Author Archive for C Hodges

It’s Over 9000!!!

I haven’t slept much this week.

I’m not complaining – my sleep deprivation is actually a good sign. I’m starting a new project, and I’ve been too busy daydreaming and researching solutions to sleep. I’ve found something that interests me more than sleeping, which is really saying something. Like I said, this is a good sign.

A couple months ago, my wonderful mother sent me a link to a podcast named “You Have One Life – Set Bigger Goals” by designer Sean Wes. While I don’t agree with everything Wes says, I agree that it’s important to set huge, ridiculous sounding goals – to Dream Big. Sure, I haven’t fulfilled 90% of the goals I’ve set in my life, but that’s no reason to give up hope.

So, without further ado, here is my big goal:

I will gross $20,000 in sales with my artwork in 2015.

Sounds crazy, right? That’s a lot of paintings and marketing for someone that can barely find motivation to write a blog post. $20,000 requires lots of paintings, and lots of buyers.

That’s where the project comes in. I’m currently working on a licensing agreement with a designer in Germany. If everything goes well, I’m going to start raising capital for an art-driven, self-run business that I can run alongside my current job (or a new job, who knows?). If all goes well, I’d like to eventually go part-time on my current job and focus on my new business full time.

I’m not going to say anything more about the product I’m creating, but it’s something that would capture my art style and interests perfectly. I could make money from my passions, and use my skills and profits to help benefit others. I’m really excited to see how this whole thing plays out.

So there’s my sky high, ridiculous goal, and very few specifics on how I plan to reach it. As much as I wish I could tell you more, you’ll just have to stay tuned for updates, and hope that I have good news on my next post.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Back on Track

There’s been a lot of silence from the blog lately. Unfortunately, part of this is my fault. When one person in a small group starts slacking, it’s easy for the others to follow suit. Even Austin came close to missing a post, which would have been detrimental to the time-space continuum.

I wish I could say I was too busy to blog, but that’s not the case. The reality is, I haven’t wanted to share my thoughts with the public lately. I haven’t had much good news on the job or personal front, so my attempts to find highlights and lessons felt desperate and forced. I didn’t want to air my grievances to our readers.

Fortunately, there was some good news over the last couple weeks. I’m most likely getting a promotion at my current job, and I’m working with a technology headhunter to see if I can get placed in a Fortune 100 tech company as a temporary contract worker. All of this may result in better pay, a more consistent schedule, and more responsibility/training opportunities.

So, to anyone that has been concerned about my silence (hi, parents), I’m doing just dandy, and things are starting to come together. People told me that it takes 6 months to get settled into New York, so I’m right on schedule. I’m optimistic about the future, and I’m pretty happy with the present.

So here’s an update to break the silence. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty more to say over the following weeks.

Feedback Loop

I made a new résumé yesterday, and I’m really happy with the update.

My old résumé gave hiring managers a lot of details, but very little information about my personality and design sensibilities. Sure, the text alignment was spot-on, but my grammar was terrible, and the tenses kept changing sporadically. It was, to put it kindly, a train wreck on fancy paper.

Yet, for some reason I kept using it. Every time I gained a new skill or job, I plugged it into the same old résumé. After all, why fix something that’s not broken?

Well, it turns out that my résumé was very broken, and the “don’t fix what’s not broken” mentality is detrimental to personal development.  I have a brilliant advisor at my university that would have gladly torn my résumé to shreds, but I kept it to myself believing it was good enough. I have a friend that’s a brilliant editor, but I still won’t let her touch my Gold in them Hills posts (because, obviously, they’re flawless).

In reality, I usually have no idea if something is broken or not until somebody tells me. I’ve surrounded myself with brilliant, creative, and kind people, but I’m too high on myself to ask for help. Maybe it’s because of ego, or maybe it’s self-doubt and not wanting to hear the truth. Either way, it’s not a sustainable pattern if I want to mature and start contributing to society.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a group of talented friends that are willing to help. It’s about time I start using my resources instead of relying on myself to fix everything.

This Was a Triumph

One year ago, Dan doubled down on dreaming big, Austin considered coping mechanisms, and I promised myself a year of hardship.

Today? Dan is declaring the death of his childhood, Austin is watching a loved one fade away, and my year has been overwhelmingly difficult.

Mission accomplished?

I think so.

All cynicism aside, this year has been a massive turning point for the writers of Gold in Them Hills. Dan made huge steps towards publishing his work, Austin helped dozens of kids find a sense of stability, and I completely abandoned my comfort zone on a quest for perspective.

Amid the paralyzing anxiety, forced deadlines, longing for companionship, inability to find my dream job, roller coaster of emotions, and utter confusion, I’ve managed to come out of 2014 with more passion and drive than ever before. Bigger things are coming, and this time I’m going to ride the wave instead of being pummeled by it.

There’s a fire in my heart, and it’s not going anywhere. I have a few announcements in the pipeline for 2015, and I’m sharpening my skills and hitting my knees for the next season of life.

So here’s to 2015. May you all learn from your mistakes, remember the good times, and be brave enough to keep trying when the times are tough.

– Clark

Go It Alone

In just over a week, I will spend my first Christmas away from home. I’m blessed that I was able to make it home for the first 24 holidays, but that doesn’t make it any easier to miss the 25th. I’ll also have the apartment to myself for the next couple weeks, making it a very muted, very sparse holiday – in my apartment, at least.

Fortunately, I have some amazing neighbors that are letting me spend Christmas with them, and the day will be full of food, singing, and merriment. Thank you so much, Cameron and Amanda – I’m looking forward to it.

Until then, I’m buckling down on building websites and making presents. With the roommates gone, my projects can spread into the common areas – a welcome option when working on multiple pieces at a time. As sad as I am to be without roommates, I think I’m going to be a productive powerhouse with my newfound freedom.

So away I go to keep clicking, painting, and working.

Happy holidays, everyone.

– Clark

Big Fish

I applied for a job today. Well, not exactly applied, but I talked to the owner of a large Manhattan company about building a new website for his business.

If he had been interested, I could have moved to part time in food service and reintroduced web design into my daily schedule. Unfortunately, he already had someone on the job, so I’m sticking with the food service lifestyle.

Post-move, I keep hoping that I’ll strike it rich – that I’ll find one job or one connection that will pull me out of my retail/food service world and into the professional Manhattan lifestyle. Every time I think I’ve found my break, it crumbles away in front of my eyes. This was one of those opportunities, and I must say it stung a bit.

This rejection makes me think that it’s time to look for some smaller breaks. A bunch of normal-sized finds that add up to something bigger. I’ve been looking for a very large Lego™, while maybe I should be building up the small pieces that already surround me.

Who knows, maybe a small website gig will turn into a big job. I’ll never find out unless I start trying. The idea of working full time while taking on side work is terrifying, but not nearly as terrifying as being stuck in an expensive city with too much fear to take risks.

So it’s time to brush off my Photoshop, defrag my computer, and start kicking some web design butt.

Spruced Up

Dancing Shoes

This week, my roommate filled our apartment with Christmas decorations. Walls have wreaths, doors have bells, and tables have centerpieces. It reminds me just a little bit of home. And now that PaintMo November has come to an end, I have almost 30 paintings I can start hanging to make the apartment even more personal.

Yes, I survived the PaintMo paint-a-day challenge. Sure, I skipped Thanksgiving, but it’s not every day I have so many amazing people in my house.

All in all, I’m proud of myself for painting every day, and for pushing through the “I don’t wanna” stage in order to bring something original into the world. It was more of a challenge than I’d care to admit, but I learned a few lessons along the way. Here’s a few of the big ones I learned along the way.

1. It’s not as hard as it seems – My goal was to paint every day, not to create the next Mona Lisa. Whenever I found myself trying to skip a day, I took a step back and reminded myself that painting a basic shape still counts, even if it will never win an award.

2. Momentum is sneaky – After a week of painting, I found myself thinking of new ideas while riding the subway, sweeping the floor, and going to sleep. Without even trying, my brain shifted into “let’s paint” mode. It didn’t take very long at all, and I certainly didn’t see it coming.

3. Once a day is a big commitment – Besides basic human functions, there are very few things I do every day. Adding something new into the mix required discipline, but I was amazed at how much time I could find once I made painting a priority. It was rarely easy, but it was certainly possible.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Autumn Abstract

A good friend of the Gold in Them Hills crew is staying at Dan’s and my house, so I’m forgoing a long post to simply say Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re so thankful for the friends, mothers, fathers, friends who are mothers, mothers who are friends, and anyone else who has played a part in blessing us so abundantly over the last year. You are truly worth celebrating.

Now go be with your loved ones!

Outta My Shell

PaintedTurtleWeb

I’m starting to get more comfortable with my coworkers, work expectations, and management team. As a result, I’m starting to behave more and more like the silly, stubborn, eccentric Clark I am. Good news: my new friends still like me, and I have a couple coworkers that want to spent time with me outside of work.

I’m elated.

I had been worried that my Western outlook would fare poorly in a big city. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. My slightly slower, more personal approach to customer service rewarded me with a company-wide shout that was forwarded to many of my company’s managers. My general manager printed the email out and taped it to her door like a proud mom with a finger painting. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I was a bit giddy at the time.

I set the bar high, and now I need to work hard to raise it even higher. It feels great to work hard, and it makes the hundreds of NYC inconveniences seem a bit more bearable. It feels great to finally start coming out of my shell.

Bird’s Eye View

Birds of New York State

As some of you know, I’m quick to get tunnel vision and freeze up when I’m feeling overwhelmed. With a new job, new city, and new friends, the odds of me getting anxious are pretty high.

So as a small exercise, I’m stepping back from the hurricane of new information to look at the last month from a bird’s eye view. Here goes:

 I survived a month in New York City. I have friends, old and new. I found a job within 30 days of landing. I’ve learned a lot of new information, and I’m retaining most of it. I have events to look forward to, and interesting stories to tell. I have a loving family, and people from all over the country that care about me. I sleep at night, paint every day, and go to the gym a few times a week. I’m healthy, hardworking, and energetic.

To many, this may sound like some sort of humblebrag. But seeing these facts written reminds me that I’m capable of adapting and learning in new situations – that I’m never truly stuck. My life can be better than ever- physically, spiritually, and intellectually. I have no reason to feel trapped or hopeless, as I sometimes do when met with hardships.

I hate to be a Polyanna, but from a bird’s eye view, life is pretty darn good.