23992_336294633370_1510191_nI have always had trouble with motivation. I have great ideas, and understand what I ought to be doing at any given time, but actually DOING it is sometimes a struggle. I suppose this comes with the territory of depression, but I hate it. Over the years I’ve tried everything, just about. Here are a couple things that have worked for me.

1.Put on your shoes.

I just- put my shoes on. This means something to my mind, apparently, because once my shoes are on, I start doing things almost right away, I don’t know why this works, but it does. Socks are a half measure and will get me to the kitchen for coffee but no further. Pants will get me from the bed to the couch. But shoes? I’ll end up doing something useful within an hour or so.

2.Close the bathroom door and turn the water on in the sink.

I have had a long hard fight with maintaining hygiene over the years. If I don’t think to myself “I’m gonna brush my teeth” but simply go into the bathroom and lock the door, then turn on the water…somehow I immediately brush my teeth. It’s like the shoes- it just works. I don’t let myself think about it. I just turn on the water as soon as I go in there. I usually have to use the bathroom right away when I wake up, so I turn the water on right when I walk in. I know it wastes a little water to have it run for a minute, but it’s the way that works, and I stick with what works these days.

3. Keep medicine next to the bed.

This works for me because I take my medicine in the morning and at night, not during the day. Except for one medicine, which I just take with me.

4. Don’t bring your laptop or phone to bed with you.

You will HAVE to get up to entertain yourself. Even just to entertain yourself. It’s way too easy to start reading something online and laze around with it.

5. Don’t rush.

I have been waking up at least an hour before I have to get ready, this past year. This gives me time to slowly wake, to get my head together before I have to get out of bed. I can get pants on and socks and get coffee early then relax for a while if I want, but on days when I really need to kind of slowly rise from the depths, it’s a lifesaver.

6. Have your clothes ready and some food ready for the morning.

Since I am at my perkiest right before bed, I grab my clothes for the next day and set them out. I try to also put out the things I need to make food with in the morning too. In fact, the more nighttime-me is considerate of morning-me, the easier mornings become.

As for cleaning the house and stuff, I have no idea. I go long times not wanting to do anything, and then suddenly have a zeal for it and will whirlwind my whole house. Sometimes just one area, sometimes everything over the course of a few days. I am still figuring that one out. Any suggestions?



(this post was originally drafted, in a much shorter form, on: May 15, 2012)

is your art good enough to sell online?

Short answer? Yes.

Long, realistic answer?

pretty on the inside

I show you my heart.

Putting your art up online is kind of like showing it in a gallery. You may not be the best at your particular art style, but if you want to improve, showing the internet what you are doing is a good way to get better. There are so many skill levels, so many ways of expressing yourself; the internet is home to them all.

If you’re really timid, start slow. Use deviantart, and request critiques. Once you feel like you can handle more harsh views, try some art forums, and ask for opinions.

Or, alternately, you can dive right in. We all start where we are. Try to get very good pictures of your work. never upload giant files; upload files that are just big enough to look good on a monitor, no larger. Image theft is common, and sometimes unintentional. If you watermark unobtrusively, and only upload smaller files, you’ll find more people credit you when reposting or sharing your work. You want people to do that, because that is how you will sell your art online.

Etsy is a good starter for artists. It’s not the best venue for fine art, but it can be a good way to get your feet wet. Be cautious, though, as most of the advice on using etsy is not written with art in mind, but easily-reproducible craft. Your painting can’t be tagged and posted the same way a t-shirt can. This is why etsy is only a starter site.

The Craftstar has a decent art section, but you will have to have a paypal and pay for listing in advance.

You could also opt for one of the other sites geared for art sales- originals are harder to sell most places than prints, but it IS possible to sell just originals online.

If you are just starting out, keep your prices as low as possible. Once you are selling your work on a regular basis, then you can raise your prices. At first, it’s unknown if you will succeed or not. Most people not only buy art for its look, for how it grabs the eye, but also for the artist’s longevity, their name, their history. Build your history a little!

It’s the internet. You should maintain privacy for your own comfort and safety of course-but letting people get to know you, talking about deep or personal things, lets the viewer understand the origin of your works, and become more invested in them. Give them a chance to find out where the art came from. You can be a cantankerous bitch hermit like me and STILL be capable of showing your inner self online. You don’t have to be outgoing to do it; you can talk as if the site was your own art journal, your own notes about each piece.

So- yeah. Your art is good enough to sell online- at etsy or anywhere else. Keep your expectations of sales low at first, and your prices the same, and then as time passes you will see how your work can fit into the greater whole of online art.

And if you need encouragement, ask for it. And if you need a slap on the wrist, or a sound drubbing, you should ask for that too. All the help you could ever want from other artists lives inside your computer, but it can only do you good if you put your own work in there too.

making art, making life.

The world is a very grey and dismal place at times. There are deaths, horrors. We are all alone in these little bodies, floating around, disconnected most of the time- from each other and from the ground we stand on. Most people DO live quietly, desperately, working and thinking and amassing a thousand new worries each day.

Most people walk around afraid, nervous. Or angry. Or just focused on the task at hand, which for more people all the time involves merely surviving the vicissitudes of economy and thrift, of bad jobs or no work. Of struggle. Life is mostly struggle and concern for most people on earth, and for the rest it can be even worse.

It’s our job, as artists, to show people that there is more. I am not a religious person, nor even a spiritual one. I do not believe that there is a sky-man or any kind of conscious entity watching over us carefully, or interested in our problems. I do not believe. BUT- I do believe that the world itself is a being of grace, and by truly seeing it, and being within it, we can lighten our weight. This entails details.

When one is in a chain gang, there will be a beautiful weed sprouting in the ditch. When one has lost hope and is starving, there will be the smell of dry morning air, and the sunrise. When the worries about the future become too much, there is still the present.

I know this doesn’t make up for any of it. I also know that there are times for all of us when we realize our solitude, when we are alone and in pain, in the dark. Cold and possibly hopeless. In those times it is art’s job to expose the alternatives, to bring the world into us and that way bring us out of ourselves.

Art doesn’t have to be “good” or skilled or perfect or even beautiful to do this. It will be a different view for each artist and a different piece that speaks to each viewer. Sometimes the crude and the ugly do this much more effectively than the pretty and the sweet- actually for me, when I am alone and in pain in the dark, it is the reminder that others have been there as well that helps. And art that speaks this way is often NOT beautiful to look at.

nude watercolor painting, naked smileI need to sell art to live- to pay rent. To eat. If I could give it away and not be homeless I would. But the necessities of the world insist that my work must be valued at a number. I know that for some the value of their work is low and their hours are long and hard; that they must do work which is difficult, upsetting, dangerous. I am lucky to be an artist, I am privileged in ways not many are. I love my work. That alone is a stroke of fortune.

People who hate their work but must do it deserve my best efforts, because I know that at times my work, seeing my work and interacting with it, is their release and their reminder. Artists have an obligation to try their damnedest to do that, and to do it as best they can every time.

Eugene/ written in May 2008

For all the little things about this town that make it less-than-perfect, (patchouli smells, for one, hahah) I have to say that I have found that I love it here.

I work for decent people, who have been involved in body mod for decades. Guys who have good high standards. They’re not perfect- nobody is. But they are good people, and they try damn hard, and they care a hell of a lot about both us artists there and what we do, and what they do, for the clients.

I remember some places I’ve worked where the owners were just dicks…or they had it in for the artists…or they didn’t trust us or each other. Places that sucked, that sucked the life out of the artwork. I’m glad I am where I am. I try to do things so that all tattoo artists can be in a good place like this.


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