I have been working as a strategic illustrator for about twelve years now drawing live images for Fortune 100 or NFP companies as they create strategies or brainstorm new ideas. But in my personal/non-working time, I don’t often create much artwork. Last year, however, I was invited to show some of my work in a local clothing store here in Ballard. For the first time I had to create a series of drawings. The experience was interesting, I didn’t really know what to do, so I asked for a lot of guidance from my friend and collaborator Scott Ward. Scott is an amazing painter and artist I rely on when I am looking for great ideas or need help with studio work. You can definitely see his influence in the drawings I created for this show. I didn’t really know what my own style was, so these drawings felt more tentative – probably because that’s how I felt about my artwork.
Later in year, while on a long plane ride, I watched a movie about the career of Jean-Michel Basquiat – who created these stunning, multi-faceted images that reflected the culture and his experience of the world around him. The movie really inspired me; I loved his style of creating art – it was fast and a little rough, it felt similar to how I drew in the work world – where I am always listening and capturing as quickly as I can the metaphors, images and words people are expressing.
On the flight back home I got an idea for a drawing, did a rough preliminary sketch and went into the studio and went at it. I didn’t force myself to be careful or worry about the colors or composition. With this more free approach, my own voice and style began to emerge. I felt myself come into alignment with the power of me.
The trains in Ballard go by our house 22 times a day and every night at 3:20 AM they seem to blare their horns even longer and louder. It has disrupted my sleep since we moved into this house 5 years ago and I wanted to express that in the drawing. When it was finished, I felt my own true expression had definitely emerged. While the drawing is chaotic and rough, it’s funny and filled with color and it actually feels like it represents my essence as both a person and an artist. I created it without the usual chatter from my inner critic or concern about perfection in blending or composition. It is exactly what it is.
My goal for 2011 is to consciously align to my core, knowing that this is one of the best ways to bring the fullness of who I am into every experience I have. From this core I show up and serve life better.
In this year, how might you align more fully to yourself and your own power? Here’s to taking the risk to express your core essence in all that you do. Write me a note or post about your experience so others might find the courage to step into the “new” part of the new year.
Until then, may 2011 be all you dream of!