference selected for the birth month of the man responsible for my eclectic taste in and knowledge of music.
  • October’s words come from the artist I share a birthday with in that month — Picasso.

And the rest — have fun trying to figure out and guess … or don’t and just enjoy the imagery. :)

I am currently awaiting my draft copy of the calendar to make sure it all comes out exactly as I would like it to. After I have held it and am okay with it, it will formally go on sale — $15 (w/ free shipping to your home).

For now, I am keeping a list of those interested in securing a copy from my first shipment of calendars, which has been impressively growing each day. (thanks!)

If you have not yet contacted me about making a calendar yours please do so to be part of the first shipment to go out!  — simply email, text, FB comment/message, tweet, stop me in person

calendarspreadAD

UGLY. #BLEAH

In the midst of my ongoing search to find places to feature my work, I came across an awesome opportunity from a current member of the Artspace @ Patchogue. If you are not familiar with it, Artspace, is an organization that sets up buildings and provides affordable living and work spaces for artists. They have made it possible for many artists to form and take part in a community of their peers at 35 different locations across the country.

One of their members, Rich Belsky, is graciously using his association with the space to showcase a variety of Long Island artists’ work for the UGLY show. The purpose of the show in his words is, “to explore ‘UGLY’ as a dynamic force, integral to any creative process, and the role it has played from the past to the present as well as it may play in the future. Artwork for ‘UGLY’, as it relates to either the individual or to society, in part or in whole.”

Beginning on August 1st, my piece #BLEAH,  pictured below, will be hanging alongside many other artists’ work from around the area. The show will run for two weeks, ending on the 15th.

the UGLY Reception will be held:

Saturday, August 1st from 5 – 8 pm

20 Terry Street Patchogue, New York

Gallery Hours – Thursdays & Fridays 5:30-8:30pm Saturdays & Sundays 1-4pm

 #bleah

My Life in Paper and Piles

I somehow always find myself in a situation of coming and going. I have for a long while. My room and workspace is in a constant state of disarray, with the somewhat hopeful thought it will be alright: this constant back and forth is only temporary. The result of this is my life is made up of all of these piles. Piles of due dates, piles of laundry, piles of receipts, piles of jewelry (I’m not so good at maintaining organization with these little pieces at all – does not at all mean I don’t want more) piles of unwatched dvr television episodes and not nearly the last of the piles, but most notably — piles of paper.FullSizeRenderIf you know me at all, these piles make me incredibly cranky. For this reason, I am very glad to have recently had the time to organize some of these many piles. (Few things make me happier than organization)

My pile of paper. Recently, I felt I had been drawing much less and stalling out. Then I came across this. This mountain that when everything is put together contains 19 sketchbooks of varying sizes and about 1000 sheets (I didn’t actually count the sheets I’m making an educated guestimate based off of the reams I’ve gone thru) of paper. Admittedly, not all of them contain the greatest of pencil scratches or the most dutifully steady ink lines. But they all have something.

I didn’t spend time scrutinizing every piece, I don’t ever have that much free time, but I did take a moment to breeze through some of them. Doing so allowed me to see that this enemy pile I’ve been glancing at with a scowl for the last few weeks, is my life.  Yep, that’s right. My life laid out in paper: filled with memories, accomplishments, a random bill or receipt here or there, time, beauty, and sometimes terrible moments I would rather crumple up and throw out, but I don’t.  A lot of what I am is in that pile and I’ve been letting it sit there, neglected and mostly hated.

Now, not all the piles in my life are of such importance, but they probably do deserve a bit more positive attention than I have been giving them. This is going to be part of the plan going into 2015 — more attention to and maintenance of me and my piles.

SamSketches: A 2015 Calendar

Now Available

It was last year around this time, that I came up with a Christmas gift idea for my older sister, Sylvia.  After a fun filled evening (as usual) with her in which we joked about how horrible she is with remembering dates, I decided to create for her a personalized calendar to supply her with many of the important dates she would need to remember.  I also filled each month with my art, which she has always been a supporter (and perhaps slightly bias fan) of.

It wasn’t until I started showing a few people the gift, that I realized there were others who would appreciate the opportunity to have a calendar as well.  I had a few more printed and debuted the 2014 calendar at some of the fairs and festivals I was glad to be a part of earlier this year.

I was not prepared for it to be one of the items I sold out of so quickly.

This time I decided I would be better prepared :)

And I am happy to say that 2014 has continued to be a year full of surprises, as the 2015 calendar is not yet off the presses and my preorders have already piled up.

I look forward to the first shipment arriving and sending off these little beauties to their new homes!

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With all that said anyone interested in a calendar it is available in my store, you may click the appropriate above link or visit here — also feel free to email me info@samsketches.com, text me if you have the number, Facebook me, or stop me in person when you see me.

Tis the season to be jolly

Tis the season to be jolly

Fa la la la la.  la la.  la.  la.  

(I sang it in my head a few times, the la’s should be accurate)

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For the past few years, I have sent a SamSketches holiday card to family and friends.  I started this because I remember watching for the mail when I was younger around this time of year to see what cards the mailman would bring to my home and the excitement I felt.  After my mother opened an envelope of sometimes red, sometimes green, sometimes extra large, and I got to see them, (my favorites were the ones with glitter) they would then be hung around our living room.  Above them would be a string of lights, that made each piece of rectangular art glow.  As I’ve grown older, and consequently had much of my holiday spirit beaten out of me as a result of working retail for 10+ holiday seasons, I find that I miss the excitement of this time of year.  It was with the hope of bringing to people I cared about this small bit of joy — going to the mailbox: bill, bill, bill, political mail article, credit card ad, bill, oh what’s this?! — that I first began my holiday card.

Three holiday seasons ago, 2012 marking the beginning, I ordered a mere 20 cards to send out to people.  If I check my closet today, I could probably find some left over, because I did not have many people to send them to.  I am glad to say that this year I have had to order 100 holiday cards.  Not only that, but they will be going all over the country, and some to lands beyond.  And not just to family, but to the people who have been following my progress, shared kind words of encouragement, and/or showed up to the events I have had the privilege of showcasing my work at throughout this year.

Over the entirety of 2014, I have been overwhelmed in the best way possible by the support so many have given me.  It is the least I can do in return to give those with interest in it, a holiday card: covered in my art, filled with my words, signed with my name, sealed with warm thoughts of gratitude, and sent on its journey to their mailbox with a smile.  From my heart to yours, happy holidays.

P.S. If you’re a person who falls into any of the categories of what I described above and you don’t think I have your address, you should supply me with it. I would love to send you a card, it’s just I also don’t love to come off as a stalker. I mean, I will if I have to, but I would prefer not to.