Archive for Art

Wet Paint

Pretty quiet week here. I’ve spent the week either getting ready to paint my new house, or actually painting my new house. Two weeks ago the only thing I knew about paint was that it was not a thing I should touch. Or have anything to do with.

Because, as we all know, if you get a drop of paint on the floor, the house will immediately burn down. Still, I won’t have a better time to do it, and no time like the present, as they say.

Doing the DIY thing is a pretty big confidence booster. In retrospect. In the moment, it was kind of just a stream of “Oh god this is expensive and I’m screwing it up so bad,” followed by a string of curse words.

But now that it’s mostly done with? Bam. it turned out well, the living room looks good, and I can take pride in something I did with my own two hands. There’s the lesson, by the way. Do stuff with your own two hands, it makes you feel better. Helps take your mind off of how crappy life can be, too. So, win-win, I guess.

-Austin

The Sunny Side of the Street

I come to you, my blog viewership (hi mom) to tell you something. Something important, that I have been keeping to myself.

I’m happy.

Stop the presses, I know. But it needs saying. Not because this is a monumental moment, but because I have spent too much time feeling sorry for myself, when I am not in a “bad place.” I’m doing well with my job, with writing, and in my personal life.

This isn’t, to borrow from Austin, some “Pollyanna” optimism. This is hard fact. My life is coming together in some respects, and I am aware of my blind spots. I don’t have a perfect life, but I am beginning to see where I am more clearly. And that informs where I am going.

My acting class is amazing. I am learning more about myself and I am focusing on the craft of theatre in a way I never thought possible in school. I am so proud of the people I people I work with in class, and I love getting to share a stage with them. My teacher is master, and his guidance will shape the rest of my life.

My work as a writer is more motivated and focused. My acting class and blog work has me in a good place to write honestly and to explore the nature of things. I am drawn to the grandiose ideas I have always loved, and I am no longer intimidated to try and tackle them.

My time as a bartender is rewarding. As a skill, my bartending has come a very long way in a year. I am now sought after for it, and I am respected as a hard worker by multiple employers.

And through all this, my wife is a godsend. I mean that literally. Her presence elevates me as an artist and a person. I am kinder to strangers and strive to care about all those I encounter (even cabbies.) Having her in my life is the greatest joy and honor I have or will ever know.

Am I a professional “artist?” Not yet, but that dream seems less far fetched by the day. I have had projects fall through, and opportunities not work out. But the connections I am making and the work I am doing, are bringing me further along on the path I wish to walk.

I hope to keep you all informed as I become a better version of myself and a more fulfilled artist.

-DC

An Old Letter

While I was cleaning out my grandma’s house, I found an old letter from my grandpa, addressed to me. I only have two memories of the man. The first memory was him taking me out to Applebee’s for ice cream. The second was of the day he died, though he wasn’t really there for that one. After reading this letter, I wish I had known him better. It reads:

January 10, 1990

Letters to my unborn grandson

Dear __________ ,

          I don’t know your name because your mother, my daughter, and your father can’t agree on a name for you. I suggested several, but kids never follow a parent’s suggestion. Maybe you ought to make a note of that profundity for future reference, which brings me to the point of these and other letters which are to follow. Anyone who has reached my advanced age wants to insure that his progeny (look it up) doesn’t make the same mistakes that he made, as he at least makes an attempt to allow the possibility that his grandson will have a chance for a better life than he has had. It is not that I had a bad life by any means, but we always want something better for our kids and their kids. Beside that, I think it is a good idea to tell you something of the way your predecessors lived. That way you may better appreciate whatever advantages may come your way. Also, I might not be around when you reach the age of understanding.

          In my short life I have seen an enormous growth of technology. Some of these are talking movies, technicolor, T.V., radar, dirigibles, which I used to see fairly often as a small child in Dallas, jet planes, rockets, nuclear power, and a myriad of wonders in the areas of chemistry, astronomy, physics, biology, medicine, and so on too numerous to mention and most of which I don’t understand anyway.

         I have lived through three major wars and never served in any of them. I was too young for World War II (look it up, it was in all the papers); Korea came along when I was old enough, but three of the armed forces didn’t want guys with flat feet. Incidentally, if you have flat feet, you get them from me. All of the males from my mother’s side have, or had, flat feet. I used to fret about not having been in the service, but I have since come to the conclusion that it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t think that you will ever be called upon to serve, much less actually see combat. Events in the last six months have pretty much excluded the threat of any major conflicts in the United States.

The letter ends there. He probably intended to write more. Whether there are more letters hiding in that old house or not, I don’t know. I hope there are.

-Austin

Back in Black

Well, I’m back.

I would be lying if I said I just “took time off.” I just quit writing. I got bummed out when a webcomic project didn’t launch, and the weather, and life in the city took that disappointment and made it full fledged depression.

The worst part of my failure to post for the last few weeks was that I brought my contributors down with me. Clark followed not too long after, and finally, even Austin stopped fighting the good fight.

I have been depressed. Hell, I still am some days. But I am writing something important to me. Not just this blog, but my other blog, and several other projects. And I have to keep reminding myself that in order to be a writer, you have to write.

You have to write every damn day.

The longer I stay at this, the more second nature it becomes. But with hard times, family trauma, and failed attempts at greatness, the comfort of writing is also a blight. Because no matter how much I write and no matter what the topic, I can’t shake the feeling that I suck at it.

Please, do not comment or message me any reassurances about my “talent.” I am not fishing for anything. I am simply voicing my very real fear that I am, in fact a terrible writer.

I think this feeling comes with the territory. The craft of writing requires a lot of critique and it doesn’t have a finished product like computer programming or architecture. Does the program work? Does the building stand? Job well done. But, do the words sound right?

Maybe. I can’t ever tell.

I’m trying. Not very hard, some days. But, I try. And as I keep growing as an artist and a person, my life is improved not my my progress in the craft, but simply by doing it. I am made more human by the act of  trying to achieve, and striving to be better. And most days, it is still a hard sell.

But, I keep going. I fall, and stumble, and screw up with surprising regularity. And when I look back on these past mistakes, I can become paralyzed with fear. But I have to keep going. And I still ask myself why and and tell myself I am kidding myself, but I keep moving forward.

Why? Because I must. Because that is my task in this life. To push to be a story teller and to try and build something. Not so it can stand the test of time or be the greatest story every told, but because in the act of trying, I am made whole.

So here’s to being back. I’m sorry I ever left,

-DC

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.

Some Kind of Medicine

It’s been two weeks since I left my job, and it still stings. Fiercely, if I’m being honest. Most of my time and mental energy is spent staving off the unhealthy. This is on top of my grandma’s failing health, car trouble, money trouble, and who knows what else. Understandably, I’m a bit overwhelmed right now.

But let it never be said I can’t take my own medicine. I’ve worked with people who were in situations as crappy as the one I’m in now. Crappier, even. I have a new appreciation for what they went through.

There’s something I used to tell my clients who were down, out, and unemployed. Coming back from something big isn’t something that happens. It’s something you do. It’s a habit you create. Right now, the dark thoughts and the listlessness, those are the things I have to fight. Not letting them get a foothold is a habit I’ve used before, and will use again. It’s a bigger job than I thought it would be.

That said, I’m taking a couple weeks, before I start looking for work again. I think I’ve earned that much simplicity. It might be hypocritical, it might be spot-on. I’m not sure.

I’m trying to stay busy, at least in spurts. Dan and I have big things coming out this week. In fact, there are going to be a few announcements this week explaining that better. And it’s going to be something We’re very proud of.

So there’s a silver lining at least. Stay tuned.

-Austin

Working for the weekend

I won’t bore you with my usual musing. Instead, here is a teaser image for a brand new web comic, coming from myself, Austin, and the incredible artist, Matthew Stefani!imageBe on the look out for more news coming soon!

 

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

Paths of Victory

It’s happening. Like marrying the love of my life, an other dream is coming true. Like moving to New York, I’m following through on an other plan. And like going to Disney world, my inner child is rejoicing.

I’m writing a comic. And not just any comic. A comics that Austin and I conceived of almost ten years ago, but we never dreamed it would amount to anything.

This isn’t just exciting to me: I’ve been writing I produced scripts for years. But this time, I have a partners who are commuted to the cause.

Austin is co-writing with me. Which is a cool new experience for both of us. I’ve never written with other people before. It’s always been a solo adventure. But, one of my best friends is now at the helm with me.

As if that weren’t cool enough, I have the pleasure of working with Matthew Stefani. A brilliant up and coming artist and designer who I met on the roof of Courtney’s old apartment by sure luck.

I hope to share some initial art with you next week, but for now, I just wanted to announce that my dreams are coming true. Am I writing Batman or the x-men? No. But I want to make comics, and I’m actually dong that now. And for the first time since I moved to New York, I feel like in not spinning my wheels. I’m revving up.

Be on the look out, and prepare to be annoyed. Because I don’t plan on shutting up about this until February, at the earliest.