Out with the old.....
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
So....every year I like to do a little recap of my wins and losses for the previous year.
Often, it feels like the best way to determine what WORKED and what didn’t...so that (IN THEORY) I can make smarter choices in the upcoming year! The thing I need to remind myself, is that my goals are MOVING targets, and I need to adapt and change as each year goes by!
The re-cap is also a way of very publicly patting myself on the back....and saying “Rob, you are awesome!”
If it seems a bit too self congratulatory - you’re probably right...but WE ALL need to give ourselves the OK to be proud of our achievements...no matter their size!! So here we go..in 2018....I created...
-SIX new paintings (and PRINTS) in my ‘Sign of the Times” Series...that’s 6 new Toronto neighbourhoods, and 1 new Hamilton piece.
- I also painted about 200 NEW 8x8 and 6x6 pieces from my “Mixed Message” Series...which was crazy.....
I tried a bunch of new colours and a new technique - which made it SUPER FUN to paint them...and they turned out so splendidly!!!! I love allowing little bits of change to help me grow as an artist! (I am also happy that they work within the confines of ‘my brand’!!)
- after 3 years of painting in 3 series, and STICKING to just those, I finally started a new series!
I have been taking photos of road-side signs for 2 decades, but every time I painted one - it never felt RIGHT.
Last year, it finally came together for me!! I would paint these signs but change them — usuing quotes based on movies! The first one was for The TOAE, and was so well received...that it was ALMOST bought by the city.....not quite a WIN.....but it’s honour just to be nominated, I guess???
- I then created FIVE more MASSIVE paintings in my new series - that I HOPE to have a show of in 2019!!
I am so thrilled with these pieces - they really feel like culmination of years of work. They fit my brand - and they involve all the things that I love;
LOOK for more from this series, as I devote ALL my creative energy on it!
— I also created 18 commissions in various sizes for clients!!
So in total, I painted a RECORD 250 paintings in 2018...which is ah-fucking-mazing!!
(insert huge pat on back here!) 🤣
I also created 2 new pillow designs, 2 new poster designs, and several postcards too!
IN OTHER great news, I entered a LOT of contests and shows....don’t worry - it wasn’t without failing a brunch
I was denied a LOT....
(10 times - not that I am counting - and 4 of which were from Create Magazine alone!!!)
HOWEVER, I did get to do the following art shows;
The Riverdale Art Walk
The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
“Marvel” and “Disney”, LaBodega Gallery in SanDiego
Pennello Gallery in Cleveland
McVarish Gallery in Oregon
Curly Tale Gallery in Chicago
“The Views are Different Here” at the Aird Gallery
“Play Up”,Noodle Gallery, Caledon, ON
It was pretty good to extend my reach into the USA - and I hope to further this reach in 2019!
I also joined the roster at The Patch Project. I joined in April, and in early May began to negotiate which paintings would be used in a project....but then....THIS.....
—- REMEMBER THAT ONE TIME? When my studio burnt down destroying 120 of my paintings, damaging another 35 or so....and destroying my booth, tent, supplies and all my Merch?!?
If you don’t know about this one...there is a blog post about it HERE
I am not gonna get into how awful things were. I am also not gonna tell you that I am “fully recovered”, because losing that much stock and replacing it - is taking quite a frigging lonnnnnnnnnnng time!
BUT I will say that the experience taught me a few things:
1. The importance to community - and of having artist peers to talk to!!! I met some great people - and was truely touched by the outpouring of help and support in the darkest days! I want to devote more of my time this year into building relationships, and strengthening my networks! I want to continue to help others, the way they helped ME!
2. The most awful career loss can lead to brand new and exciting things. For me, out of the fire is a new excitement about art and it laser focused me on creating new opportunities. I guess after 14 years, I was getting a bit complacent, and a bit too worried about changing things up....but NOW I realize that EVERYTHING in life changes....and am nervous and THRILLED about some new projects and directions.
3. You will always need to deal with loss in life. ALWAYS! Hopefully you can withstand the loss - heal - and maybe even change for the better - because of it! EVERY year will have AWFUL shit happen - sickness, death, loss, moving, divorce, a MILLION bad things happen every day in the world, BUT I think that if I can live through it, and try to find the good in the everyday successful moments.....my life will be happier!
OK- enough from old Guru Croxford...
Getting back to the good things......so April signed contracts for murals with Patch, in May lost ALL those paintings to the fire....but then 5 months later, after a bunch of repainting, and hard work and re-scheduling....BLAMO:
What a great opportunity! Swing by 99 Liberty Ave to see this massive installation!
Other great stuff from last year...
- SURVIVED the One of a Kind Winter Show
- got my Merch into Sonic Boom
- did a Show at the Hamilton Store in Hamilton
- did 2 great Etsy shows
- started my BIGGEST commission to date.....the details of which are gonna be revealed this month!
- and got a new (albeit temporary) new studio space WHICH I LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE:
2018 had a bunch of health scares and losses and family problems and sickness, and sadness...so sufficed to say, I am not sad to see a NEW year begin.
BUT, despite the shit storm of 2018, I am leaving last year stronger, and clearer, and more excited about the future...even though 2019 will not all sunshine and roses, I know that I will survive and flourish even when the shit storm begins again...and it seems impossibly hard!!
I hope your 2019 will be filled with new opportunities and NEW CHALLENGES....and despite new losses - sweeter wins.....and I look forward to all of us having a great year!!!
(INSERT DRINK CHEERS-ING HERE!)
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!