Friday, August 27, 2010

When In Hell, Keep Running Forward!

Seal has this great quote: "When in hell, keep running forward." She's used this mantra for the last ten years to help her get through rough times. And you know what? It's totally true.

Simply put, it works this way. If you were dropped down into hell (as an actual space with flames or whatever) your situation is not going to get better by just sitting around on your toasty butt. If you do nothing, you're gonna just sit there and cook. However, if you take off running, no matter how painful the trek, you're eventually going to come to the borders of hell and get out of there.

The real world works the exact same way. If you're down on your luck - broke, 200k in debt with student loans, sick, mounting medical bills, whatever your circumstances, if you just sit there and focus on how crappy you think your life is, that's all you're ever going to know. But, if you get up and start taking action towards fixing your problem, no matter how much of a baby step you take you'll be that much closer to getting out of your predicament.

Things might seem impossible, but most likely they aren't. You just may require some creative thinking, a positive attitude, and the willingness to take action. Need fifty thousand dollars to start up a business? Think saving up that much would take too long? What about small business loans? Crappy credit? What about finding investors? No connections? What about looking on the internet, maybe kickstarter, perhaps? Can't get funding? What about donating a kidney or something? In all honesty, while we don't endorse selling off of body parts or prostitution or robbery (or crime, in general), if you really need money, there are lots of ways to get creative.

Want to get into a gallery? Have you submitted photos of your work yet? Still no answer? Have you tried all the galleries in town? What about finding out who these curators are and figuring out their friends and trying to get your work in front of them? What about schmoozing up the workers at the gallery? What about bribing them? (Again, crimes are discouraged.)

Our point is that if you are down on your luck, and you want to get someplace, don't sit around and wait for it to get better. It very well might, but your chances are a lot better if you start doing something about it. It's hard when you feel like crap, but if you keep on keeping on, no matter how you feel, things will take a turn for the better. It might be a while, and you'll probably feel like giving up most of the time. But it'll get better. We promise.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eat the fattest frog first

Recently, Seal has realized how true the saying "Eat the fattest frog first" is (via Mark Twain). Unless you happen to really like eating frogs (we don't - no meat in the Monkey + Seal household), the fattest frog is always going to be the one thing that you don't want to do. It's working on that project for the client that you hate, or it's getting around to wash that huge moldy pile of dishes, or it's paying that overdue bill.

Whatever it is, take it out first thing. We've found that when you save it until there's no more time, everything else you do during the day is tainted by that lingering feeling of unease that is your subconscious telling you that you still have something left to do.

In another gross metaphor, think of it this way. Would you rather eat some whipped cream only to find poop at the bottom of your bowl, or the other way around? If we had to eat poop, you'd be sure we'd want to do it first so that you kill the taste with something decent at the end of the meal. When we go out for (vegetarian) sushi, Monkey always makes a big deal about lining up his sushi in the correct order to make sure that the "ending taste" is exactly what he's feeling up to that day. He knows that there is going to be a single taste that will linger in his mouth after dinner, so he wants it to be his favorite.

If you just get the worst out of the way early, not only will you have taken care of some chore that you have a big resistance to doing, but then your day will be filled with more and more good things. End on a happy note, so that's what you're thinking about when you go to bed, and you can get a decent night's sleep.

Speaking of a tasty note to end on, this is the last week to get your Narwhal x Unicorn t-shirt "You're Not Alone Anymore" for $5 off the normal price in our pre-order sale! The shirts are being printed this week and will go out soon! Get yours now!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nourish Your Passions

While we might not have the best sleep schedules, please don't take this graph too seriously. Get some rest!

Most of what we write about on the blog deals with life as a professional artist. Usually, that means we talk about things like motivation, finding outlets for your work, inspiration, success, goals, and other stuff like that. However, today, we want to speak a little bit about the other, rarely-spoken-about aspect of an artist's life: other passions.

While it is hard enough to keep on nourishing your art, especially if you're not a 100% full-time artist (someone who is making a living solely off of their art), you also cannot neglect your other dreams and passions.

While this seems a bit contradictory to a lot of the success formulas we've talked about before, we think it's crucial as a human being, and will help prevent burnout as an artist. While this might not apply to you if your only passion in life is art, for us, we have many things in life that we enjoy besides just creating art. We both love to cook, like the outdoors, enjoy sports and dancing, and love music. Granted, painting, designing, and illustrating are our top choices of activities, but when it's all you do, you can easily burn out.

Recently, Monkey has taken a bit of time out of going 110% full-out art-business mode and taken a bit of time to experiment in the kitchen again. He really enjoys coming up with new recipes and recently made the time to come up with two gourmet vegan sandwiches.

While Saturday nights in the Monkey + Seal household are usually spent blogging, researching, or creating concept art, we took the night off recently to head out to a friend's birthday party. The 80's music was going non-stop and we had a blast dancing the night away.

We'll be the first to admit that we're not the all-art-all-the-time artists that some might aspire to be. We're not as famous as James Jean or David Choe or Sam Flores or Tim Burton, many of whom have hustled non-stop for years and worked their asses off to get where they are. But, we also know that while the hustle of an artist takes crazy amounts of dedication, time, and blood, sweat, and tears, if you go too long without a break you won't make it either.

Spend time with friends and family. If you enjoy writing, work on it for 15 minutes at least once a week. Take your time a bit in the kitchen if you like cooking. While we highly encourage you to prioritize your art, just make sure that you're not letting it completely take over your life. Having it take over most of your life is okay, but just don't give it all of it.