Friday, December 3, 2010

Savoring Time

(Illustration Friday Topic: Savour)

Seal here:

This week, Seal participated in Illustration Friday, a great online resource where artists can be inspired by weekly art challenges and build a creative community. The topic for this week was "Savour."

It really made me think about the idea of time: how to savour it. Time is used: to do what we enjoy doing (art), what we don't like doing but have to do (work/errands), resting (sleeping or taking breaks), or escaping (when you don't even remember what you did the last two hours, like video games, browsing the internet, or watching tv reruns - you can't even remember what you watched).

So how can we honor time? How can we savour it? How can we make use of it, whether we are creating, working, resting, or escaping, in the most effective manner? When I say "effective," I don't mean in a militant-rigid type of way, but that it's enjoyable, that you are present, and aware that you are DOING something. (Resting/breaking also count, they are also verbs, you are (do-ing) rest-ing/ sleep-ing.)

Time is flexible and pliable. Activities can either "take up a lot of time" or "we forget about time," something dreadful or dreamy feels "like forever" and other things go by in an instant ("where does the time go?" we ask ourselves).

In order to make use of our time, we need to take a look at the word: Savour.

Sa.vour. -
To appreciate fully; enjoy or relish
A distinctive quality or sensation
[to taste] (life)
The power to excite interest

Savour is a sexy word. How many of us appreciate our day and time fully? Actually smell and taste our morning coffee? Do you taste life? Are you excited? Engaged and interested in the work you are doing throughout your day? When we are creating, working, resting, or escaping, do you make the conscious decision: "this is how I will spend my next 15min, hour, half a day, a week on 'X'" ?

When we taste something and are aware of its specific distinctive qualities (a juicy, textured ripe orange), or when we are passionately interested in something, (painting the difference between the soft fur of a cat, the coldness of shiny metal, the exact curve and idiosyncratic expression of our lover's face), for that moment, we stop time. We are aware, present, enjoying, and savouring. We do not care what else is happening outside, we are engaged with life. Time is well spent.

How do you spend your time? Are you savouring it? Draw a circle. It is your pie/ pizza chart. You have 24 hours in a day: What percentage of your day is used for 1) things you like to do 2) things you don't like to do 3) resting 4) escaping? You can even draw a different chart with your own personal categories: I have one that divides: 1) Time spent on art 2) work 3) health 4) friends/ family 5) personal enrichment 6) break/ resting activities 7) entertainment. How much of your lifetime is spent on doing things you love?

Don't be alarmed if most of your pie slice consists of work or doing things for other people. (Most pie charts are unfortunately like this). The answer is to free up more time to do more of what you love. (hire an intern, a maid, a friend to do your busywork, say "no" to more workload, move into your career field, get paid to do what you love doing).

If you cannot free up more time, the trick is to savour the moment, even when you are working or doing something you don't necessarily want to do. In order to do this, you need to consciously make the decision to use that time in a specific way. "I am working from 9-4pm."

When you are conscious of the decision to use your time in a specific way, you give yourself the agency and awareness - you are choosing to do this. When it's time to work, you work. Don't daydream about your next vacation - you'll slow down the process. Get it over with and then when the time comes, you can fully enjoy your vacation. "I am resting for 30minutes before the next project." I am consciously fully resting for the entirety of 30 minutes, instead of juggling eating dinner while still working by the computer, I am enjoying and savoring my rest. You can work more efficiently after you have fully rested. Otherwise, your body will continue to run, but your mind and soul have already checked out- which is often why life feels like a blur.

When you name your time, you give yourself the permission to fully engage in that activity - you are savoring.

The last tip is you need to create personal goals in all aspects of your life.
"to contribute more at work meetings"
"enter more art competitions and craft shows"
"call friends more"
"surprise my partner, by taking out the trash first"

You can savour time, when you consciously engage to work for yourself, to mark changes in your personal growth, to choose to be present in life, no matter the activity or circumstances.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tooting Your Horn x Chillin Productions!

There are so many factors that makes for a successful and renown artist: timing, subject matter, connections, art competitions, peers, subjective judgment, talent, and even luck. As artists we are quick to attribute our success to any of the factors accept ourselves. We are afraid to toot our own horn and take credit for all the hard work, time, energy and money we put into our work. We are afraid of being judged as "egotistical."

On the other extreme, we have artists who are quick to butt into every conversation and talk about what they did, and how great they are, and how much they contributed to the project. They ramble on and on about how awesome they are without ever stopping to take a breath or ask you your opinion and just start listing off names of other established artists who they know. Totally obnoxious and annoying.

However, there is a happy medium between being too timid and being an egotistical jerkwad. After all, in the art field, it often necessary to toot our own horn. But there is a difference between bragging (the good kind) and being an asshat. Because what we create is very personal and a reflection of what is in our imagination, we are often afraid to really talk about our own work as in essence we're talking about ourselves. However, we highly encourage you talking about your own work, but you can't get lost in your own ego.

That said, time for some cheerful bragging: So about 5-6 years ago, Monkey got invited out into the city with some friends who had heard about this event at some nightclub where there were hundreds of artists, fashion designers, with live painting and music. Although he's typically not the nightclub type of guy, because it was art, he was in. It was a huge venue with tons of awesome art, cool music, and it was a lot of fun! Even back then (this was waaay before art school, mind you), Monkey was inspired.

Fast forward a few years. Monkey hears about Chillin' Productions, and realizes that this is the VERY SAME event (well, different artists and such, but you get the idea) that he had been to so many years ago. He contacts the organizer, shows the Monkey + Seal portfolio, and although we can't make it into the next show due to a schedule conflict, we're in with the organizer, and about four months later, we're signed up for the Holiday Show!

So, after a few years of waiting, this Saturday, Monkey and Seal's art will be displayed at the
Chillin’ Productions' annual Holiday show! Woot!

Over 200 Painters/Photographers
80 fashion Designers
Video Installations

Live Painting by:
Rachel Znerold
Jasper Thomas
Daryoush Bahar (

Live Music and DJ.

When: Saturday, December 4, 2010

Where: Mezzanine
444 Jessie Street, SF CA 94103
$10 at the door
Must be 21 + ID

For more details go to

It should be a pretty awesome show, and we're definitely looking forward to checking out all the other awesome art and enjoying some drinks, good music, and good people. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Change of Perspective

Hello everyone! We hope you all had a good holiday this past Thursday! Sorry for the lack of a post on Friday..we announced in on twitter, but we realized a bit late that not all our readers follow our blog... (doh!) Many apologies!

Anyhoo, while we get ready for a few different shows (we'll be hanging work and hanging out at Chillin' Production's upcoming holiday show on 12/4 at Mezzanine, vending at Big Umbrella Studio's newest show on the 9th, and we'll be at Bazaar Bizarre Holiday at Fort Mason on the 11th and 12th), here's a little something for when you feel like you're running a bit low on inspiration.

When you're running low on inspiration, a great way to get your creative juices flowing is to take something you've been currently working on and turn it on it's head. What we mean by that is taking something familiar (and that you might be getting bored with), and trying to retell it from a different point of view.

If you're telling a story about a man who sits on a chair, try retelling the story from the perspective of the chair! If you paint portraits of cats, try taking one of your favorite pieces and then paint what the cat in that portrait was looking at. If you write music, try playing a piece you've written backwards.

This technique works great as it's something utterly familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. You'll learn new things about the original piece you're basing your new creation upon, and you'll find yourself challenged by thinking in a way that you don't usually think. At the very least, you'll have something new that will challenge your conventions (which is usually just the thing to inspire you anew).

Changing up your perspective is a great tool to teach you new things about yourself, your subject, and the way that you look at things. It'll push and challenge your thinking and frame of reference, and it might even inspire a whole new body of work! Try it and let us know how it goes!