Thursday, May 12, 2016


"You seem...Charged." a regular patron tells me as I enter the restaurant after my first weekend in Wynwood.

"I am!" and that is the best description of the finish of a few really really good weeks.

Who knew just a mere weekend or two off would change my whole perspective. It really stretches back the night before my birthday and a vegetarian cooking class with a bunch of girls I didn't really know.

Bookend Stock Island krunk fun to Wynwood krunk. Or Krunk to Krunk as I like to call it.

At the cooking class I found out one of the girls worked in the library. I've always wanted to secretly be a librarian and so I not so stealthy cornered her to find out what its really like while listening how we should cook vegetables.

In the midst of finding out how to properly slice and dice our veggies I gave up and told her how I've always wanted to work in a library but never knew anyone actually working in one. The flood gates were open for questions at that point and bonus, she actually worked in the archival section which is even cooler and my inner nerd rejoiced.

We talked all about her work, how she got there, where she wants to ultimately go with it and does she ever get afraid of ruining really old stuff. And there was one sentence she uttered that summed up my obessession with running away to the library world for work.

"Yeah, I like to learn too."

That's it. That's why I want to be a librarian. And why the library has always been a sanctuary for me in my toughest times. It may not be the job I'm looking for so much as the environment and ability to learn at all times. 

Steph, an old college buddy rolls into town the day after my birthday. Most of my college friends have families and 9 to 5 jobs and all of them have not made it down here. Yet.

She got a great gift from her hubby (also a college buddy of mine) to come down and visit. I warn her that we'll be kicking it in my studio apartment like its 1995. At first a little embarrassed by it. 

You tend to compare your life to your friends in "normalsville" and wonder if you're not still a college student who's in their 40's. 

Thinking mostly of her sprawling house and yard in comparison to my one room apartment. But in the end I really love my place, where I'm at and am happy to share it with her.

We get some bikes and roll about town. As she calls it the wine and bike tour cause that's exactly what we did. My favorite part was the sailboat/snorkel day in which we got in and swam with all the fishes. Something I vow to do more often cause I miss the reef and open water.

We swam with a big ole sea turtle and nurse shark that whizzed by. I kept popping up and pointing to make sure she was seeing it all.

Key West home isn't so bad when you have all this beauty to enjoy. Sometimes it takes a friend coming down to remind you of that very thing. 

Onto the next week and a trip up to Miami to help my spirit animal make a Wynwood mural. Marlene is one of my yoga teacher/artist friends who is fucking cool as shit. And even cooler when you find out she was on a call list to pose nude and that ended her up at a cocktail party naked painted pink serving David Bowie a drink.

I remember seeing her artwork before I actually knew her and asking the gallery owner "Who is that???" 

Her work spoke to me immediately and later finding out she's a trip to hang with as well. Her, me and her nephew are on the team to make this wall happen. And bonus points for all of us not knowing what we were doing since it was all our first time but it just flowed.

The ride up to Miami was so fast as we all talked constantly about everything. I forgot what its like to be around artists. Fast, excited, conversation over a myriad of subjects and how to tutorials.

It was already a great trip. We primed the wall the first day and scoped it out. While waiting for the second coat to dry we got some animal masks in the costume shop we were painting on.

In between had great beers at the brewery, amazing food at Kush, and met other creatives in the neighborhood. I was in heaven and it was only the first weekend.

We finished up this past weekend staying in a krunk town airbnb place that was kinda perfect too. Complete with three huge banana tree spiders that kept the bugs away.

Everyone in Miami was so kind. From the couple that let us use their scaffolding. Right down to the security guard who let us into the Wynwood walls cause Chase wanted to take a pic of one artist's work. It totally changed my view of Miami and let me know there's a place I can get my creative fix if I need to. 

I need to be around other artists. It just adds something to the work and is a damn good time. 

Food truck eats, an MTV food show shoot while painting, walking around the walls trying to figure out how other artists did what they did was awesome. 

Marlene is talking about starting a mural business and I'd be totally fine with it. I don't even care how much it pays, I just want to keep painting. It was so fun figuring it all out and with a wall that big you can't think about screwing it up. You just gotta get paint down and quick. Details come later.

I see it already changing my work which is what I hoped this excursion would do.

Shake things up a bit, give yourself some space, see where it leads. 

The artist community is how I fell in love with Key West. It's good to see it alive again in another form.

And the biggest learning of all came yesterday when I got a rush of ideas for new paintings. I am not a marketer.

I started taking off the marketing tag on descriptions of me in my social media a few weeks ago. It didn't feel right anymore. 

I got some requests for files from the new web designer of an old client and realized I have used marketing as a shield to be what I am. An artist.

It was a way to stay creative, make money, have a respectable title. It was safe.

As an artist, there's no guarantee you'll sell. You may have odd jobs, and there's no traditional pathway to success. Its a total crap shoot.

I chose marketing cause it was safe and it almost killed me. Yes, I learned how to MacGyver the shit out of anything and make it happen on a shoestring budget but I got crushed. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

I choose art. I'd much rather use my marketing tools to spread art out in the world than beer, shoes, tomato sauce, credit cards, and soda. 

Its where my heart is and always has been. I don't think I truly realized that until this weekend. I don't think I truly knew how marketing blocked me from being that until now.

I choose art. I choose my heart. Even if I'm not quite sure where it leads.

I started a new portrait yesterday and have some really cool weird ideas for more. Having fun with it I decided to post a pic to my personal Facebook page to show people. 

I've always compartmentalized that piece of me not comfortable to show it to everyone. It took a long time to just show my paintings to people I knew and cared about. I didn't hesitate to show it now. 

As we were cleaning up last night and one of our busboys  was mentioning I've been gone too much as of late. Our manager made light of it in a way saying, "Don't you know, she's an artist now..."

"Yes, I am. Damn straight."