I recently did an interview with Urban Craft Uprising! I’ll be doing their show in December up in Seattle at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, and I’m very excited for it! If you missed the interview, here it is:
It has always been a dream of mine to be able to make a painting and then turn it into something I can wear. It has been so exciting getting to do this! I want to make enough of these painted skirts so the whole world can wear them! I know it sounds hyperbolic but it's truly my dream! And I don't mind working hard to make this a reality. Working hard is the key. Yes, enjoying what you do comes first, but then work your butt off at it! Stay focused and don't lose track of your goals and aspirations. Dreams are freaking important! Stop procrastinating right this instant and become the powerful creature you always wanted to be! In a world of disaster, a striking lack of empathy, and a plentitude of disturbingly abhorrent people, the world can always use a big dose of wonderfully inspiring, powerful creatives. Be the remedy. Get to it!
At the beginning of the year I thought I would attend college again and finish my degree. For the few weeks I was there, the most interesting thing I did was make a pipe cleaner plant sculpture (pictured above). I imagined a world where things like this really did grow out of the ground. I enjoy thinking of worlds like this. I wanted to see what going back to college felt like, if it felt like the right step. It wasn't. And that's ok - I don't regret the experience. It's simply that, on certain occasions, one needs to have the experience before making the decision. I call it "feeling it out". Like a baker kneading out the dough before putting it in the oven.
I work at a fabric store and we spend the mornings cleaning the store before we open. Since I started my own wearable-art business, I feel it's good protocol to do this before I start working. It feels very necessary. Otherwise the mess just gets messier and it can be difficult to feel inspired and creative. And it gets messy FAST when you're painting and sewing, cutting fabric, piecing fabric out on the floor, etc. You must keep your space clean! You must! You must! I was thinking of this the other day; how much of our lives we spend tidying up. As a creative, the mess-maker in me comes so naturally. It's all part of the territory though, when you're a maker.
I have a few more days left to take photos and create garments before I apply to my first show. The deadline is this Friday, April 6th. I'm nervous and very excited of course. I hope I get in!
The way I've been making clothes so far has felt starkly similar to the way I paint. I guess it's only natural. And my goal for my business is to make artwork you can wear, so if it didn't feel like I was painting with fabric then I'd be concerned. This natural evolution into creating art-wear has felt like a burst of fresh air into my creative life. Yes, technically I'm creating an inventory of items to sell, working tirelessly, but I get so lost in the joy of the process of making that it stops feeling like anything resembling work, but instead a creative trance. One to delve deep into and get utterly lost in. This is always my happy place. On occasion, I'll look at my work, including this fabric piece, and it starts to appear to me as a hallucination that's taken physical form. Sadly I can't hole up in a room making paintings all day every day, otherwise I'd go insane. Balance is welcome. I'm always seeking it. But some days are exactly that, especially recently: me holed up in my creative space, making art all day. Eventually I'd like this to occur in my own house, plus a garden to take care of, animals, a family. Everyone wants their own little piece of bliss, and some people, me included, even go so far as to suss it out in extreme detail in their imaginations. I'll get there eventually. You live what you create. Create your life and be constantly surprised.
I've considered starting my own business for what seems like quite awhile now. I was always so timid to do so, though.
Fast forward to now, and forget about all this timidness business. My wearable art clothing business has begun.
With deadlines for shows I'll be applying for in mind, I've been a workhorse, creating all the inventory 1 person possibly can. Making and making until I can't keep my eyes open. I've been on quite a roll. It actually seems as though I've never been more creatively productive in my entire life. It can be absolutely tiring but that's quite alright because boy is it ever so satisfying and joyous to create so extensively.
I'm walking into all this still terrified at times because I'm learning as I go, but also much more confident than I've ever been. Confident with my creative voice, and walking forth with clear intentions.
The above image is a quick shot of pieces in progress I worked on last night. Some of these faces will be made into stuffed pins, others will be used as appliqués for dresses and shirts. Creating enough inventory for my business means making about a million of these faces everyday, which is what I’ve been doing. It means ceaseless sewing, painting, creating. Thankfully it’s a joy, otherwise it would just be a lot of hard work and nothing more. And joy, as far as I can tell, is the main ingredient in the longevity of any small business. It's actually also considered a pretty damn important ingredient in life, as well. Who knew?
Hi hi hi! What is it? What am I holding? What do you see? So many things! Ahhh!
"We are the goon squad and we're coming to town. Beep beep!"
I've loved playing dress-up ever since I can remember. Expressing myself this way has always made sense to me. And everything about it is simply fun. Especially when you get to make the clothes you wear.
1. The thing I'm wearing around my neck I call a 'Couture Bib'. It's covered in extensive collage work and is an explosion of color (just how I like it). People normally wear bibs to prevent a possible food-spillage catastrophe all over their clothes but, poetically speaking, the "food" in this case is already spilled all over this bib in the most dramatic way possible, so it saves you a step! This is what makes it 'couture' of course: poetically efficient. Stains of color all over the freakin' place! Fabric food! Fabric is just so yummy. It's the yummiest non-edible thing that's ever existed.
2. My mom was in Japan recently and got me these fun pants (not pictured is the incredible polka-dot pockets in the back). Japanese fashion is so visually intoxicating and utterly delicious. These are some of my favorite pants now.
3. It was a chilly, overcast morning so I'm also wearing my black sweater with all the detailed white embroidery that took ages to finish. But I embroidered it like nobody's business regardless because embroidery is one of my various, necessary meditations. Life can feel like it's overflowing with so much stress. Everyone needs their meditations. Whether this means actually sitting down and meditating or embroidering for hours like me. Anything that truly calms the mind and body for an extended period of time, or however long you can swing it, should be a daily practice! It's imperative for one's health.
Health Benefits of Daily Meditation:
If it's not a day I'm embroidering, I try to do some actual meditation. There was a study done at Harvard that found meditation could actually change the structure of the brain. In a matter of eight weeks, they found that daily meditation appears to shrink the amygdala, otherwise known as the brain's "fight or flight" center. This part of the brain is associated with fear and emotion and is involved in our body's response to stress. While this part of the brain shrinks, our pre-frontal cortex becomes thicker. The pre-frontal cortex is associated with awareness, concentration, and decision-making. Thus, all in all, meditation is an incredible thing that is capable of replacing our more primal responses to stress by more thoughtful ones, which is always a helpful tool to have in your back pocket. In my book, it's a necessary tool. No one likes it when stress takes you over and you feel powerless to it's chaos. Luckily, a daily meditation practice over time can prevent this unnecessary take-over. Mindfulness, in every aspect of life, is always key.
Sometimes you have one of those days where you can't seem to do anything right. Where all you seem able to do is fumble. You try to finish something but it turns out wrong. You try to barrel through and keep going anyway, though, hoping this peculiar day full of false-starts and frustrations will turn around and you'll finally experience the relief of accomplishment, however small. You haven't given up quite yet.
Ok, so here you are, determined. You're making an effort on this weird day. Meanwhile, your brain isn't helping because it is unmistakably flooded with the fervent desire to be with the person you love. You miss them. But they don't wish to be with you at this moment in their life. They were with you a lot. But now they suddenly don't want to be "in a relationship". Girlfriend/boyfriend. They say maybe in the future. When our lives are more solidly worked out and put together. As if being together while figuring it all out is an impossibility. It's okay to "hang out" though.
Ok then. We can hang out. I'm trying to stay relaxed about the whole thing. One should never stress out over the many millions of things they have no control over.
All you can do is have clear boundaries and be a strong person. And don't necessarily hold on so tightly to any dramatic perspective. "Everything or nothing". Most of the time life is fairly messy and it doesn't exactly work like this. Thankfully, I have found that most unresolved things in my life that are the cause of grief, stress, or any kind of anxiety, have a way of resolving themselves without the need for me to meddle. There is a fair amount as a human that is absolutely out of your control. And I know that things are often more complicated than meets the eye. Make no assumptions. Just take a breath, and be okay. You don't have to figure every little thing out right this second.
Human relationships can seem more frustrating than they're worth. In fact, being a human can feel more frustrating than it's worth.
I was trying to finish a painting last night. And it just never happened. The colors weren't working and I was making all the wrong decisions and getting so caught up in the smallest details for so long that the whole thing stopped making sense to me.
I often question my ability to judge when something is finished or not. Sometimes I know, but most of the time it seems like I go too far. Like maybe if I had stopped at that one moment then it would've been perfect.
You have this relationship with what you're expressing. And ideally there is a smooth communication from inside your art-organ, all the way to the outside world. There was a blockade last night. Most would call it creative frustration. Writer's block, but with imagery. Caused most likely by what you could call a love block. You have to be this strong force of nature, enjoying your own life without them in it, even though all you can think about is how it's simple for you. You love them and you want to share your life with them. The life you're in the middle of constantly creating and reinventing. But apparently it's not simple like that for them. And you just have to somehow be okay with that even though it hurts. You have to let it be what it is for now. Whatever it is. I don't know.
I wish I had been able to finish the painting. When I experience this amount of creative frustration I naturally start to question everything. My ability, my self-worth. I tailspin into a dark, heavy cloud of nihilism. But then I am always somehow able to find my footing again. Find meaning in the world. In my life. It's all a process. Up and down. Black and blue. Night and day. And everything in between.
Hi! I'm used to hiding as an artist. Throwing my art in a drawer and leaving it at that. This is no way to live. It's a very bad habit. It made me feel isolated and utterly alone. I'm not a tiny, little modest art mouse anymore. I'm burning my little cave up and finally exposing my world that I've kept so well hidden all these years. This inner world of mine has so many creatures in it and so much color. It's always an exciting world to be in but it can also feel overwhelming. I can barely sleep sometimes because my brain just won't shut off and shut up. Being able to share everything I make here will be such a relief. This website is my "hello" to the world.
"Hello outside world. Welcome to my inner world. A place where every dream comes true, and when you see a cauliflower it reminds you that you have to call a flower because you missed their call, and you don't wish to be rude. Especially if it's a sunflower. Or a neptuneflower. Really any of the planet flowers. Call 'em back."
I find myself in my 20's without a license and it's been making me feel like such a dingus. And so I'm currently on a mission. A mission to be the best driver the world has ever seen, and I'm very determined. Absolutely nothing shall deter me from this automobile-independence quest I'm on. After going into the DMV recently and taking the permit test twice in a row and failing twice in a row, I'm now actually going to read the entire freakin' Driver's Handbook and actually know my shit before I take it a 3rd time. I want to pass this dumb test and move forward and finally get my driver's license. Once I get it, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm going to jump up and down and do a little dance. Scratch that. A big dance. Dopamine flooding my brain, I'll probably feel like a brand new person. A person who can cruise down a beautiful highway with the top down, the wind blowing through her hair, blasting Nirvana from the stereo. Yes, it's an extremely romantic fantasy. But that's okay, because these romantic automobile fantasies are going to make this long interim period between now and actually having my license more bearable. Plus, romantic fantasies are awesome. Anyone who disses them and advocates living in "reality" 100% of the time can go suck on a dirty tire.
*Sam's Natural Beauty Tips*
Tip #1: The Camu Camu Face Mask
The camu camu face mask, or rather, the 'myrciaria dubia' mask, is my new favorite thing to do when I wake up in the morning. It's so healing and healthy for the skin and always makes it feel so soft. Not only do I put it on my face as a mask, but I also sprinkle a tiny bit in some water and drink it first thing when I wake up. Camu camu famously has 10x more vitamin C than 1 orange. Vitamin C is immune boosting, a natural energy booster, is heart-healthy, has been linked to a lower cancer rate, and lower blood pressure, and is an anti-viral. Who wouldn't want to consume a healthy, potent dash of all this goodness upon first waking up?
INFO / AWARENESS:
Myrciaria dubia is a small tree from the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Brazil. It bears a red/purple, tart, cherry-like fruit. This fruit is extremely high in vitamin C content and that's why it's considered a 'superfood' (or 'superhero food' as I prefer to call it).
Wild camu camu fruit has long been used by the people native to where it grows, unknown to mostly everyone else. But in our current, technologically-driven, information-saturated, global culture, almost nothing can be kept a secret anymore. Once people from around the world found out about its health benefits, it became very popular - advertised and advocated as a necessary addition to one's health-food cabinet.
With camu camu's recent, extreme popularity on a global scale, it means large-scale cultivation of this species of plant which has caused serious issues. Overharvesting of camu camu has threatened to make it an endangered species. Overharvesting is a very bad thing. It fucks with the ecosystem of that particular area.
As a consumer, one should be responsible, which means being aware of exactly what you're buying and exactly where it comes from. Thus, when purchasing camu camu powder, it is very important that it is sustainably harvested, organic, fair-trade, and non-GMO. According to my research, I found 3 companies that fit the bill: Navitas Organics (https://www.swansonvitamins.com/navitas-naturals-raw-camu-camu-powder-3-oz-pkg), Sunfood Superfoods (https://www.vitacost.com/sunfood-raw-organic-camu-camu-powder), and Kiva (https://www.kivahealthfood.com/products/camu-camu-berry-powder). If purchasing from a different company that sells camu camu, that's totally fine, but just always be sure to do proper research before purchasing so as to avoid advocating unsustainable practices that fuck up ecosystems.
THE MASK (the one starring Camu Camu, not Jim Carrey):
Ok, back to the mask. Once you have your super-duper healthy, sustainably harvested camu camu powder, the only other thing you need is water. And then you make the paste, and apply! The consistency is up to you. If you like a thinner mask, just add more water. Mix with a clean finger and then apply paste to face and any other part of the body that is calling out for some vitamin C goodness.
Leave on for 10-20 min, then gently wash off with lukewarm or cold water. In my experience, camu camu is extremely non-irritating to the skin. It doesn't dry your face out like a clay mask would. But, if left on for too long, it can still dry your face out a little bit, which is not what you want of course. So definitely set a timer, or keep your eyes peeled to a trusty clock.
I've done this mask multiple days in a row with no issue. Like I said, it's very non-irritating. But, I think it's always better for your skin to give it a break. So, I'd suggest doing it every other day at the most. And taking a longer break from it, too every once in awhile. In my experience, giving your skin a break from any routine is always a good thing to do.
The great thing about this mask is that it's edible. I believe this is always a good rule of thumb when deciding what beauty products to use. If you can't eat it, don't use it! On the days you're taking a break from putting it on your face, you can sprinkle a tiny bit in water and drink it (you only need the tiniest bit because it's very potent). This way, you still get the health benefits to your skin without having to actually put it on your skin. It's like magic! Yay!
This mask is just so freakin' cool. It keeps the skin healthy, preventing wrinkles, and helping to repair blemishes (or as I like to call them, boo-boos). Yay for camu camu! Three cheers for myrciaria dubia! Now try saying 'myrciaria dubia' 10 times really fast. Wow, you did it! You're truly an amazing genius! Yay!
The tank top is finished! And just in time for the cold, cold, rainy winter. Yay! Fuzzy hair, big, captivating eyeballs, a nose, green cloth teeth, and big red flannel-shirt lips. I love creating faces like this and it's super fun to do it for clothing. I love transforming the boring into something utterly enticing. Something intriguing and full of color and playfulness. Beautiful monsters are one of my favorite things. I've been creating them for as long as I can remember. And now I've finally found myself creating them in a way where I can actually wear them which is so incredibly enjoyable and exciting.
I've been obsessed with perfecting my personal wardrobe and transforming every piece into a work of art. And I'm almost there. I only have about 20 million pieces left to go. I'll probably be creating new pieces of clothing like this for as long as I'm alive. And now that I think of it, I'll probably still be making art even after I've died and become a zombie. In between chasing down my brain snacks, I'll sit down and draw. Why not? Who says I can't be an artist zombie? I can see it now. The night grows darker and darker, my belly full of brains rumbles, and I turn on the lights in my art studio and create all night. Or at least until I'm hungry for brains again.
I'm excited to keep sharing my artwork with you. Keep your eyes peeled! I've been a creative factory. Lots in the making!
*MADE EYEBALLS LAST NIGHT*
And it was very fun. I mean, who doesn't need an extra set of eyeballs?
I've been working on individual facial features for a clothing project. Last night I made the eyeballs and today I'll finish the nose. I'm calling it the 'Who Nose?' tank top. I've already sewn on the red flannel mouth and the sea-foam green teeth and the fuzzy purple hair and once I sew on the eyes and nose, I'll be able to call it a day and move onto the next project. Hallelujah!
Also, exciting news! My artistic YouTube channel with time-lapses of my art-making is up and running! And this video here of me creating these eyeballs is my very first time-lapse. Watch! Subscribe! Comment! Hooray!
It's so damn fun to make these time-lapses. I highly recommend it for every artist out there. Documenting your artistic process is a very satisfying feeling. I've also noticed that it inspires an amount of discipline in me that I've been sorely lacking. I want the time-lapse to culminate in a finished piece and thus I'm inspired to actually sit at my table until the piece is finished. In the past, I've gotten overwhelmed at the 'finishing' part, which explains my overly abundant drawer of 'unfinished work'.
I don't like it. Rarely finishing any project and then having them stack up is not an enjoyable feeling. I'm trying to break out of this bad habit once and for all, and these time-lapses are definitely helping me accomplish this. I really enjoy working my butt off and finishing every project I start and I'm excited to share every single finished piece of artwork with all you folks! YAY!
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There are times when your life feels like one big, continuous 'error page' with no letting up. What is the opposite of error? Non-error. Everything is right. Everything is on track. You didn't drop that bowl, you didn't accidentally fall on the sidewalk and hit your head, you didn't do this or that endless parade of things that could be considered a big fat mistake. But then you hear the people say mistakes are how you learn. Learn from fucking up utterly, then pick yourself up and proceed again without mistake. You get to play the part of a real-life computer glitch. Fuzzy then back to normal. VHS. Rewind and re-do. Or you don't learn one bit and you keep fucking up. Everyone is different in what they glean from what they see as their mistakes. How can we lift ourselves up from a mess that we've made? How can we move forward and be better this time? Not break it, not keep making that same mistake? I don't quite know how to put a good answer into words. It all simply feels like one big giant mess sometimes. And that's what it is, until it's not. Everything is a process, and all you can do sometimes is weave your way through until you get to the light at the end of the tunnel; that momentary light after all that darkness. Appreciate the hell out of it before it goes away again. It's that big wide-open space where you can breath again for a little bit and you're grateful for the elation. Feels like happiness. Feels like an epiphany. It is.