Pure Design –
At one time, design purely for the sake of design was more common than it is today. It is an exploration of form, color, contrast, depth, emotion, line, shape, interpretation and expansion as a sense of pure discovery rather than intent.
It is one thing to explore within a style framework using similar ideas interpreted in various ways. That is one path of discovery. It is another, to design within differing styles using the same concept, subject matter or idea that is then interpolated into those styles.
(Examples – )
Pure design for exploration and discovery is to play and has no precise structures for that exploration. It is trying different things with one another and against one another to see how they work and revel in what is produced by it. Then it is to take those tangent lines and see how they can twist to combine into new forms, new things, new designs.
Design done in this way changes colors, forms, juxtapositions, contrasts, elements, binary combinations and tertiary combined forms to heighten or eliminate effects within the design. I can use it to create new styles, new forms of art entirely, new artworks and new designs. It is also something that creates the often happy, strange “accidents” as part of its creative, resourceful and inventive yield offering some of the most amazing new things. That is my work and why it is as it is.
When I think of writing a story to describe my business and my work – and why it is as it is – I’m first reminded of what it is not. Since I would want the definition to include what people may look for and not find in my work, that seems a fair and reasonable place to start. It is not comic book – though some characters I’ve created might cause someone to think they would work good there. It is also not a nifty font rich word logo as many sporting event and concert type tshirts, souvenirs and takehomes tend to be. They aren’t that and I would want the story about my work and my business to let people know those kinds of styles would be better found somewhere else.
And, yet that is such a negative approach to writing anything about why I do what I do. That is probably the more basic thing I need to share. I believe in creating. Maybe it is that simple.
Several years ago, my sons decided that I was too poor to be doing Christmas. Okay – but why did that mean all the efforts I had been making weren’t to be simply made by them? Hmmm? That’s what happened.
Instead of inviting, coordinating, buying some special small gift or two for each (and making one each for everyone), buying the foods and making the nice Christmas eve dinner and Christmas day meal, playing and singing Christmas songs and music – instead – of doing it the way I was doing it without any real money to use for it – what ever the hell are they doing? None of it.
And, I’m left out. I guess since I’m no longer willing to clean my parents’ house for three or four days ahead of time, cook all the food and do all the clean up – it isn’t worth them having me a part of it. What a shame.
But the greater shame is this – not only have I been excluded from participating because in their estimation – I’m poor and poor people have no right to be doing Christmas anyway, unfortunately with all their money and brilliance – they aren’t doing it either. They haven’t cleaned a thing, don’t like playing Christmas music, don’t want to go with Daddy to church to hear the Christmas special singings and events and have no use for giving each person any present at all. In fact, they don’t believe it is even worth the effort to get a Christmas tree up and put lights and decorations on it. They liked it fine when I was doing all of it – with help, but mainly being the one doing it and coordinating it and doing nearly all of the work involved in the production of it. They didn’t mind when I was the one buying the food, making the food and cleaning up afterward. And, they didn’t mind when I was the one buying and making each person several presents, providing candy for everyone and putting thought into each gift, food, candy, cookie, pie and present in their stockings.
This went on till well beyond their adulthoods – but for some reason, after deciding that I had no business doing Christmas since I was the poorest of everyone in the family, they didn’t make Christmas for me, nor for each other nor for their grandparents either. They just didn’t do any of it, showed up to eat occasionally around the holidays and then complained that I gave them a gift anyway when I wasn’t supposed to – but they didn’t feel compelled to do any of the rest of it nor to give anything to me either.
Oh well. They are probably using their money to get themselves something expensive that they can use to show off to everyone from Daddy to me to their siblings and friends that they can afford and no one else can. That seems to be the way of it – whether it is software that costs a fortune but they rarely use, or cameras that costs thousands for nothing ever becoming a poster or anything else out of it, or the largest, thinnest, newest and most expensive ipads, iphones, apps, video gaming systems, gizmos, gadgets and now, cars. It would be funny if it weren’t so completely pathetic.
APPARENTLY, ours isn’t the only family watching this promenade of stupidity, selfishness, self-centeredness, lack of understanding about the concepts of Christmas and holidays in general, as well as misunderstandings about the purpose of “things” and “status” and flaunting those at others. It is a shame.
Merry Christmas, America. Merry Christmas.
Oh, and by the way – I’ve already hosted “cookie day” at my little apartment for two of my daughters and two of my grandchildren. I have put up some decorations for my little space to look pretty. No, I can’t afford a Christmas tree this year and don’t have any money to go see my Daddy for the first Christmas since Mom died in September. For the first time, I might very well go to Christmas Mass and just not worry about it. I really had loved Christmas, but it wasn’t fair for them to have me doing all of it – all the cleaning, all the buying, fixing, decorating, making, doing, clean up afterwards, putting away the decorations, and psychologically hosting the entire thing while they complained. It wasn’t fair. I would have never expected that when I was told poor people have to right to be doing Christmas, that none of them would pick up the ball and do it since they could obviously afford it and knew how to organize it and accomplish it.
I hate them sometimes. Maybe being alone this Christmas and excluded by my family and children is a blessing. Why should I be around people who can’t act any better than that and don’t care about me unless I’m doing all the work for them to enjoy some traditional experience of family and Christmas? Why be with people that think I’m the maid obviously and look down on me? I’d love to say “screw them”, but it still hurts my feelings. There are 7 Billion people in the world and yet these few in my family matter to me. I need to let them go – I can’t afford to be around people that are that stupid, insolent, ignorant, obnoxious, disrespectful of others and selfish. That is enough. I deserve much better than that.
“My business CricketDiane has 70,000+ products in online platform – how do any of these resources help me?” Placed on twitter to Commerce Department, US Treasury Department, Open4Biz Programs Coordinator Discussion Today. Without answer because the end of the discussion had proceeded while I was here forming my question – but the answer is – They don’t.
None of those resources help me nor are they intended to do so. Whether it is this program or that one, where it comes to business making resources in America – they aren’t made for me to use, nor for anyone like me. It has to do with poverty, and ineptitude, and not owning a house with its collateral to use for loans, and the poor credit score that comes with poverty despite paying my bills. It comes from being in a different business than chopping firewood or opening a car wash or being 27 years old rather than the 55 year old woman I am.
So, What Makes Me So Special That Anyone Would Want Anything I Designed, Created, etc., etc., etc., ?? –
That is the answer to the question in America or anywhere else for that matter. It is not enough that the products are made in America – in many places that isn’t even an asset. It is not enough that four people around me know of my years and years of work, sacrificing time and the percentage of my limited resources to invest in creating these things (or they wouldn’t exist to put on this store now.)
It has to be an answer that tells the world why to even consider wanting what my viewpoint and knowledge, my thoughts and experiences have created with that information. It needs an answer that “separates me from the pack” according to business and marketing books. Yeah, right. I’m special – that is a fact. I’m the only one of me that I have. (and that the world has.)
But, that is not enough. There are millions of artists, creators, creatives, inventors, innovators, solution-makers, writers and musicians with the products and styles they have created. There are even more products, styles, designs and materials that have already been given market space from which the public can choose.
Why should they choose anything I’ve done? What makes it special? What makes me so special that to buy something I’ve created means something more than buying just whatever else? Hmmmm. All good questions and I have answers for not one of them.
That is the drive I suppose which every business makes at a point. There is no real help with it because no one knows all the picture except the owner of the business or the designer or the artist or the one doing the inventing and innovating. It is supposed to be a brand that stands for something with the words clearly articulating what that is. But, in this case – the words may never articulated it.
Should I just wait until they do? Or is it no more than a fantasy, an elegant destitute delusion to believe that any poor person in America, no matter how long they invest in doing it – could ever have a real business here? Maybe it is that. Maybe it is an elegant complex delusion to believe that any artist could be an artist in America – or rather maybe the delusion is that I believe I am an artist, creator and inventor. I thought it is based upon the facts and evidence of doing it, but maybe not. Maybe not.
Unless it can be articulated in words, why it exists – why it is special and important – why these things were created at all – why they are in “good taste” – why they stand as real art and design in some respect with all its foundation of intellectual arguments – maybe it simply isn’t art and isn’t design. And, inherently then I would not be considered factually to be an artist – despite doing it.
But, then there are those in my own family who would argue that its value simply doesn’t exist because it isn’t good enough. Maybe that is right. Maybe there isn’t enough of a gap of greatness between what I’ve been creating and what already exists in the world. Wait – then I remember the Family Guy artwork and designs given air space on tv and in the market and in the estimation of my same family members – that is greatness. Is it?
Is it that I must cartoon a painting of Mandela for it to be great art in the viewpoints of the American marketplace? It must be a cartoon of him? Really? Does that work when other things born of classical art training do not? Is that it?
Is it special as a question of recognizable style or by simplicity of visual information or by those constructs of anti-realism or by the portrayal of characters in humanity being conveyed using those things? But is that design? Does it matter?
So, back to the question –
What Makes Me So Special? Why would anyone want what I’ve designed over other things or as much as other things that others have created? Well,
1. I’m an American artist.
2. I’ve lived at the turn of the twentieth-century into the twenty-first in America.
3. I’ve been a part of the fabric of experiences in America at this time, not aloft in some gilded cage of the rich, the elite, the academics, and various other artists.
4. None of my grown children want any part of what I’ve built nor to be stuck with managing the rights to any of the designs, therefore when I’m gone none of the products using my art and designs and thoughts on them at Zazzle will continue. Either they are bought there or have already been bought as originals at some point in my lifetime, or essentially access to any of them will be gone when the last few years of my life now have ended. That is reality. That alone – makes the pieces on Zazzle that I’ve put on my store valuable and collectible. It will not be continued years upon years into the future. It is whatever provenance can be provided by electronic records on Zazzle or by what people who have bought originals can convey through the stories of when they bought them directly from me. There are no other stores carrying them, no manufacturers manufacturing them, no licensing deals that convey that opportunity of using the designs anywhere else – and wherever they are bought now that provenance from Zazzle or specific anecdote from purchasing the original work does not convey appropriately how they were acquired – then those designs were stolen, hijacked, bootlegged, infringed and are illegally being used. They wouldn’t be the real deal.
It still doesn’t fully answer the question about why I am special and the work is valuable because I created it. I could fill in all the details of my life for others to determine if I “fit” as an artist or have a right to create anything of value. Could do that.
Could literally prove that I’m some great genius of some kind – proven when I was young, but not lately – and I’ve had head injury since then, so the best I could hope for is to say that I’m trying to be a genius and use it every where in every way I can while there is still time in my life to do it. I could add that America has certified me as a mentally ill person with a bookful of diagnoses that seemed to change based on the drug of choice supporting whatever psychiatrists my parents were locking me up to be observed by so I would change the behaviors they didn’t like. Or I could decide that I’m going to share the abusive domestic violence and at one point, even enslavement stories from my adult past as a woman in America – all of which are true – then people would know that I’m struggling to go past those things just as many of them are doing.
OR – I could say that the designs, art, artworks, inventions, innovations, solutions, inventiveness, resourcefulness, music, writings, information and knowledge that I have are valuable because obviously others are paid well for the same caliber of things in the world – and across America, but it is rare that one individual is actually holding and doing all of those things. That might work. And to invest in me by supporting what I know how to do – helps to support America and our opportunities as a nation to further innovation and bringing our women’s lives up in the correcting of what our society has allowed to be so horribly wrong for them (including me.)
Ranting. I should make a tshirt.
Oh wait, I forgot one important thing –
5. I’ve been doing art, design, writing, music, engineering at a small level, inventing, innovating, generating solutions, engaging in solution-oriented thinking, creating, resourcing, designing, problem-solving, teaching and sharing those things AND selling those products (even if at much lower than market values) into every community where I’ve lived for over 50 years – out of 55. But, if I only count since some of my fashion designs, product designs and solutions to local areas of concern and writings which sold when I was 15 yrs old – that would be over 40 years fully engaged in this effort. I’d say that is long enough to know something about it and to be good at it. And, I’ve been trained, educated, collectively educated, experientially educated and college educated. So there you go.
That was for my fellow New Yorkers that I’ve been meeting lately who want to compare notes – and I wouldn’t say how long it has been that I’ve been engaged in doing these things. Yeah – I know, they been doing art for twenty years – it should mean something. I can’t help it – I learned to draw. Now, we can both say – we know how to draw and have made some efforts to do it. Okay – now what.
I did a realistic sculptural bust of a person when I was thirteen years old and was taking calculus and trig – what were you doing? I learned to play chess at 4 yrs old and taught an adult to play chess that no one else had been able to teach – when I was 5 yrs old – and played violin and piano and sketched with lessons to make it look like realistic portraits rather than some kid drawing. What were you doing at that age? Obviously, reading the dictionary was not one of your past times at that age and throughout elementary school – but it was mine. And, it still is. Just because I married some jackass that threw me on my head, doesn’t mean that I’m nobody. Just because I’m poor as an adult doesn’t mean that I have no right to learn and go beyond what you can do or what you can know or the talents you have. I’m working with what I’ve got – what are you doing?
And, yes – that makes me special.
I’ve done everything I can to effectively make my designs available to the public at a reasonable price on things that can enhance their homes, businesses, offices and daily lives. If, out of 70,000 plus products conveying over 4,000 individual designs and artworks that I’ve created – people can’t find something that they like – then they can simply stay away from all of it and doing something else is their best choice with their money.
But as to whether it is collectible or not, valuable or not, real art or not – that question is answered. The facts are – it is collectible, zazzle records give provenance, it is valuable because I actually am an American artist of our time AND it is real art whether anyone likes any of it or not and whether it is amateurish, less than perfect, unstylish, bad, untastefully done, crappy colors, less than digitally perfect, less than something seen on a video game – or just different than that. And if the amateurish art of Family Guy and Simpsons and thousands of other marketed artwork in a multitude of other genres and arenas are acceptable as tasteful and artistic – then guess what – what I’ve done is too.
And, It is valuable real art for a different reason – and that is never going to change, even if it is all disposed of entirely from my estate by my family and children. It still is what it is. It was created by me and THAT has value to a greater world for a substantial number of reasons – (not all of which are expressed in this post.)
As I’ve said – and it is the truth – “A diamond in a shoe box is still a diamond.”
I have watched the days of singing and joyous celebration of the Life of Nelson Mandela after his death. Tonight, I am watching the last moments of goodbyes to a man that has changed the world and affected generations of people from every walk of life, from every level and class of life and in every nation in the world from leaders to every day people. It is with great sadness that I think of a world without him. It is a great loss but not an end to the work he sought to accomplish.
The fight is not one of seeking to topple those bastions of corporate business nor nations engaged in those seats of power and prestige. The fight is one of ideas. The predominant ideas of our time that say, the worth and value of any human being is only that based on the money they have or that they can acquire by whatever means and that those with money, power and position have the right to take and use anything or anyone they want in any way they choose because they have money – are wrong.
The fight is one of ideas. It is about economic exclusion, the new slavery of wages so low that they provide no real means of survival and well-being, the social exclusion of those without means and the valuing or sub-valuing of human beings based on the lack of personal holdings of money, property or prestige. That is not equality nor freedom. It is not democratic nor equality of opportunity and it is wrong.
It is a fight because it puts the tools for building in the hands of only the rich when it is the poor who must build their houses. It is a fight because poverty is literally, as Nelson Mandela said – of man’s making and it is within the realm of what man can solve as well. It causes a greater loss to our society and our world’s peoples than it would ever be worth carrying. And, it is unnecessary and wrong for our world’s future.
What is poverty? Poverty is all-encompassing. It determines what opportunities are available, but also makes the decisions of what tools can be used to bear upon the difficulties of survival and of living. It makes the decisions of what tools are nowhere available as well, despite those goods and services, tools and technologies, education and knowledge being available in this world. Poverty excludes from participation and excludes from resources critical for survival, for freedom, for opportunity and for well-being. It does not allow the “cream to rise to the top” – it simply excludes assets that diverse viewpoints and knowledge could bring to our world’s needed solutions and greater progress to better things for all.
In our time, it is not enough to gain freedom when without economic means, that freedom and opportunity surely does not truly exist. It is a controlled gamut of the same old holders of power acting as masters and all others serving as slaves, even if that is an unacceptable tenet in our day and time. So, this is not a fight which began and ended with freedom won if, as I said, all the tools for building are held by those who need not build anything while being withheld from every person, family and community who must build in order to survive and to thrive.
I will miss Nelson Mandela continuing his efforts to change our world in this fight. He was very good at expressing what the cost is to our world to do nothing, or to rather keep things the same, or even to make things worse. His words ring out true again to each of us today, because there is truth in them and common sense. It is more sad to think of a world that does not change from its current ideas of dramatic demarcations of class, low wages enslaving entire generations of families around the world (including in the United States, UK and Europe), exclusionary social and economic practices, valuing human character based upon ownership of property, means and financial resources rather than any other factor and the active practice of excluding over 90% of every country’s populations from economic opportunity while keeping that majority in some measure of poverty and struggle to survive.
To me, the greatest inspiration from Nelson Mandela came to me over and over again throughout the years, as descriptions of his way to handle many difficult people and even more difficult situations were written. He could have allowed revenge against those who had caused so much suffering. He could have chosen to do that and it would have been understandable to do it after everything he had suffered, that others had suffered and after everything he had seen and suffered experiencing. But, he did not. He chose to take all of them and include everyone in solving the social disaster that had unfolded as a result of these horrors. And, that Rainbow Nation concept of inclusiveness, diversity, equality, justice, freedom, decency, acceptance, tolerance, democracy, and constructing real solutions together – inclusively – inspired me over the years as it does even today.
I hope those around the world also inspired by this man’s life and his words in this fight of ideas and hopes for the people of the world will continue his legacy until the work is done and the ideals accomplished. They are worth fighting for. They are worth accomplishing. They are worthy of his lifetime of efforts and whatever it takes beyond those days by each one of us who can. It is a much better world that he lived in it. I would always hope to be able to say that of my own life in my short time here as well.
“We are not enemies because you have money and I do not. We are enemies because I own what you never could and cannot buy while you have the tools for what I know how to do but you cannot use them – they are no more than a novelty to you. That is why we are enemies. And, neither of us can win as enemies.
Even when it seems you have won, you have nothing for having done it and were I to win at your complete loss, neither would I have won anything worth having. And, I would have lost you as well when you are certainly far more valuable than money could ever be.” (said by me – cricketdiane).
“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” the pope wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
– Pope Francis, 2013
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
I was going along tonight watching the Mandela Memorial in Soweto where world leaders are gathering with everyone else in the world to honor the life and catalytic achievements of this incredible man. And I made some more ornaments with words on them for various aspects of character that are fruitful. While the news is going, jumping occasionally between France 24, CNNI, and BBC America – I was making these products and checking twitter with a re-tweet here and there about the Memorial. But, then I got the news on of course and they told another story about something else – and so, here I am about to write about it.
There were several Christmas designs for wrapping papers I made including the one above and one (below) that is to honor the idea of Rainbow People out of the Mandela legacy – ages ago. And, I had made that on zazzle with three different background colors – while thinking about why I named one of my daughters Rainbow (spelled differently) from the same thing. She probably believed had to do with being gay or something – as most of my children would have likely thought with rainbows used for that in their lifetimes.
(In case my children ever read this and want to know –
Soweto came to the world’s attention on 16 June 1976 with the Soweto Uprising, when mass protests erupted over the government’s policy to enforce education in Afrikaans rather than English. Police opened fire in Orlando West on 10,000 students marching from Naledi High School to Orlando Stadium. The rioting continued and 23 people died on the first day in Soweto, 21 of whom were black, including the minor Hector Pieterson, as well as two white people, including Melville Edelstein, a life-long humanitarian.
The impact of the Soweto protests reverberated through the country and across the world. In their aftermath, economic and cultural sanctions were introduced from abroad. Political activists left the country to train for guerrilla resistance. Soweto and other townships became the stage for violent state repression. Since 1991 this date and the schoolchildren have been commemorated by the International Day of the African Child.
– I graduated high school in California at James Monroe High School on June 10, 1976.
And, I don’t know how much of world events, and Soweto before Mandela came to help, Nelson Mandela’s way of resolving it once he had the opportunity – or anything else like that which my children my know. They are grown but have never seemed much interested in the things that might forge an interest to me. So, I don’t know if we would have ever talked about it or not. South Africa is a long ways away from here, but 1978 wasn’t that long ago in my lifetime. Before her life had even begun, the horrors I knew of, read about, cared about changing and wanted to help change – were things like that which I really hoped neither she nor any of the rest of my children would ever have to know existed that way anywhere. It was so sad, so horrific and so wrong. And, it took almost the entire world to raise up and set – let that man out of jail. Let the African people participate in their lives in their own nation in freedom and democracy – break apartheid and send it back to hell from whence it came. It was wrong – horrifically wrong.
But, then – what Nelson Mandela did with it when he easily could have been understandably vindictive and awakened a violent repression of the whites who had been in power – but he didn’t. And he took a potentially volatile, desperate, violent boiler pot of a situation and turned it into something else – something remarkable and wise and brilliant. And, he did that when there was no reason to do such a thing with it – but he did.
So, as I had been going along and twittering, thinking about the Rainbow People of Mandela’s idea how inclusive society could be – and listening to the news – I had noticed this article over on the twitter feed, had seen the NYTimes article on homelessness yesterday but hadn’t read it – and had gone over to read the one below about the Post slamming homelessness as a bunch of hooey. It was damn hateful, but not the first time I’ve noticed that kind of attitude in New York City, from the Post or from other GOP outlets for that matter.
It did get me thinking though of another article in the NY Times that I read about homelessness a couple years ago which had online comments by the pages and pages. I read them all and was completely horrified at the aggressive, shitty, nastiness, hatred and even cruelty exchanged in those comments. There were only about five comments of reason, compassion and decency for those who are homeless in our city and it was about families with young children who are in our shelters, single mothers, people put out work by the lay-offs from the Wall Street financial debacle of 2008 that took away their jobs through no fault of their own, and elderly and disabled people who couldn’t get jobs at all. And, those comments were disgusting. They reminded me of apartheid mentality before anything became different in their perspectives about people and their fellow human beings who didn’t look like them. This is New York City, but those comments came from all over America. It was only two years ago – and this article below is simply more of the same attitudes toward people less fortunate than those writing for the Post.
Found this looking for who that company name was that has been getting $500,000 a month since 2008 to make the decision when to sell the GM stock – so we wouldn’t lose on it and then sell it at a loss of $10 BILLION DOLLARS –
$52 billion has been reserved for the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative, of which $20 billion has been allocated to the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility.
While $30 billion has been reserved for a small business lending program, the Treasury has proposed creating a $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund separate from TARP through legislation. Not more than $1 billion is planned for the Small Business and Lending Initiative -SBA 7a Securities Purchase Program and not more than $1 billion is planned for the Community Development Capital Initiative
MY NOTE – where is $30 Billion in loans to America’s small businesses? That doc above is from 2010 – it is 2013
And this one describes the massive amounts of money generally being spent over at the Treasury Dept – but I’m going to have to find the info in my other computer because it is easier than tracking down the contract they made with that Wall Street firm. But, if I can’t find it in my other computer files – I’ll go look up the contract because it is public information and those amounts paid to them does appear in 2008 / 2009 budgets and probably onwards from there. Monthly fees of over $500,000 every single month and they give it away to the tune of $10 Billion Losses. I could’ve done a better job at that nearly not knowing a damn thing about it.
Corporations continue to raise substantial capital in private markets and have built up record cash reserves, which will eventually be reinvested and fuel growth.
While substantial progress has been made, significant challenges remain. In the banking system, charge-offs for residential, consumer, and commercial loans are still elevated, and the FDIC projects that the rate of bank failures will remain high.
Despite offering relatively low borrowing costs, banks continue to report falling loan balances. To a significant degree, this reflects a natural and healthy adjustment as borrowers and lenders de-leverage after a period of aggressive credit expansion. But it does mean that many consumers and businesses are still finding it difficult to get new credit.
When I placed one design under the solid grey color, the barest view of it showed through – and I had already put the word Kindness on the front. It is so pretty, I’m thinking of making a whole set of them – maybe 12 or 20 of the same kind with different special qualities words on them that define character. Would be nice.
There are so many things I’ve looked at today and read – that I’m still considering on it all. Crashed the computer once today – but it was okay. Made several pretty products on my main store at Zazzle (there are actually several) and passed the 70,000 products mark. And, I’m finding the words to put into a couple paragraphs that describe the “mission” of my brand. So, despite all the work, it isn’t really a business yet. The sales aren’t anywhere near stellar, nor is the traffic coming to see any of the products and the promotion of the store is really non-existent at this point still. But, I’m getting there.
Finding the words to fill in a couple paragraphs that describe why it was important to me to create these things and what the mission of my company and brand is – that I’m working on now. I’ve worked on it at other times without getting it into a couple paragraphs. Sometimes – often really – it is the words that seem to be the hardest.
If I could just say it in written words the same way I would tell somebody if there were a reason to ask me in person – I’d probably have it because I’m actually living that mission statement right now. And, I’ve been driven by it all this time that I’ve been creating not only these art things, but solutions to problems for people, researching, learning, inventing, creating other things, writing, playing and creating music, exploring and discovering new things – then applying them into my working knowledge to use.
As to why I believe that is so important that I would do it constantly all of my days throughout my life – that is something else again, but I do know why it is and it isn’t because of mental illness or some grossly overachieving character flaw although I can see why some people would think so.
The fact is, I create because I can. And, I create because I believe it is important and a massively important part of living skills. (or life skills) – The ability to think through, to learn, to discover, to explore, to grow, to apply those things into real life situations on the fly and to create solutions including by creating things – is an important and critical survival set of skills in everyday life – especially today.
And, to share that with others through those things that can be created with those skills – both to inspire and to add to the knowledge base assets of the whole community – is worthwhile. The more it is done, the more that our complete world with everyone included can aspire, grow, change, develop, prosper, be safer, be happier, be more at peace with living, and be more a part of one another’s resources to do even more. It is a good thing, not a broken thing to be fixed or cured. It is a good and resourceful and life thriving set of skills – not a bad thing at all. And it is what drives me to create and to offer the fruits of some of those creations into the public community at large.
The fact is, I can – I’m alive and I can, so don’t tell me why I shouldn’t anymore. It doesn’t matter if I’m poor – I’ve done it anyway. It doesn’t matter if I’m disabled “officially” and brain injured “certified as such” – I’ve done it anyway. It also doesn’t matter if my emotions sometimes paralyze me – I’ve done it anyway.
And, it sure doesn’t matter that “money talks and bullshit walks” thing – because they may have a house or two they were able to buy with their money, but I have the whole universe where I can play. And too – I have the whole world where I can walk and play and create and learn and grow and share with others who are more and more like me – alive with wonder.
I’ve been creating over on my Zazzle store and finally passed the 68,000 products mark. Now, if I can figure out how to get enough traffic that the sales will reflect some success – it could be great. But, I don’t how to do that exactly.
There have been a lot of things I’ve been doing lately. It was nice to go to a church fellowship here in Staten Island for Thanksgiving on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. And, we did make the little talk show at the Community Television Station (we, as in my class learning how to make shows there.) And, I did get to go shooting at the rifle range – even managed to hit the paperclip holding the target, not once but twice – on the day before Thanksgiving.
I also went to a workshop on Entrepreneurial Blocks at the Staten Island Maker Space that was put on by the local arts council group. Turned out that was not on Entrepreneurial blocks as it was titled, but instead they had a psychologist who helps artists, musicians and performers to get beyond creative blocks. That is about ridiculous – they were in a room with people, none of which had creative blocks or they wouldn’t have been there.
Yes, just about ridiculous, but I did learn a lot by applying the worksheet to my entrepreneurial blocks. I discovered that my business model could be changed just a little to accommodate something that had been holding me back – so that is good. One thing that always seems to happen when I start painting or decorating people’s homes for the holidays or doing something for stores to help their businesses is that there is suddenly a lot of people I meet who want some things done too. Then, I say yes to all of them because I can do those things, but maybe I didn’t want to do any of them. And, it isn’t just not saying no either. That is an easy answer that most therapists and others in those trades cling to – but it isn’t that.
First, I didn’t know any other option was on the menu – now I can take all the names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and what they want done along with when – put it on a paper or 3×5 card – take it home and let them know that I’ll see if I have the time to do it. Then I can call them back after I’ve had time to think about it and about how it needs to be done, how long it will take, what materials and everything else that I’m doing that it needs to fit in with and around. See, that makes sense. I didn’t know to do that or that it was even an option to do it that way. I was simply saying yes and writing it down and then doing all of them whether I liked the project or had time to do it or could afford to spare the time and effort to do it or anything.
As a practical matter, I have a reasonable fear of being expected to do something for money just because I’m taking money to do some things. It’s as if because I opened that Pandora’s box and starting taking commissions for my work or my time or helping with Christmas decorating for instance and taking money for it that suddenly everybody around me or that meets me believes that I’m Wal-Mart and am legally responsible to work for them too for their money. And, I can’t do it all – and I don’t want to either. Most of the time, these same people can do just as good at beautiful holiday decorations as I can do – or in the case of stores, realtors, restaurants, bars, organizations and other businesses – they’ll pay more to a printer to get something done than they want to pay me anyway for twice as much time and work they want me to put into it. And, they are annoying on top of it perceiving that I’m not using my time specifically for their project unless they are constantly calling to see about it – and honestly, they wouldn’t do that to another business working for them or a printer doing the job for them. It isn’t even worth it.
Then, today I realized that there is another part to it too. Most people don’t know that I can’t and won’t do a painting of someone else’s painting or poster or style that they like. It is against the rules so to speak. So, although I can do it – I’m going to pass on that. When I was learning how to do art – yeah maybe I did some of that for my own house occasionally – but it was great, master artists – not some illustrator trying to make a living at it that created an amazing golf great poster or something. And, that is the kind of thing people want to have me repeat for them doing an end run around paying the actual artist who is probably selling prints of it for some reasonable amount anyway.
The first painting I sold was when I was seven years old but both my sister sold one of hers and I sold one at an art show where my mother’s paintings were showing. So, they probably bought them because they thought we were so cute to be putting some of our artwork in the show too along with our mother’s. However, the first floor plans I sold was before that and they were actually used to guide the architect on planning the actual floor plan for their house and for an office with small retail store in it that I also did. I got $5 for those two floor plans drawn on notebook paper and I learned that it felt really good to know someone used them to plan the house where they would live. It felt really cool. And, to know they planned their office space and store that way too – it was way cool. I liked it.
So, over the years I kept creating crafts, designs, inventions and drawings – but most of my drawings were not as fun as painting. And, when my mother would learn in a class, I would go with her and soak it all up like a sponge – even though I really was not that interested in art like that. I loved the Greek statues at the museums and the beautiful paintings done on Grecian urns. AND I loved to get lost away from my family at the LA Museum of Art to go look at the diamonds sparkling in the most amazing settings and the history of fashion displays and the beautiful paintings made by Van Eyck and Vermeer. They were dimensional and amazing. I loved the way they looked as if I could put my hand into a space where there had to be a surface actually there that was just painted. But it looked like the volume of space in that illusionary environment of the painting actually existed dimensionally. I loved that. I could stand for hours and study on that and how the shadows were recreated in the painting and volume and light as if it existed still even though it isn’t there. Amazing.
There are so many things to tell that I don’t even want to worry with it. When I’ve been meeting new people and often I did that in Georgia too before coming to New York – it is impossible to tell them all those things. First of all, they’re probably not that interested in hearing it or knowing about it. And, second of all – even more so, I usually only have a short amount of their time they can spare to me, being busy with so many things – and I don’t want to waste it with what I already know about myself. I want to know what they know and take it with me when I leave them to go do other things. There seems to be no sense in trying to create a ten words or less elevator pitch anymore – I had a great one and nobody liked it. I thought it was perfect – took me years to come up with it – literally. And, yet, nobody that has heard it thought it describes who I am or what I do with any meat to it. That means I don’t know what – but here is the one I thought was so great –
I just create feel happy stuff.
It is so perfect and it is true. Plus it is actually the truth of it – as far as what I’m putting on my Zazzle store and many of the artworks that form the basis of those products which I’ve been creating for years before putting them on coffee mugs. That does describe it, but apparently that sentence doesn’t have enough meat in it to suit an elevator pitch or quick description for someone who wants to know what I do and who I am. Well, damn. Maybe I should just say – I’m working to be a genius and apply that in every way I can to everything I can while I’m still alive to do it. That probably describes it better and more accurately presents who I am and what I’m trying to do all the time. And, it is actually the truth.
That kind of elevator pitch statement still wouldn’t describe the what I do in terms that most business people would be used to hearing. It’s not the same as saying, “I’m in the business of selling firewood for people to stay warm in the winter.” And, it isn’t in the neighborhood of being a consultant, although I suppose that might be a possibility as a business model. Wonder if I could stand being a consultant using what I know and what I can do to help as a business. Wonder if I could stand it a day? My daughter says she has two price structures for what she does when helping small businesses with their invoicing – one is called the regular price and the other is the headache price based on how likely she is to get headaches dealing with something or someone or some particular snafu. That is consultant stuff right there, but I’m not sure any amount of money could help me get over those kinds of headaches and still be functional as a consultant. I might consult them to go do it themselves as my final analysis. That probably wouldn’t be a good business model. But it would be easier to say as an elevator pitch. I could say, “I’m a consultant with two pricing models. Let me know which one you would like and I’ll help you out.” NO – that is wrong.
I’ll try again. Maybe they’ll have another workshop and actually tell something about budding business stuff. At least I’m not entrepreneurially blocked anymore – And there are some concrete solutions to elements of accepting money for my work where I have a chance to not be quickly overwhelmed with the demands of people wanting it yesterday, now, tomorrow or two days from now even though it is six months worth of work to do it.