Friday, July 9, 2010

Alien/ation: an Art Riot Extravaganza - TOMORROW!

Today's post is a friendly reminder that tomorrow, July 10th, is going to be the event that Monkey + Seal (as Paper Hat Productions) has been working on for the past three months. We've been super fortunate to collaborate with the Hyphen Magazine team, and we are proud to bring you Alien/ation: An Illustration Show.

We are honored to be showing among some amazing artists such as Kim Herbst, Joseph To, and Yoko Furusho, to name a few, and our favorite vegan baker, Jen Chau from Black Orchid Bakery will be on hand with cupcakes that are really frickin' amazing.

A preview of what Seal will be showing

We also want to emphasize how excited we are about the raffle - there will be another collaborative Art Battle, but this time it'll be a triple threat match of Monkey, Seal, and Joseph To. Each will start a painting based on an audience-submitted theme. Then, they'll move on to the next person's canvas and start painting, then they will switch again so that everyone paints on everyone's piece. Finally, the artist will move back to the original painting they started and will finish it off. Exciting, huh? Even better, these pieces will be raffled off at the end of the night.

A free artist's reception is from 5:30-6:45, and doors open at 7:00. Admission is $5 (or $15 if you want to get a subscription to Hyphen). The first 25 paying guests at 7:00 will get a swag bag with some limited edition goodies inside. If you want the swag, we suggest getting there early.

A preview of what Monkey will be showing

Where else can you win original art, eat awesome cupcakes, get free stuff, and check out some cutting-edge illustrators? No where (at least no place that we're aware of). Thus, you should definitely come check out our show, and don't forget to bring cash if you want to drink since SPACE gallery (1141 Polk x Sutter) is a 21+ only, cash only venue.

Also, this is really the only night to be able to see all this fantastic art in one place, so we highly recommend it. Besides new work by Monkey + Seal, the other art being hung is really amazing and it should be a really awesome event. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Deadlines Can Be Your Friend

Deadlines are a mixed bag for Monkey + Seal. While they serve to create an endpoint to a project, they can be really stressful and emotionally taxing. We think it all depends on how you use deadline and the boundaries that you set.

For personal work, deadlines can help push you to focus and prioritize more on a specific project that will force you to really work on something. Since many times personal pieces are done for you, sometimes it is not clear when you're really "done" with a piece. If you are a photo-realistic painter, this may not apply as you're done when it looks like a photo, but if you have a stylistic approach, this is oftentimes a bit more of a blurry line.

By forcing yourself to work within a specified time frame, if you're the type of person that needs structure, you can squeeze out some amazing stuff in a short period of time. While this does not work for everyone, if you find yourself being more productive when you're in a time crunch (procrastinators, anyone?) setting deadlines can be a really positive thing. It may even push you to experiment (for better or worse) in trying new techniques and mediums that you may not have thought about before.

However, if you're the type that does not create well under pressure, then deadlines can be very rough on you. The pressure to create and to produce can be overwhelming, so much so that even if you want to start early, you may find yourself psyching yourself out until the last possible minute when you realize that you don't have any more time to spare.

Sometimes you just don't have enough time to do your best work and you end up turning in something less than par, or even something that you're a bit embarrassed by. In these cases, we like to focus on that fact that as long as you do your best given the circumstances, you shouldn't beat yourself up so much. Like we've said before, as long as you take something away from every experience, it's not the end of the world. If you failed to execute an illustration in the way that you wanted to, you now know that given x hours, you cannot produce what you were trying to. You now know what does not work, so at least when a client asks you "Can you produce X in Y amount of time" you'll know how to answer.

Deadlines can definitely help push you to your best and to give you an action plan of prioritization for any project. But they only work if you set proper guidelines and boundaries and stick to them. In the end, time may be your worst enemy, but if you take the experience as an imperfect victory instead of a loss, you'll be all the closer to mastering the clock.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Don't Wait For Permission

You don't need this stamp.

Many times we wait for permission from some authority figure to tell us that we're good to go to start a project, or work towards our dreams. In short, we're looking for validation. While we are the first to admit that validation makes us feel all awesome inside and that our work matters and is that external approval that we're all after, it doesn't mean that it is necessary.

It is not necessary because whatever your dreams matter. They matter because they are your dreams. Whether you want to be a baker or a banker, a civil engineer or construction worker, an artist or an astronaut, your dreams are important. While you might be thinking that there are no objective reason why you should follow your dream, we say that there is. That reason is that you'll be happier.

Now this sounds like it may be a self-serving motive, and it may be, but by being happier, you'll make the world a better place. If you are grumpy and hating your work, you'll be a big downer for other around you. No one likes the constant pessimist/whiner/griper. While we acknowledge the benefits of venting and being allowed to complain (which we all should at times), dwelling on what is not working is like dragging a raincloud around with you that gets water on the floor and makes people's socks mushy - not fun at all. By following your dreams, you'll be much happier and that will pass on to the rest of the world.

If you are happy and totally crazy in love with what you do, it will show, and it will affect how you do your work. If you love to paint zombies, your zombie paintings are going to be much more awesome than if you painted flowers or puppies. Your work will appeal to other zombie fans and they will be happier because of it. If they are happier, they'll spread the happiness through their work, and so on and so on. Happiness is contagious, so unleash the happiness plague by doing the work you love.

Don't wait for others to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. If you have something to contribute to the world, then do it. If your heart says make a zine, then make one. If your heart says go into corporate law, then start studying for the LSAT. If your heart says you should travel to Australia to nurse sick wombats back to health, start shopping for plane tickets (and please send your photos to Monkey..he likes wombats). Know that your dreams matter, and go out and make the world a happier place.