Monthly Archives: May 2004


Jen Gray, a wider view, Canon 300D

I was reminded today of an important turning point in my creative life. A woman wrote to me and asked, “How do you keep your confidence up (without letting it dissipate) to keep living your creative dream?”

What came to mind is something a friend of mine told me years ago. I was saying something self-deprecating and insecure about my artwork and he turned to me and said, “When are you going to take it for granted that you are a talented artist? When are you going to stop trying to prove it? Assume it. Take it for granted and imagine what you could create from that place…”

My whole life changed that day.

I finally saw how much energy I was putting into becoming an artist. I thought I had to somehow earn the title, that there was some special magic attached to it. I thought I had to be plucked from the crowd, that someone from the outside (who? I have no idea) would say to me, NOW. You are good enough.

What a bunch of crap.

I think the label of “artist” is loaded and has a strange sort of baggage attached to it. People say, “I’m not an artist! I can barely draw a straight line” and I always cringe when I hear this. What’s so interesting about a straight line anyway?

It is not an exclusive club, this artist thing. It’s just a bunch of people who like to play, to make things, to dream up ideas, to color, to sing, to build, to string words together. Don’t we all? I think it helps to remove the labels.

Another part of keeping my confidence up has been learning to honor and trust my own unique way of doing things. I have to make peace over and over again with the fact that I run my business differently than others. I invent it every single day. It is very intuitive for me. I don’t read books about business, I don’t have a business plan, I don’t use spreadsheets and I don’t have a marketing program. To most, this is highly disorganized and BAD. (There is an evil voice in my head that reminds me of this all the time.)

Keri Smith wrote a brilliant list today called “10 ways to Infuse your Work with Your Personality.” #7 talks about the danger of comparing ourselves to others. She writes, “Ignore what other people are doing. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact that we are comparing ourselves to others.” So true!

Your dreams are living, growing things. There will be times when you think, “This is never going to work! What the hell am I thinking? Who am I to do this anyway?” And then a few days later you will get a call from someone who wants to hire you to design their CD cover or shoot their wedding or DJ their party and although you are tempted to say, “Me? Are you crazy? You should probably call someone more qualified.” You will instead grin, nod your head graciously and say, “Great. I would be happy to do that.”

Living your dream doesn’t mean you are always confident. It just means that you keep going…

What are your creative dreams?

Photo Friday – Black and White

Liam, Canon 300D

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Black and White”

And on the supersize me subject, a great link from my friend Sara. This is a really cool, innovative program that brings fresh produce to inner city schools called Farm to School.

homage to the bathroom portrait studio

bathroom portrait, Canon 300D

I have taken countless portraits in the bathroom. Not only of myself, but of my friends as well. I’ve always seen it as a tiny portrait studio, just big enough for two people, intimate, quiet, and often with exquisite lighting. (The fluoresent lighting above does not necessarily qualify.)

Several years ago, I was famous for a game we would play whenever we hosted a party. It was called “2 minutes in the bathroom with Andrea” (so illicit sounding!) and you didn’t know what actually went on in the bathroom until your turn.

My roommates and I always chose a colorful prop (a white cowboy hat, a long red cheerleader wig, etc.) and each guest would take their turn being photographed in it. I used an I-zone polaroid at that time, so by the end of the party all of the photos were placed on the kitchen island to be viewed. It was a blast.

Recent photos in the bathroom: Christina, Sasha.

And of course, you can always send your mirror portraits to the Mirror Project

supersize me

Gabriel, Canon 300D

I just got back from seeing Supersize Me and I’m feeling slightly nauseated. It was an excellent, if not chilling tale about what a high fat diet can do to your precious bod.

As if I needed another reason to stay away from McDonald’s.

When I look at my friend Kathy’s beautiful boy Gabriel (pictured above) I imagine how pure his one-year-old body is, and how he hasn’t seen the likes of whoppers and mcnuggets and coca cola yet. I cringe at the thought of getting him within 5 feet of all those hormones and grease and genetically modified crap.

I know this stuff is cheap and accessible and all of that, but whatever happened to real food?

If you haven’t seen this movie, check it out. It will shock you right over to your nearest farmer’s market.

Photo Friday – Macro

buoys, Canon 300D

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Macro”

orange spools


“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they
seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because
in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
– Anne Frank

surreal days

pinkie feet, Canon 300D

I met Pinkie the clown yesterday afternoon on the corner of Mission and 23rd in front of the Walgreen’s. She was making balloon dogs and balloon flowers and balloon swords complete with a wrap around holster. Impressive what some people can do with a small piece of orange latex.

But the day started off even stranger. I strolled half asleep into the bathroom yesterday morning and heard a strange flapping sound. It sounded desperate and birdlike and CLOSE. I peered into my office and there were two doves trying to find their way out of the narrow slit of a window they miraculously flew through in the first place. It was like a slumber party with David Copperfield gone terribly wrong.

I ran down the hall to get Matt and shouted at him asleep in bed, “There are birds in my office!” He shot out of bed, startled, confused (sorry honey!) “There’s what?!”

“Birds in my office!”

He somehow corralled them back through the window and a big, scared smear of bird poop slid down the glass in their wake. Sorry birdies.

The whole scene felt strangely symbolic. Any ideas out there?

The day ended with a dream that I was writing a check over and over to a man named Horse Peppercorn. Maybe it was because I read that Gwyneth Paltrow’s new baby is named Apple.

Things are getting very surreal around here.


My friend Mark is hilarious. Read his essay The Epitaph of the Crank Call.

Hay ride

Moe, Canon 300D

I forgot to mention that Moe did not faint while we were there.


But, he did so many other cute things, we didn’t begrudge him a faint. He even came along on our hay ride in the tractor and sat with us for hours on the side of the road while we waited for our favorite cyclists to go by.

Our very scientific study resulted in this finding: Do not ride 200 miles in one day by yourself! We were stationed at approximately mile 162, and the people that were still smiling were in groups; most of the cyclists that were riding solo scowled in pain or wouldn’t look at us as we cheered and clapped. Do NOT attempt one of these races alone. That is the moral of the story.

Moe mouth

baby goat Moe, Canon 300D

The most adorable of all mouths is the baby goat mouth.

The boys finished their 200 mile ride with flying colors and sore behinds. Jeff and Mike have officially declared their joy that they will never EVER have to do that again.

Jeff has described the ride in more detail on his site.

More photos to come!

Photo Friday – Parts

guitar stand parts, Canon 300D

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Parts”

Check out the new Planet SARK web site and have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Found this great quote today:
“A wise man will take more opportunities than he finds.”
– Francis Bacon