When I first began this interview series, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought it could be a fun side project that would push me to connect with other creative individuals and provide a platform for the inspirational voices of others. It indeed does those things, but I couldn’t have predicted how important it would become to me, to my own journey. The opportunity to ask a question and have it genuinely answered with thought and care, is a joy I truly cherish now. To think that people I admire would generously give me their time and a piece of their mind… well, it just really humbles me and motivates me.
I can say without a doubt that this interview is one I’ve anticipated more than any other. Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s a multitude of things. Jacob Van Loon is an artist I’ve admired via tumblr for a while now; I stumbled upon his work organically and have been a fan ever since. Watch the video below and you’ll understand why I’m so enraptured. The infrastructure he builds with pencil and paint is complex and layered, existing somewhere in-between creation and destruction. I’d like to think (maybe hope is the better word) that the universe I draw within could maybe be a neighbor to his own. But enough words from me. Van Loon is the 27-year old sage here and his words are the ones I want to share with you.
In almost any situation in life (and in art), I will stand behind the motto “be who you are”.
This can get a little bit complicated, as I’m sure you know. Most of our adolescence is spent learning how to act and how to present ourselves in the right light, in order to be on the right path. We learn to play the part of success because that is what everyone wants for their child (and for themselves). The problem is that success comes in infinite shades of grey and as we grow older, it gets more difficult to tell which shade is our own. You can spend your whole life trying to become some picture of perfection you had implanted in your head and suddenly realize one day that it is not you at all.
The year of 2013 has been quite a doozie for me. I’ve had three different jobs and teetered back and forth between “my dream is to become a full-fledged professional artist” and “god, I really want to be able to buy this pair of boots”. It’s driven all of my friends and family crazy, I’m sure, but is also completely necessary for me to move forward. Underlying all of the insanity, my ultimate goal (which maybe I’ll see a glimpse of by the end of the year) is to navigate the roads to achieving balance. Balance between being practical and being a risk-taker, balance between being a homebody and a busybody, balance between listening to others and listening to myself. Balance between art and life.
Art and life have always been at war with each other within me. It’s always been, choose one or the other. Be great at one or the other. But I’ve never been able to give up on either and so I’ve been struggling, pulling both of them along at once, sometimes equally and sometimes not.
Being in your mid-20s can often feel like you’re on a long-ass road trip with an unknown destination. At times it looks like freedom, nothing tying you down or stopping you from where you want to go. Each city passed marks the progress you’re making and every bit of the journey makes the trip feel precious and all the more worthwhile. Other times you wonder if it will ever end, if you are even half-way there yet, wondering how long it will be until you find peaceful stillness and a comfortable bed.
This has been the story of my life for the past three years…
During my college years, I spent many a night (and morning) toiling away at projects in my various classroom studios. At the time I dreaded it – the lack of sleep, the feeling like I couldn’t possibly have enough time to make something worthy of presenting, the endlessness of it all. Little did I know that not too many years later, it would be a lifestyle I miss.
With the leaves falling and the chill rapidly growing, I’m reminded of the passage of time and the irrefutable need to re-align my perspective. My life has found itself once again in a foreign landscape, this one being solely focused on working. Yes, clocking in and clocking out, that kind of working. While I stand behind my decision to do this, I can’t deny how hard it’s been to make this transition. My days are never ending and I’ve barely even had a single day off to do my own thing in the last month. That being said, I think it’s time I make some fall/winter resolutions. Who says you need to wait until New Year’s to begin working on yourself? Ideally, I’d like to keep track of these self-assigned initiatives through the blog, but I can’t make any promises right now. To start, let me just give you an outline of how I foresee this happening. If all goes well, it may even transform the way my blog is written and organized…
There are honestly so many negative thoughts running through my head right now that I feel like I can’t even type fast enough to get them out in a clear manner. I just spent the last hour driving home from an extras gig, bawling the entire way. I didn’t want to bother any of my best friends with a random whiny phone call so I just allowed myself to jump into a pit of sorrow and self-pity. I simultaneously love and hate that I feel so strongly about my journey. Right now the only word I can use to describe it is lost. I feel so, so, so lost. All of the time. Well, maybe not ALL of the time. But it certainly feels like it right now, as more tears roll down my cheeks.
Important note: if you are a real life friend or family member of mine – never mention anything about this post to me in real life. For the sake of my pride, I’d like to pretend that I still have a shred of anonymity and dignity when it comes to this blog. The reason why I write it here and cannot discuss it in real life is because I just can’t bring myself to let you see me this way.
To those of you who have been following my blog/facebook/tumblr/etc, thank you SO much for your support. It’s been great to receive all the words of encouragement and to connect with others going through similar life experiences.
As much as I love sharing my adventures in Atlanta, I’m going to cool it on the posts for about two weeks and see what happens when I just focus on drawing and living life. I really do enjoy blogging and all the social media that comes with it, but there are times when I feel like I’ve become too disconnected to actually experiencing what is going on around me. I’ve been spending too many minutes thinking about hashtags, content, followers, and the like.
I’ve been taking it slow with the whole art thing, but it deserves my full attention, even if only for a short period of time. The plan is to allow myself to get sort of lost in the process and see what happens. Hopefully, I’ll end up with a new little collection to share with you!
Thanks again for checking in and stay tuned to see what unfolds next…