The Artist's Way - Introduction and Week 1 Update

This is going to be a long one with a lot of text and no new content from me. I’ll get back to getting some pretty pictures up and running soon. Just bear with me for a little bit since this takes some time to set up.


Introduction:

So here we are. I never thought for a minute I’d be in any position to be talking about self-help anything. Much less buckling down and following any sort of program or path. After hearing it come up on several Podcasts I listen to regularly (Shout out to Kyle from This is Rad and Anna from 12 Questions)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/12-questions/id1050716646?mt=2

I decided to finally break down and give it a shot.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a self help book (in case that wasn’t 100% obvious) which can best be easily described by the below Wikipedia entry:

The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection with God.

The ideas in creative personal development outlined in the book, which were felt to be new at the time of the publication, are said to have become a phenomenon and spawned into many meet-ups and support groups throughout the world. The group meetings are based on a 12-week creativity course designed for people to work through and gain artistic inspiration, as outlined in the book. The program is focused on supporting relationships in removing artistic blocks and fostering confidence
— Wikipedia

The book provides a list of 10 Principals, 12 weeks of exercises, and on top of all two main excercises:

First, Write three freeform-longhand pages first thing upon waking up. This is used as a form of meditation and is meant to help get the creative gears turning by getting out ideas that are stuck inside. These Morning Pages are not to be shared with anyone but the person creating them during the course of the 12 weeks.

Second, Take yourself on one “artist date” per week to help “put gas in the tank”.

So if you know me at all you will likely have noticed a few glaring issues that need to be adjusted. I am in no way, shape, or form a “Godly” man, and really have no intentions to be. This direct verbiage and reference to God was something that really held me back from going through and working the steps presented.

After some googling I found a blogger named Tae Phoenix who some years ago broke down and re-wrote the 10 Principals to better focus inward instead of on the God aspect. That blog post can be found here:

https://taephoenix.com/2012/12/27/a-skeptics-guide-to-the-artists-way-core-principles/


If you are looking to try this for yourself along with me I probably also would recommend a free PDF that was created by Lianne Williams

https://liannewilliams.com/blog/my-free-the-artists-way-worksheets

I wish I had found these before spending a few hours longhand transferring Week 1’s Activities into my notebook. And who knows, I may end up printing off a copy anyway and using it anyway.

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So with my notebook, and text in hand there was only one other thing that I needed. A partner.

Back when I first started talking about taking on this project, I brought it up to blog favorite Nikki Nuke’m at her Husband’s birthday party earlier this year.

Side note, aren’t they both just adorable

Being an artist (and going through some things) herself, I felt she would be a great “Battle Buddy” for me. We both decided to start the journey as soon as DragonCon was over. Which leads us pretty much up to the present. Nikki and I will be meeting together each Sunday for a check in, and in-between my plan is to share my thoughts in a roughly coherent fashion here as they come through.

I don’t plan to play-by-play each and every thought I have during this process, but hope to hit some highlights that maybe will help work through some insights on your end. It should become pretty clear as things go along. So without further ado:


Week 1 Tasks:

  • Complete Morning Pages (x7)

  • Complete Artist’s Date (x1)

  • Affirmations and Blurts Worksheet (read the book)

  • Complete at least 1 other exercise from week 1 readings


Day 0:

I spent the better part of an hour free-handing the updated Principals and Week 1’s Homework into my notebook. I already wish I had bought a bigger notebook. I have a feeling if I tried to complete every assignment that I’ll quickly run out of pages. I got a good start through on a couple of extra exercises. Looks like I’ll be completing at least 2 this week. In the future I probably shoot for 100% completion, but of course…notebook.

I took myself on my first “Artist Date”. As suggested I went over to the dollar store. Spent a few bucks on stickers, thank you cards, and a bath bomb. YOLO?


Day 1:

(I started tweeting my thoughts before I decided to actually make this a running blog post)

  “I can already tell that waking up early is going to be an issue. I was 12 minutes late getting out of the house today. In Atlanta traffic those 12 minutes put me almost 30 minutes late to work.”

“I can already tell that waking up early is going to be an issue. I was 12 minutes late getting out of the house today. In Atlanta traffic those 12 minutes put me almost 30 minutes late to work.”

  “Of course, I find a crazy-cool PDF of TAW assignments after I spend yesterday free-handing a bunch of stuff. Since I've already been spoiled that the entire process is to keep working the steps...maybe I'll use it for next time.”

“Of course, I find a crazy-cool PDF of TAW assignments after I spend yesterday free-handing a bunch of stuff. Since I've already been spoiled that the entire process is to keep working the steps...maybe I'll use it for next time.”

I wonder how Nikki is doing. I sure hope these next 12 weeks aren’t a waste of time for either of us.


Day 2:

Man…the last few minutes of today are dragging along. OH! I have some exercises I can knock out.


Day 3:

Just found myself thinking on the drive home from work:

 I’m a little ashamed that “I’ll go to the museum” came before “I’ll go to the Cat Cafe” as an artist date idea.

I’m a little ashamed that “I’ll go to the museum” came before “I’ll go to the Cat Cafe” as an artist date idea.


Day 6: 

I went on a bonus artist date today, mostly because with business travel next week I don’t know how much time I’m going to have. But in doing so I found both a small art gallery just a few miles from my house AND came across the most on brand art exhibit I think I have ever been to  

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Ended up going to see the new Predator movie with a friend. And it likely may just be a placebo effect, but I really liked it. Unlike most movies that I go to where I pick them apart super harshly, this one actually made me laugh and I walked away feeling good about it.


UNEXPhotography - The First 10 Years

This blog post is directly inspired by Renee Robyn. Go check out her work, and prepare to be amazed. I first heard about Renee on The Angry Millennial Podcast (RIP) a few years ago. Immediately I fell in love with her free flowing use of the word “Fuck” and her honesty.

We may have only met once for an awkward high five at Photo Plus Expo a few years ago, but I still like to see the latest work that she produces and keep in touch.

 The blog post that inspired this one.

The blog post that inspired this one.


So now is where things are going to get a little embarrassing. I’m about to dig into the archive and pull some of my photos from the beginning.

I already can feel the pit of my stomach getting deeper and deeper, even though I know that learning is a part of the process. Dunning Kruger is one hell of a drug.

 Basically in short this chart can be applied to anything. It states that your level of confidence in how good you are at something Peaks at both when you have zero skills, and then again when you really are an expert, but dips lower when you are average.

Basically in short this chart can be applied to anything. It states that your level of confidence in how good you are at something Peaks at both when you have zero skills, and then again when you really are an expert, but dips lower when you are average.

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2007 - This was was taken on one of my first rolls of film for an Intro to Photography class. I'll admit that even still I have another shot from this series in my portfolio. But looking back at this one all I can see is busy background, uncomfortable model, stupid hat (that was mine), and the undeniable fact that I really needed to be MUCH closer to the model.

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2015 - Much better. Still a little far away from the subject, but in this case it works. The background is much more solid, and the model is much more comfortable. A little photoshop work to remove distractions and this turned into a much better shot.

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2008 - Yes. Before you ask. I actually delivered this photo to the clients. And Yes, I got paid for this. I don’t remember how much, but that doesn’t really matter. I just hope it wasn’t anything too outrageous. “Why yes, I’ve never shot a wedding before, so let me go into it with a 50mm lens and zero concept of how to freeze motion”. I’m sorry Chris and Kay…I’m so sorry.

2018 - From just a few weeks ago (from a wedding that I haven’t even posted any images from yet…so, SURPRISE). I have so much respect for wedding photographers, even though this photo is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than the last one, it still just doesn’t feel right to me. But in the end the couple is happy, and thats what matters to me the most.

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2009 - This isn’t a BAD photo per se, but it’s just not an interesting one. I definitely could do something better with the white balance to remove the red stage lights, and probably would end up cropping more to make the singer the focus of the image.

2018 - But in comparison to the last one this image is just much more visually interesting, better colored (even though its black and white), and has a definite focus.

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2009 - This really is the beginning of where my style is starting come through. Admittedly I really don’t have any idea how lighting works outside of “Throw up some lights and let’s see what happens”. The focus is in the wrong place, and the lighting is far from even or all that flattering.

2018 - This is much better, I actually understand what lighting does and why it does what it does. It’s still mostly back-lit, but I understand how to sculpt the wrap around light to evenly cover the whole subject.


It’s really hard to look back over the last 10 years and see some of these attempts at what my style has become. Back then I was just a college student who applied for his first business license and really only picked up a camera to find something to do in his spare time. I don’t know if I ever thought that I would get to where I am at. But I could see what I wanted my images to be.

I talk about “The Gap” from Ira Glass a lot. In fact, every time it comes up I end up re-posting it in some way (Which I will be doing with this as well). Even though I cringe looking back at the old photos, and probably could have picked some MUCH worse examples of bad images, I’m ending up a lot more comfortable with myself because I can see that I am making progress.

Here is to the last 10 years, and to many more to come. What are some photos that you look back at with fear? How has your work progressed today? Hell, even broader, what changes have you made in your life personally that make you a better person today? Leave some comments below and let me know.

Sunday O'Dare - 2018.

I was introduced to Sunday by another friend of mine, the wonderful performer and all around boss guy, Don Rap,when they both attended an impromptu brunch meeting for my birthday earlier this year. 

I was struck by Sunday's very classic look and her vintage style.

A few months later when I was casting for the Sci-Fi show I remembered her, and reached out to see if she wanted to be a part of the project. Even though I eventually chose to go in another direction, we still kept each other in mind.

When I put out that I had some openings for TFP work, she reached out to me and after some begging of Don to use his sun-room, it was off to the races.

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We shot two different looks, but due to the changing lighting from the setting sun, we ended up capturing three different feeling sets of images. 

ARTETAK Presents: Science Fiction Art Show (+Kali Fornication - 2018).

So this is another project I've been working on and keeping under wraps (ha...this will make sense very soon) for a little while now. Around the same time I got the invite for the Occult Art Show at the end of June, I was made aware that there would be another show in July with a Sci-Fi theme.

After chatting with Artetak for a bit, and realizing that there aren't many photographic entries submitting to her shows, I, of course, made the decision to make something happen. 

I went through a couple of different ideas and concepts (I mean, when DON'T I think of seven different outcomes to the same problem?) and eventually settled on one playing with the idea of how "Technology" is really doing more to harm us than help. 

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So I put out a casting call to some of my friends, and ended up getting an almost immediate yes from the great Kali Fornication

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Once that part was settled, it was on to making the final preparations. With other thanks to my roommate and his box of random cables that were to be sent off for recycling, and a lot of help assistance from Evin (of Apologue Media) and my kink expert Silver we were off to the races. 
 

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The pieces we ended up shooting required a lot more post production than I usually put into my pieces, but I think the end result was still pretty neat. 

Straight out of camera, we ended up with a series of images like these:

And after a few hours in the editing phase (and many test prints to make sure things read just the way I wanted them too) we ended up with the following:

The last of which will be displayed in print (and be available for purchase) at Battle & Brew in Atlanta from Tonight - July 24th through the end of August (or so).

For those reading this blog post in the Atlanta area, be sure to drop by for the opening night!

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Battle & Brew
5920 Roswell Rd, Ste A-120
Sandy Springs, Georgia

Thanks again to everyone who helped me get this project completed, and as always stay tuned for more updates coming semi-regularly right here. 

Mundane Monsters - 1 – Ghost (and The Occult - An Art Show)

I was invited by the great Artetak to be a part of one of her ongoing art shows earlier this year, and unfortunately I wasn't able to attend. So when I heard that the next theme would be The Occult, I for sure had to reach out and see if the invitation still was available.

I went through a few different concepts, and wanted to make sure I did my friends who were members of various Occult organizations and trades (and myself being sort-of Occult-adjacent) right. I didn't want to offend by any means. 

I originally wanted to draw some sort of connection between the occult and science (and how the religious right can blur the lines between the two). But after some hard thought on the matter I felt it to be a bit on the nose. 

However during my brainstorming session I got the idea of a ghost doing laundry, which then evolved into the idea of a ghost doing a series of very mundane tasks. Below are some of those images: 

I had a blast shooting this series, and after some further thought on the matter I think I'd like to expand it into an ongoing project involving other sorts of Monsters. Maybe turn the whole collection into a book or something in the future. 


The final images that will be on display at the show will be below. I encourage you to come out and see them in person, as the web versions really don't do this justice. 


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https://www.empyreantattoo.com/
8610 Roswell Rd. Suite 140
Sandy Springs 30350

Big thanks to Kate for inviting me to show some work, as well as to the great Roux La La (Designs by Roux) for styling and modeling as the ghost-est with the most-est. 

Candida Valentina - Bump in the Night Goulesque

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