In the words of Charlie Brown....GOOD FRIGGIN' GRIEF!
It has been MONTHS since I blogged about something.
Is it because I have nothing to blog about?
NO. I have several things I have wanted to share!
Is it because I am a lazy mole-man** ?
**Mole-man behaviour occurs when I don't leave my basement for weeks at a time - sometimes painting in my actual pjamas! This phenomenon is also known as "Wiarton-Willie-Fever" - also known as the "Punksatony-Phil-Flu".
Maybe partially.....but honestly .....blogging just takes time I don't seem to have in a week....and I am not sure it helps my career in any way!! But it's a new year....so I thought I would try again!
Now....I would LOVE to promise you that I would get back to regular blogging (3 times a week)....but that would be a HUUUUGE lie! And I do not want to lie to you, you're my friend!(Or you're a spybot that is going to direct me to your off-brand Viagra pill site!)
Okay so since it is January, and almost "Let's Talk Day"...I thought I might talk about my own mental health a bit...
The truth is, I find January/February/March the HARDEST months. I am not sure if it is the winter related, or post-Christmas-blues, or end-of-year-taxes-sadness....but I genuinely find it hard....and I can be prone to depression....so I really need to WORK HARD to not fall down the rabbit hole of "poor me"!
I have talked fairly openly about my sensitive nature and how I find dealing with rejection challenging - in these old blog posts...
I have talked about loss and grief a lot as well (especially in my OLD blog!) Time and time again, I have also talked about ”the power of gratitude to heal and enhance your life” and about "running your own race".
But honestly, I find I still battle with this "compare and despair" mentality. Normally, I just need to write down my feelings and I can stop myself from getting caught up in it....so that's what I am doing here today!
Honestly, I blame social media for igniting the fires of doubt and then depression! Well...I guess FIRST, I have to blame my own insecurity...but THEN I blame social media!
I have been working as an artist for a LOOOOOONG time now, and now that I am at a certain point in my career, I really notice those who have surpassed me with their successes in the industry. I try not to, but I am bit weak! Ok.....so I blame my insecurities THEN my weakness, THEN social media! BLAME BLAME BLAME...ugh.
I then look at those who I helped when they were getting started, and notice those who have incredible things happen in their career, while I am still battling it out in the mud and rain in a park...
Then.....once I have headed that far down Poor Robbie Avenue,
(you don't wanna go there - it is a dark, sinister tree-lined road)
I look at the kids coming up who get INCREDIBLE opportunities, that I had to work like a MOFO to get....and I feel a sick feeling of "WHY YOU??" I get angry and envious....which is no doubt because I am a perfectionist....
BUT....my long suffering husband said something recently that helped me re-frame things....
He KNOWS I tend to compare my failures to other peoples successes.....and so he suggested that instead of focusing on the small percentage of my peers that "out success-ed" me, that I can look at the number that have not made it this 'far'.
Not to revel in other people's losses, but to help me focus on my own gains. I can then look at the newbies who get the opportunities that I don't, and instead of feeling jealousy, remember how hard it is to make success last in this career and focus on THAT sense of accomplishment.
I am calling it the "Elton John -I'm Still Standing" technique...
Don't you know that I'm still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
And I'm still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind
I'm still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm still standing. Yeah, yeah, yeah
Next time you get that awful feeling...and I KNOW I am not alone in this, just channel your inner Elton:
This winter (aka depression season) to keep living my own truth...to run my own race, to live laugh and love with gratitude. To be honest with others, and compassionate to those who need it. And to NOT be caught up in the number of followers I DON'T have on Instagram! Because that isn't important!
THAT seems like something I can do.
The Bitch is back!
(That's another Elton reference for those under age 30!)
Let's all do it!
And remember....if worse comes to worse.....
...and gosh darn it......people like you!
It's rare in the art business that you meet people who like your work enough to take a chance on you. Rarer still is to meet people that share your enthusiasm for building things TOGETHER!
The idea of building together is something that is very important to me. I grew up in the theatre world, where there was always a "we're all in this together" attitude! Everyone was working towards the same goal, and was mostly respectful of each other's part in it!
In the art world, it is often a bit dog eat dog. Your peers are often your competition. Galleries and retailers are often out to exploit your work or care very little about helping artists build and grow. It has always been the most frustrating part of the business for me!
I am fortunate that the galleries and retailers that I am represented by NOW have great enthusiasm for my work. I work WITH them, and have a relationship built on MUTUAL RESPECT and honesty.
I know that the people I work with will treat me well, because I will always treat them well. They will promote me, as much as I promote THEM! More than just honesty and respect, I now only work with people who are NICE!
Right Tay-tay??? WHY? The thing is, there are loads of people out there who are just out for themselves, and good for them, I guess. But I can't be involved in their biz-ness. I have been jerked around by a LOT of people in my professional career, which is too bad....but hd also taught me to trust my instincts and seek out people who are good at what they do, and ALSO good people.
Now why am I going on about this?
Because I was in Hamilton for the SUPERCRAWL as a guest of The Hamilton Store. During the day I got to spend a fair amount of time talking to Donna (the owner)....who is a complete delight! (and Mark who works at the store, and is also delightful!!) And we had a talk about the kind of relationships Donna has with her artists and vendors. It is remarkable. I count myself lucky that I get to be there!
As you know from my MANY MANY blog posts, The Hamilton Store (and Donna) are FANTASTIC! The store has so much MORE than just GREAT Hamilton gifts. There is a HUGE section of local edibles that even TORONTO people would fall in love with!Honestly such a nicely curated store!
NEXT TIME YOU ARE IN HAMILTON....YOU MUST MUST MUST go in!
And please say hello from Rob!
Also this past weekend I was talking a lot about WHY I was in Hamilton....considering I am not a Hamiltonian. I kept explaining that although I LOVE my own city, I also love Hamilton. They have been very nice to me, and the clients I have met appreciate my work! I think they also appreciate that I am not one of those jerky Toronto people...who want to change them, or put them down. I like Hamilton for it's faults and it's challenges, as much as for it's renewal and it's can do spirit!!! My friend Cindy Scaife and I even got a mention in the Hamilton Spectator:
THAT is what it is about!
I think if there was just a little bit more of that in the world...we would ALL be better off!
Thank you again Hamiltonians for your support this last weekend, and I look forward to coming again! And thanks to Donna and Mark and the rest of the staff at thehamiltonstore.caThe Hamilton Store for being so FREAKING FANTASTIC to work with!
Picture it....it was 11 years ago, I was showing my work on a cool, rainy Saturday in September at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto. Despite the nasty weather, there were a number of people out buying art! I had only done a handful of outdoor shows at that point, so I was pretty nervous about whether people would like my work - or just walk right by!
WHAAAT??? Self doubt from an artist??? It can't be!!! ;-p
Then a man came up and started to talk to me about this painting:
The gentlemen had a lot of questions. A LOT. It was great to have someone who was SO interested in my work! The interaction went on for quite some time, before he decided to buy it. In hind-sight, there was something very soothing and vaguely familiar about his voice....but when you're in the middle of hocking your art, it is hard to think of anything but the sale!
Anyways, I take his credit card, and then ask him for ID.
The man looks at me, there is a really awkward pause, and the man raises an eyebrow....as if to say "REALLY??". I went on to apologize, and tell him that there had be a rash of fakesters taking advantage of poor artists. (Which was true! Because people can be awful!) Truthfully, he looked a little perturbed, but then who wouldn't? There is something off-putting about having your identity and legitimacy questioned!
So I finish the transaction, hand him back his card and his ID, all the time feeling 'strange' but not understanding why. I then wrap up his original art, and he walks away...into the sunset.
Within a couple of seconds, the artist in the neighbouring tent comes over. "Wow, Rob! That's great!" she says to me. I reply cavalierly "Ya, nice to have someone enjoy the work!"....You know...NO BIG DEAL....and she replies "Especially a Canadian celebrity!". I stood there, confused, looking at her like SHE was insane. She continued "You know who that was, right?" I looked down at the sales receipt in my hand...
(YES - it was a paper receipt - that is how we did it back then!)
I looked up at her and said "It was Stuart McLean."
There is is long pause in conversation where this artist was looking at me, waiting for me to clue in. It seemed like an eternity - although I am sure it was only seconds...until I said...
"OH FUCK! It was Stuart McLean! CBC Stuart McLean! Vinyl Cafe Stuart McLean!! FUUUUCK! I KNEW I KNEW THAT VOICE!!!!"
The other artist gave me a sympathetic look, and said "Don't worry, I am sure he didn't realize that you didn't know him." And I nodded...."Ya. Probably not!" and walked away!
Except of course he knew. DUHHH. It really could not have gone WORSE!
It was a great lesson to me. I tried in the years since, to be more attentive to people's body language, and also to try to stay out of my own head when chatting with clients!
ADMITTEDLY though, the sale really gave me a boost of confidence. I mean, if someone clever like Stuart McLean liked my art enough to buy it, it MUST be good! At that time, it really helped to reassure me.
(YES I KNOW my therapist would have a lot to say about seeking validation from others.....get off my back ;-)
I went on to put his name on my CV as a badge of honour.
I feel truly blessed for the confidence boost I got that cold wet weekend over a decade ago, from a CBC legend! He never knew how much it helped!
Normally I'm not one to post about celebrity deaths, but this time I needed to. Yesterday Mr Stuart McLean passed on. It is sad for his family, and also sad for all Canadians....period. We lost a great storyteller!
If you don't know anything about him...(SHAME ON YOU...you should look up his many albums and CBC podcasts on iTunes.....you will not regret it!
He will be missed!
Well, it's submission season. YOU KNOW how I love it.
Recently I got a rejection letter for a project that was VERY important to me. It was a concept that I was THRILLED with, that I think was PERFECT for the event that rejected me. What makes it worse is that it was for a project that is very close to my heart, so it has cut a little deeper than most of my jury rejections.
About a year ago I wrote a blog post about the feelings I have when rejected to art shows or juried proposals.
It was very honest, very hopeful....and kinda funny too:
GO AHEAD - READ IT....just don't tell me if thought it was NOT funny!!
ANYWAYS.....I just re-read it, in hopes that it would help me sort through my feelings....which is when I realized that rejection from shows is the great illustration of the 'cycle of acceptance'....and I wanted to share this with you all......
Okay, for illustration purposes (and so I don't bad mouth an organization that I think is actually really SPECTACULAR) let me set up a fake rejection scenario...
I applied to the Smarty Pants Academy Art Show for Clever and Talented Artists. This year's theme was "Bowties and how to Wear Them"! SADLY, I just received my NO THANK YOU from S.P.A.A.S.
(For the sake of this post let's pronounce that SPAAZ -- you know.....like rhyming with 'HAS'!)
At first, I am SHOCKED!!!
I cannot believe that I didn't get into this show. I mean, how could there be a MORE suitable candidate? Is there a bigger SPAAZ than me??? I AM TRUELY SPAAZ MATERIAL!!!!! My concept was great, and I have been doing this for ages.......AAAAND I have more bowties than almost anyone I know! They must not have looked carefully enough at my application! Could it just be an oversight??
STAGE 2 (ANGER): You know what?? That's not fair! I work hard. I had a good idea.....I am mad! I deserve better! I AM A GOOD ARTIST!!!!!
(cut to an hour later.....)
STAGE 2.5 (AGGRESSION): FUCK THEM! Ya....I said it. They are stupid! I hope every artist they DID pick gets chlamydia! No.....I hope the whole academy is swallowed up by the earth.....in a fiery blaze......etc.....
UGH....and now the barista SPELLED MY NAME WRONG??? STUPID IDIOT!!! HOW DARE YOU??? DO I NOT WARRANT EVEN THAT MUCH?? JSUT CORRECT NAME SPELLING??? IT IS NOT BOB!!!!!!!!! I SHOULD THROW THIS SCALDING HOT COFFEE IN YOUR FACE.....YOU HORRIBLE HUMAN!!!!!
(You know....like normal...not murder-y.....NORMAL ANGER...kind thoughts....not overblown....not irrational....just normal! :)
Then.....a little later.....
Stage 5(DEPRESSION): This is a great one....it starts with the feeling that you should stay in bed....not shave.....throw out all your bowties....giev up art...join a convent......you know....as you do...
Then turns to something like this:
Yup.....the full Tammy Faye......and it lasts a while. It's hopeless after all! NO ONE CAN HELP! I should just give up....and then there is this.....
...where I try to eat myself into contentment.......thankfully I don't normally have a full box of mini chocolate bars around the house.......or it might become this:
......nothing like liquor to solve the problem, to fill the hole that anger has left.......lots and lots of booze to dull your feelings....
The Depression stage usually is the most unpleasant....and the most detrimental to actual work production......and to relationships too!! (SORRY EVERYONE!!!!) :-)
I find that this stage lasts longer than the next...
STAGE 6 (BARGAINING): in this one, I just start thinking...geez....maybe a miracle is not gonna happen?? Maybe if I can get out of the misery-guts phase, and perhaps take a shower, I can be more effective to find more solutions....YES...I CAN JUST NEGOTIATE AWAY THE PAIN!!!!! EASY!!!!
Well.....at this point I have exhausted all my feelings, I have tried rewriting my proposal - and rethinking it and re-planning it - and then letting my rejection shame me everyday! Then I try crafting my bowties (and some hot glue) into a wreath - a wreath of happiness.....but really....it doesn't do much.
Truthfully, THIS is when the good stuff happens.
I take down the proposal that I have stapled to the wall with a sign that says "You're a failure, AGAIN, Rob!" and I put it away.
You know, maybe I will circle back sometime....
THAT....is the last stage....Stage 7 is ACCEPTANCE!!!!
I mean, it could have been worse. I think I can use this experience at some other time....I can perhaps re-use the concept? But if I don't .....I don't!
I am gonna be okay! GOSH DARN IT!
...and that is how the stages of acceptance work - they work in your life too!
SO....what's my point with this long and selfie-heavy blog post????
The point is, to share, to let you know that when you feel sad or mad or depressed....you are not alone. I think I hit the nail on the head with my other post....
(SURE YOU READ IT?? I PUT A LINK ABOVE.....BUT HERE IT IS AGAIN!)
...even if I am MAD right now....it will pass....as will that ENTIRE quart of candy cane and chocolate ice cream that I just ate!!!
Here is what I said last year.....
"...here's the thing. I would rather be passionate about my art and feel the pain of rejection, than be too jaded - to feel hurt! AND I would rather feel hurt than be completely uninvested in ANY outcome!
.....Hurt leads to healing! It makes you stronger and smarter and more well rounded.
....BLAH BLAH BLAH.....
.......(something great) could be just around the next corner! Or better yet - YOUR BEST SELF could be the reward!
So to my fellow rejects, I embrace you.
To those who recently got an acceptance letter, I toast you!
To those who rejected me, screw you.....I MEAN....thank you for the opportunity, and I hope to be reconsidered next year.
.....so brace yourself for whatever comes NEXT....Todays rejection could be tomorrows acceptance - and vice-versa! 😜
Onward and upward brave artists everywhere!"
There you have it. Straight from brave last-year-Rob.
He seems smart! Let's listen to him!!!!!
ONWARD and UPWARD!!!
So if you have been at my booth at the One of a Kind Show in the last couple of days, you may have run into this guy:
He has been manning the booth in my absence.
BLESS HIS HEART!
(aka WHAT A SUCKER!)
I left early yesterday, AND came in late this morning. I know you imagine I was doing this:
But no....here's why.
1. It was nice and slow at my One of a Kind Show booth.
2. I wanted to decorate our house with Christmas stuff!
Yup, for the first time in 3 years I am feeling a bit of the holiday spirit - and that's even WITHOUT egg nog! So, I dug out all the outdoor stuff, that hasn't seen the light of day in a long time, As I unburied it, I almost forgot there were a number of new additions:
Please note - this is a work in progress - the ;lighting still needs to be fixed up a bit - but you get the idea!!! These deer are actually NEW to my front yard! They moved here a couple years ago from London! My Dad made them, and so when he passed, I insisted they come home with me. THIS was my Dad and Mom's house in 2012.....
As you can see, it was a LOT! Yup. My dad (and sister) made and painted a LOT of stuff!!!
It wasn't always so crazy. When I was a kid, it was just lights.....but then once retirement and the grandkids came along.....it became a real big deal for my folks.
I knew it was Christmas when his lawn display went up! When I would call them from Toronto, I would always ask "how much of the penguins are covered?" And we would talk about the snowfall! (Londoners get a whole lot more snow than we do in T.O.!)
I still remember vividly how I felt when I drove up to the house and saw the whole Christmas menagerie, and all the lights up! It was WONDERFUL!!!!
Sadly, all good things must end. This is the 3rd Christmas with the house I grew up in sold, and my Dad gone. When he passed, many parts of his Christmas display went too. They were in very bad shape after 2 decades of canadian winters. Truthfully looking at these pictures both fills my heart with love, and a stings a bit from sadness.
I still remember that I would go down in late November to help Dad take all the animals down from the garage attic. We would carefully assemble the deer and then put them into formation. Dad would spend much of the time grumbling that "this is the last year I am doing this".....he would complain while we worked, and it was kinda funny! I KNEW that next year we would find ourselves assembling Santa into his sleigh again! When we would finish, we would light it all up, then celebrate with a peppermint boozy drink. I KNOW he loved how it looked, and he was proud that their house was one of the nicest in the cull-de-sac!
These are the best kind of memories, the lasting ones.
So this year, for the first time in a few years I decided to do my best to honour his 'over-the-top' decorating! I come by it honestly!
A few minutes in, I was complaining about how much work it was....and how I was never doing it again! Then I started laughing to myself at how much like my Dad I can be sometimes!! But now that it is "done", I look forward to looking out my window and seeing the deer, and judging the snowfall by the penguins, and remembering the good times of Christmas past.....oh and having a peppermint boozy drink for my Dad!!
And now.....back to the OOAK to sell my wares! I hope you enjoyed that little story! And to all a good nite!
A short story by Rob Croxford....
This week I got a rejection letter from an art exhibition. One that I almost depend on, to keep me in business! It upset me!
THERE. I ADMITTED IT!!
The thing is, it really shouldn't hurt at this point in my art career! I mean, I am a seasoned artist.....so this isn't the first time I've heard no......nor is it the second. Hell, over the past decade I 've gotten dozens and dozens of PROFESSIONAL rejections! (And a few personal rejections as well, mostly in bars, mostly in my youth...but I will save THAT humiliation for another day! 😜)
So if rejection is so common of an occurrence, why was I so dang upset?
For those of you non-artists, let me give you some context.
To participate in art exhibitions you must submit a package to be judged by a jury. (Again, in my youth, in a bar, I have also been judged on my package -- but I digress!)
SO....as a professional artist, you must plan your "submission season" MONTHS in advance. Sadly, you have very little control of which shows may accept you. As a result, many WORKING artists submit to many shows. It is a way to hedge your bets! Truthfully.....it's a real grind! Sometimes you only enter a show as a backup (because the exhibition that you really want - may reject you)!
It sounds an awful lot like dating!
So let's go with that analogy...
You're a single gal on the go! You have the opportunity to meet potential suitors....(Yes, I am married - and the last time I dated we used the word 'suitors' - WHAT OF IT!?) ANYWAYS, there is no guarantee that ANY potential guy will choose you. Even though they should - you're a catch! YOU HAVE IT ALL! YOU GO GIRRRL! Granted, some dudes are a little easier to attract! They maybe are a little less-than-perfect for you - but they are reliable - and perfectly comfortable! There are also some that will LOVE you one year, only to blindside you with a "it's not you, it's me" - the very next year! Finally, there are those that are "just not that into you" -- no matter how great your rack...I mean personality...is!
Well SUBMISSION SEASON is just like that!!!
As artists, we are told the jury process is meant to create a diverse group of artists to entice buyers to come to an art event. However, it can feel like the process is also meant to weed out the untalented or the unpopular. And if you are one of the UNCHOSEN,UNWANTED,AND UNLOVED how are you supposed to feel? A little HURT! (Okay - maybe that is the hurt talking again..)
ANYWAYS.....it sucks -- again -- kinda like dating sometimes!
(YES - I STILL REMEMBER DATING!)
For years, I had been keeping all my rejection letters in a file.
I called it the 'file of denial'.
It is a multi-layered title. In it, I kept denials (rejections) from arts organizations and galleries that have deemed my work "not their thing". But it was also my PERSONAL denial that my living depends upon other people's judgements!
Just this year - I shred the crap out of it. File folder and all.
I decided that I don't need to keep reminding myself of the negatives, when there are so MANY positives to remember.
I assumed that this meant that I was beyond being hurt by rejection. WWWWRRRRONNNGGG!!!
NOW.....just like with dating........I know I can't tie my sence of self worth to ANY one show. I keep telling myself that I am strong and powerful artist (and GOSH DARN IT - people like me)! I assure myself that I don't need no show to prove that I am worthy
(insert a series of powerful finger snaps here)!
BUT the fact is....that I kinda DO need acceptance to shows to make a living. And unfortunately, somewhere in my brain -- I guess I still crave the validation as an artist. I'm just a guy - standing in front of a jury - asking them to like me! Granted, the anger, hurt, sadness, sour-grapes and jealousy doesn't last long....but it happens. I CAN ADMIT IT!
But here's the thing. I would rather be passionate about my art and feel the pain of rejection, than be too jaded from years of submission season - to feel the hurt! AND I would rather feel hurt than be completely uninvested in ANY outcome!
So that is how I deal with it. Hurt leads to healing! It makes you stronger and smarter and more well rounded. RIGHT?!?!!?!?
Besides...Mr. Right Show could be just around the next corner! Or better yet - YOUR BEST SELF could be the reward!
So to my fellow rejects, I embrace you.
To those who got an acceptance letter, I toast you!
To those who rejected me, screw you.....I MEAN....thank you for the opportunity, and I hope to be reconsidered next year.
And remember fellow artists, just like dating - art is fickle, so brace yourself for whatever comes NEXT....Todays rejection could be tomorrows acceptance - and vice-versa! 😜
Onward and upward brave artists everywhere!
Okay.....so as you know.....I moved into my studio space at Walnut Studios this week. It is a pretty exciting! I am excited and nervous! Read all about the move HERE! So I thought I would share with you all the things that went through my head on the first day in the new studio......please enjoy......
7:45am - Get up (begrudgingly).
8:00am - Settle in front of the TV with my coffee and oatmeal.
8:30am - Get ready to go downstairs to the studio....oh F**K...I don't work here any more!!!! UGH!
8:31am - Consider the merits of going back to bed
9:00am - pack for my first working day in the new studio.....
9:01am - I am sure it is gonna be great!
10:30am- OH CRAP! WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG????
10:32am- Why am I running so late already?
10:33am- What shoes should I wear at my new studio? Wonder if there are any online shoe sales? WAIT! Am I wasting MORE time?
10:37am- Okay, bags & suitcases packed, and 2 oversized bags of paintings....how hard could this be to transport!?
10:45am- Decide to take GO train, to save time, and because the ABJECT HUMANITY of the TTC when you are carrying a lot of crap is just TOO AWFUL to face. I mean ART - not crap.....
10:55am- Get all my crap lugged onto GO...oh...did I say crap again? I mean my life's fulfillment!
11:07am- Arrive at Union Station. WAIT! I HAVE TO CHANGE TRAINS TO CONTINUE WEST?? ARE YOU F***KING KIDDING ME???
11:08am- lug all bags and luggage down 2 flights of stairs walk through Union Station, find the track I need - great - it is track 24 - and I am at track 3 - okay....lug lug lug your crap...oh....okay now UP the flight of stairs again.....
11:25am- Made it! Not inconvenient at all!
11:35am- Am at Exhibition Station.....totally worth it for a 10 minute ride...lug lug lug....
11:45am - Gee.....this is a long walk to Walnut Studios.....
11:46am - Well...it is better and cheaper than a GYM membership!
11:48am - I hate this.
11:56am - There is a starbucks - I should get a Caramel Macchiato
noon - REALLY ROB??? Why did taking all this seem like a good idea.....lug lug lug....
12:08pm - ARRIVE AT STUDIO! Wow am I sweaty. But look at all this light in the studio:
12:09pm - So warm and bright!!
12:10pm - OH GOD!!!! WHY IS SO FREAKING BRIGHT IN HERE?????
12:11pm - I HATE YOU SUN!!!! I cannot wait until it is darker!
12:15pm - Okay....time to start a new painting. No more delays!
12:20pm - Wow. How long has it been since I have painted??
12:32pm - YIKES....it has been almost 2 months since I have painted last! That has got to be a record!
12:33pm - WHAT IF I HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO PAINT????
12:35pm - ENOUGH! Just do it lazy man. WORK WORK WORK!!!
1:09pm - LUNCH?
1:10pm - LUNCH?
1:11pm - LUNCH?
1:12pm - LUNCH?
1:15pm - LUNCH?
1:16pm - LUNCH?
1:20pm - LUNCH?
1:22pm - LUNCH?
1:24pm - OKAY FINE!!!!! I gotta eat.....I am not getting into the groove here at all!
2:00pm - "Back to the house of slavery" as my Dad used to day!
2:01pm - Why are all the other artists here chatting right now?
2:03pm - Need music.....all I can hear is other people's conversations...MUST....STOP....LISTENING....IN...
2:05pm: ....wait....what is he saying?
2:09pm - MUSIC!
2:11pm - "GIRLS....WE RUN THIS MOTHER.....GIRLS....WE RUN THIS MOTHER.....GIRLS....WE RUN THIS MOTHER....."
2:22pm - "AND I AM TELLING YOU.....I'M NOT GOING....YOU'RE THE BEST MAN, I'll EVER KNOW.....NO NO NO THERE'S NO WAY......"
2:30pm - Time for some Cher-apy....
2:31pm - "If I could turn back tiiiiiime......"
2:40pm - When's dinner?
3:30pm - WOW....I am really making progress here! Way to be busy at work Robbie!!!
3:33pm - (answering a phonecall) "HEY!! No. I'm not busy! Ya....come on over - I would love to show you the new studio!"
3:35pm - take my picture for instagram.....make it took totally natural and spontaneous!
3:39pm - UGH...no.....not that one.....
3:49pm - NO...MORE NATURAL LOOKING!!!!
3:59pm - Ya...that's the one. It really hides my chins!
4:39pm - UGH...gotta get back to work. WHAT A DAY!
4:45pm - When is dinner....and what will WE HAVE?
5:00pm - "Hello.....it's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet....to go over....everything.....they say that time is suppose to heal ya....but I aint done much healing....HELLO...."
5:05pm -Oh Adele.....how I love you....
5:06pm - gosh - it is so dark......I wish I had the sun still....
5:15pm - geez...I am feeling a little down now.....maybe I should go home......
5:15pm - NO....everyone else is gone....but you need to stay until 5:30 at least.....
5:18pm - PACK IT UP CROXFORD! Your colours are getting MURKY!
5:35pm - waiting for King Streetcar. This will be better than my Go trip this morning!! FO-SHOW!
5:37pm - YIKES. The streetcar was too full to stop!!
5:42pm - REALLLLLLY??? THREE FULL CARS IN A ROW??????????
5:45pm - Will walk to Bathurst and take streetcar North!
5:46pm - stupid commuting - does anyone else know what a nightmare this is??!
5:55pm - WHAT? Bathurst is a nightmare with all these cars!! Okay, I guess I will walk to Spadina - at least there is a dedicated lane for streetcars....
5:56pm - Seriously - how do people do this everyday??
6:02pm - REALLY?? A problem with the Spadina line? 3 streetcars in a row - just waiting......F**CK THIS MOTHER-F****** ******* ****** DAMN ****** F***ERS.....I guess I will walk to Union Station and take the GO home!
6:35pm - Home sweet home.
6:36pm - In pyjamas, eating pizza.
SO THERE YOU GO! My whole day.
ADMIT IT! JANUARY IS, LIKE, SUPER HARD!
It can be challenging to get back your pre-holiday work rhythm! All the sweets and treats, all the visiting and cajoling, all the time off and time away, makes a person NOT want to get back to work.
I call this Lazy Artist Syndrome.
Thankfully YOU can't linger in a state of LAS for long - as YOU have a big bad boss, who is gonna crack the whip on yo' @ss!
Well.....right now, I envy you.
I am a self-employed person, which means my boss (who is a total whip cracking bitch during show season) is a little lackadaisical right now.
NORMALLY, in January, I am gearing up for The Artist Project...a HUGE art trade show.....remember TAP? This is my booth last year:
This year, I decided to NOT do this show - and I think it is this lack of a deadline that led to a serious case of LAS.
I did TAP for an astounding 8 years.....and there were times in the first few years, that I thought I had "made it" as a professional artist! In fact, the first TWO years, I sold out my entire booth! WHAM-O BAM-O! Oh how I miss those days!
At the time, I believed that the success would be everlasting....but many years later - I know that an art career is a very fluid thing. I NOW look at my illustrious artist career in the LONG RANGE. A few AMAZING YEARS - a few TERRIBLE years - neither of which necessarily defines my success!
Last year at TAP, I heard a lot of:
(insert a hipster 'been there - done that' tone)
"Oh, I've seen this guy before!"
THAT is not a great thing to hear, so I decided then and there to bow out of the show in 2016 to change things up!
As a result, right now I cannot show you new work. I JUST CAN'T EVEN. There just isn't any. (LAS) BUT I can let you know that I am working on a bunch of new drawings, and have primed and readied a TONNE of new canvas!
Also...in my defence...I am getting my studio packed up for my BIG MOVE to Walnut Studios in TWELVE days:
That's right, in less than 2 weeks, I will be painting in a brand new space that I will be sharing with 40ish other artists. Here is the glamorous state of my space as it looked like last month:
Now just imagine it filled to the brim with my art...and me!
Why did I choose Walnut Studios? Well there are many reasons.
1.) TO ESCAPE THE BASEMENT. Truthfully, working in total solitude every day for years, has slowly transformed me into a anti-social mole man. It is not great for ANYONE to work in total isolation all the time! THIS is gonna force me to talk to lots of people!
2.) more space and more natural light
3.) a place to being clients! Ever since I left my last studio....
...on Queen Street......I have found it IMPOSSIBLE to have clients over to see my work. I have felt a bit weird welcoming people into my home, and then having to take them into the dark and scary basement. "Oh, please come down.....pay no attention to that big hole in the ground with the bucket...." (YA - I was totally 'Silence-of-the-Lambs-ing' it!) An outside the house studio - solves that weirdness!
4.) There are some great facilities at Walnut!
5.) There is also a 'workshop space' that I can rent so that I can run some (SPOILER HERE) Rob Croxford art classes! Yes, I wanna run a couple workshops this year - a create art - have some nosh - have some laughs - workshop for my clients! Look forward to announcements about that SOON!
THERE. FIVE great reasons for leaving the comfort of my home studio.
Forging a new path of self discovery and artistic fulfillment in a strange new world! HELL-to-the-YA I am a little nervous! But I think that it will be a great opportunity for both me AND prospective collectors!!! RIGHT??????????
So there you go! Look forward to February's blog FILLED with new paintings.....and show announcements...and for now......as I get over my LAS and free myself from my mole-man habits.....be patient....BIG THINGS are happening here soon!!
HEY GUYS! Welcome, welcome, a million times welcome!
As you can plainly see, "Papa's got a brand new bag".
Ok - that is confusing, I meant "Robbie's got a brand new website"!
Also a little awkward, but it's true. I have totally overhauled my old website.....remember how it used to look.....you know.....like.....yesterday:
I bet you are wondering...."HEY ROB, why the change??"
Here's the thing, the old site was made about 5 years ago, and I have just been adding and adding and ADDING stuff for years, which made it a big unruly mess! It was getting full of errors and dead links and was also crap-ass to look at on a mobile device. I kept trying to delay fixing it, but it just wasn't easily fixed with the software I was using. Also, it failed to live up to modern coding standards, had awful analytics and was even worse for SEO! (Those are some computer-like terminology that I learned myself!) Basically it just meant I had NO IDEA who (if anyone) was seeing my site!
Also, I had a separate BLOGGER account and ETSY store, which were regularly updated - but that did nothing to drive an audience to my website to see my actual paintings!
I took the whole of last year to search for an all-in-one, drag and drop platform to host my site. I test-drove a bunch of options! Eventually narrowing it down to two. After a more serious 'testing' phase, I went with one (that shall remain nameless) that had STUNNING templates! I then spent about 100 hours creating a FABULOUS site with lots of 'bells and whistles'...only to find out there were some serious issues loading the site, and with the store and shipping options.
So.....it was back to the drawing board where I created THIS SITE with WEEBLY. It took a whole lot less time, as there was only one template that worked for me! But also because they were really well integrated with Easy...so that saved a BOATLOAD of time!
I think the results are pretty good.
As Mama used to say, out with the old, and in with the streamlined, optimized, easy to navigate new! Wait....maybe Mama never said that. Anyways, here's what it means to you. It means that there will be more regular content updates! For me, the benefits are abundant, but is also means I have a more cohesive look for my 'brand'. (That is some business speak I just learned myself! ;-)
So....take a look around the new site.
Enjoy the new photos and the newly updated information! Take a look at my store - which I hope to 'expand' soon! Then let me know what you think!
ALSO.....if you find any glaring "GRAMMAR SLAMMERS" please do let me know - shiny quarter to anyone who finds terrible spelling!!
Welcome and talk at you soon!
MY BLOG - YOUR INBOX:
Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!