As we sat there chatting I began to tell him about some of the art that I make. He seemed surprised. He knew I worked at Starbucks and DRIP but he said that he had never seen any of my personal artwork. I laughed and rolled my eyes. I explained the irony of being a Graphic Design major from the University of Central Florida who was never taught web design. Thomas's eyes lit up.
"Do you like to write?"
"Well, yeah. I mean I've had a live journal for a while but I'm not really sure how to combine that with my art."
"You should make a blog website like the one I have! I'll even help you set it up!"
And just like that opportunity strikes like lightning. I wasn't sure where this was going exactly, I just knew this was something I needed to do. Thomas and I made plans to meet up later that week at Infusion Tea just down the street from the Starbucks that I work at. I spent the time in between racking my brain thinking about what I wanted to do and what I should call my website. I was driving around town talking out loud to myself for a few days trying to come up with a fitting title. Suddenly the lightning struck again, only this time it rolled off my tongue: Currents and Color.
I liked the way those words seemed to fit snugly together. Currents because I want the ideas to flow out of me. I want the process to be natural and flexible as well as relevant to my life and artist development. Color because I am an artist and this world is full of beauty.
The day came and I met Thomas at Infusion. The parking lot was bustling because of the Farmer's Market that they host on Thursdays. Thomas had already been there for a while sketching in his book. We found a table inside and I set up my computer.
Thomas explained how the site worked and how to set up the preferences. Everything got set up pretty quickly and I was thrilled with how user friendly the site was. Then Thomas proudly exclaimed "Ok, now you are ready for your first post!"
For all the thought that went into the title I didn't have a clue where I wanted to start with my artwork. I opened up iPhoto and began scanning for a picture. I found the one I had drawn of my friend Kenn at Steak n' Shake. It was a silly little sketch I made while we waited for our food but I thought it was a good place to start. Thomas showed me the best way to edit photos to make them ready for the web and before I knew it I had made my first post.
I felt like Prometheus had made a special trip down from Olympus to hand me a matchbook from his personal stash.
Over the next few weeks I sat in front of my computer posting artwork until I felt I had enough ready to share with the world. I made my website public and the journey has been astounding.
In its simplest form Currents and Color is my artistic diary. Most people I know would categorize me as a talker and they would be right. However, there is another sub-surface aspect of my personality that doesn't normally come out in conversation. The observational and analytical sides of my personality are typically kept to myself. However, through my website I am able to organize my thoughts and my artwork in a way that is accessible intellectually and emotionally.
In addition, actively sharing my work has helped me to feel more well-rounded and in touch with my place in the world. For a long time most people only knew me as "that girl who works at Starbucks" or "that girl who helps out with DRIP". And for as many times as I would explain all the things I was doing I felt like most people saw me as another college graduate who didn't have a job in their desired field. The truth of the matter is, I work at Starbucks to support myself, I work at DRIP because I am in love with the company and what I do there, and I am an artist in my own right so I have a website to share that with the world.
Before if someone said that I was "that girl from Starbucks" I would have just shrugged and said yes. Now I proudly say "My name is Melissa and I am an artist. I do a lot of things".
As I began posting my work I was surprised at how much variety started to surface: collage, two different types of printmaking, digital art, illustration, painting, and poetry. I have a few ongoing projects such as Feet and Photoshop World. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all: writing.
I never really considered myself a writer but after my best friend Amber encouraged me to start a journal, I haven't been able to stop. Even more surprising to me is that above that anything else on my website I seem to get the most compliments on my writing; which is something I wouldn't have explored had I done a traditional graphic designer website.
At one point I was at Thomas's house celebrating the two year anniversary of his website Analog Artist Digital World . On the walls were some stills from the Disney animated movie Pocahontas. I found out that before he began sketching around town that Thomas had been an animator for Disney. I couldn't believe it. As a kid I had wanted to be an animator. Those 2-D hand drawn movies have such a special place in my heart. As I got older and the market for hand drawn dwindled in favor of 3-D I decided to go into Graphic Design. After all theses years not only am I still creating but I have a former animator and brilliant artist helping me with my website. Full Circle.
|Thomas and I at the Holi Festival in March 2011|
Thomas I can't thank you enough for all your help! This website is such a huge part of my life and it is making me a better artist as I continue to grow!
To view Thomas's website please visit http://www.analogartistdigitalworld.com/