I rarely go out due to me finding a tremendous amount of joy in my solitude. And to be completely honest, I just felt like I couldn’t find a space that had an environment that matches my energy and vibe. If you’ve read my previous post or been following my journey, you’ll know I don’t drink or party. I choose to avoid putting myself in situations or proximities of people, places and things that can lower my vibration. Which has been quite challenging because I’m human and still love to have a great time. Finding that right place and the right space that makes me feel comfortable and could match my tempo was nearly impossible until one night a friend invited me to Dreamland™.
I walked in and instantly felt like this is exactly what I’ve been searching for. Scratch that, YEARNING FOR. The ambiance was inviting and the decor aesthetically matched the era that I wish I could have experienced firsthand. The era of the bohemian spirit; love, peace and rock & roll. The atmosphere was dim, sexy, lavish, retro and had an amazing energy to it. It didn’t feel like I was in a stale building masquerading as an interior decor facade. It was as if I was invited to an intimate Malibu house party in the 70’s when fashion had flair, texture and a personal story behind it. Before there was such a thing as an aux-cord and your only option for a sonic experience was that of vinyl or better yet, the human melodic sounds being disbursed through microphones, amps and monitors. Live music bringing beautiful people to life and resurrecting a state of engagement with the space as if it too had a soul, a voice, and something to say. There was no bad energy or a hierarchy of those who have and those who have not. It was a space where people could just be. Where young people felt older and older people felt young. Where nostalgia was heavily present for those who lived it and those wish they were there.
Dreamland™ is hands down my new favorite place to go when I feel like I need a night out. I’ve already gone a handful of times since my first encounter and will be back many more times to come. Even as I type this, I look down and see the wristband with the adorned orange and yellow insignia that I’m still yet to cut off my hand. It’s like a badge that says – “yes, I know about this special little space on the PCH where locals and dreamers alike can go, mingle and feel apart of something special”.
Past – My drinking career began in Junior High but if I go even deeper in my subconscious, it really started when I was a child. I can remember my dad coming home from a long day at work, and like a routine, he would shower, pour a four-beer-serving into his giant frosty mug, sit in his chair and watch TV. The smell of homemade food would fill the house as my mom was in the kitchen working up her magic. My dad, like a king on his thrown, kicked up his feet as he sipped his suds. Naturally, I, the little prince of the manor, would be positioned right beside him. He would put his arm around me and make me feel safe and loved and then quietly whisper, ”Mijo, wanna sip?”. Dad was my hero so of course my easily influenced child-brain wanted to partake in this passage of manhood. As he shifted the mug in my direction and tilted it to my tiny lips, he smiled and told me to hurry so mom doesn’t see. I can still feel the giant cold mug pressed against my face as the taste of freezer-burned glass and bitter barley traveled through my mouth and into my belly. My little underdeveloped frame instantly postured itself as a maverick would in the wilderness. Inflated by machismo and the acknowledgment of my father, I sat there thinking – this must be what love tastes like. These were the types of moments with my dad when my innocent imagination was catapulted into projections of alpha-male etiquette. You see, my dad was an alcoholic, my grandfather was an alcoholic and a large portion of my family didn’t know how to celebrate without a cold beverage in their hand. That’s not to say my whole family has a problem with addiction, but I am saying the regularity of bottles being around and the consumption of its contents being so normalized in my childhood experience would inevitably serve as the primer to me being susceptible to a battle that I didn’t even know I was signing up for.
From my early teens up until early adulthood, I never thought I had a problem. To be completely honest, I never even liked the taste of booze – but sure did love how it made me feel. It was exciting and fun. I liked being silly with my friends and if alcohol was around, that meant girls weren’t too far away. As a teenager who grew-up as the fat kid in school, drinking gave me a confidence and a veil of self-esteem that I could never acquire on my own. It was the mask that replaced the reflection in the mirror, the me that I was embarrassed of. It was the key that unlocked the hidden chamber within that allowed me to freely express my humor. It was my Kevlar vest that didn’t allow rejection to wound me. At that stage in my life, I didn’t just like drinking, I loved it. It was innocent and honest and wasn’t yet causing any negative impacts in my experiences.
Then somewhere things got squiggly. Drinking and having fun turned into belligerent blackouts and being obnoxious. Mornings of regret and shame and an uncertainty of who I even was the night prior. In hindsight, this is when my favorite pastime turned into a negative habit. I could no longer control myself once I started drinking. I became a Binge Drinker and never knew where the line of overconsumption was. I would drink fast and continuously until I was no longer consciously steering the ship. I knew things were really shifting and getting out of control for me when the girl I was dating at the time witnessed me in a state she didn’t recognize. We were at a party and I was loud, possessive, controlling and outright disrespectful in public (all antics that would continue to haunt me). She tried to express her worry because she loved me, but I still didn’t fully see that my sense of control was a false one. In my mind, it was absurd to think something so small and harmless such as a drink could be powerful enough to hypnotize me. – I was delusional.
Fast forward a few years and I moved to Hollywood. This is when my drinking got exacerbated by the sheer enabling that Hollywood gives you. It’s the land of the broken toys, the misfits, the lovable rogues that are all seeking validation through existential prizes and people. It’s where the facade outweighs the human behind the mask and where lies are more compelling than the truth – and I felt right at home. In this ten year long segment of my life, I was living like I was somebody. I created this whole new avatar for myself that was wild and had a presence. He was on his way to a level of success that he dreamed of. And because of this golden carrot that he was closely running behind, he felt entitled. Girls should love him for what he has (photography, superficial stuff, charm, charisma and an over-inflated sense of self). People should accept him and never abandon him because he has a valuable skillset and a manipulative way of exploiting their needs (narcissistic tendencies). He positioned himself so people needed him (codependency). – Behind it all, I was just a scared little boy who couldn’t bear being alone and didn’t believe he was worthy of being loved and feared being fully seen. My bed was always full but my heart was always empty and alcohol was no longer an occasional supplement, it was a necessary medication to numb me from the paralysis that I would experience when I was forced to spend time with all of my shame and inadequacies (dancing with my demons).
Looking back, I can see so clearly now that the only thing I ever wanted was to find a pathway to authentic self-love. A true, sincere, unconditional worthiness for myself that I could only find by going inward. It was such a trying time for me and I was on the precipice of life and death, and that is not a euphemism.
Present – I woke up four years ago today and decided I was done. I was tired of trying to be a better me while still having one foot anchored in my past. I no longer wished to be the vessel of chaos that gets uncorked within me once I take the first sip. It was time to make the shift from powerless, to powerful. It was time to recalibrate the measurement in which my character is gauged. It was time to become a new version of self, a self that chooses to be an expression of light and love and trusts that there’s an unseen omnipresent power waiting to help him transcend from victim to hero. – Here’s my journey (so far).
Year One – The first year was the toughest. I physically moved away from Hollywood and purged myself of all the people and possessions that once adorned my world. I had to completely detox my body, mind, heart and spirit of any interfering frequencies that could trigger a relapse – not just in my addiction, but also in my identity. I was so closely intertwined with the label ‘wild party guy’ that it became a part of my fabric. A badge of honor if you will. Not only did I live up to it, on most nights I surpassed it. This was the year of accepting my truth and trying to understand the operating system within in me. I had to get curious about my problem and explore why I am the way I am. I had to dismantle the mechanics and get to the root causes, this was the only way I could get started on formulating a solution. It was a very complex time for me because had to break myself down in order to build myself back up. In this fractured state I had no idea who I was and what I represent in the world. There was nothing and no one to root my identity in. I closed myself off which meant there were no friends or distractions, I was my only source of companionship. The discomfort in this process came from forced confinement with a stranger. It was just ‘me’ with me, yet I didn’t even know who the hell ‘me’ was.
Year Two – This was the year I became hyper inquisitive. I started questioning everything and trying to look past and beyond what was right in front of me. This lead to an opening inside of me that became the introduction to self, the authentic me that’s been dormant his whole life. This was an interesting time because the self-induced isolation started to become my state of solitude. The quiet wasn’t just a need, it was a necessity. I often refer to this as the ‘toddler stage’ of my journey. Everything in the world looked new and like I was seeing it for the first time. This is also when I took my first steps into running. Running was, and still is, one of the most expansive tools that I’ve ever stumbled upon. Learning to shift your physicality, break through invisible barriers and transcend thresholds is a way one can access a God state (runners high). You quickly realize the further you go, the higher your frequency ascends. There’s been runs where I feel directly connected to all – God, spirit and nature all working in unison with me and through me. It’s a remarkable experience and a feeling that I still don’t quite know how to properly articulate in words.
Year Three – This was the year of integrating my truth and authenticity into my identity. The year of congruency where my inside world matched my outside experience. This is where the magic really happened. I felt strong, powerful and acquired a new level of self-esteem that I’ve never experienced before. I become so sure of myself and my ability to make self-honoring decisions, which in turn made me feel fully safe and free to trust that gut feeling that we all have access to. For example, I finally got back out there and started dating and quickly discovered the intricacies in the process. There’s a sense of shame in the beginning when your date asks why you don’t drink (I found this to also bleed into friends and family). The more I trusted myself and leaned into my truth, the more comfortable I was to express and celebrate this new virtue. I felt powerful to be able to say “no” when my date would say “yes”. I no longer worried about being seen as that ‘awkward sober dude’ at the party (this was never even a reality, it was just story I concocted in my imagination). No longer believing that I deserved to be put on the discount rack of life, I fully invested in my decision to become the best version of myself and would not negotiate the price of my new worth. Whenever someone would make fun of me or belittle my choices and beliefs, I simply tallied it up as “they can’t afford me”. – My prayer is that everyone invests in finding this intrinsic commodity inside of themselves because the R.O.I is something that money can’t buy… compounding self-worth and internal freedom.
Year Four – Here we are, the year of alignment. This is the year that I fully turned my deficit into a superpower. My ability to stand firm in my belief and exploit my truth in the service of myself and others. I am proof that change is available and accessible if you’re ready for it. I’m my own Post-It note on the mirror, the reminder that everyday is a new opportunity for growth, and that I am worth it. This thing, this addiction, this proclivity to self-destruction is no longer my identity. I had to shape-shift this hole inside of me and turn it into an access point for love and compassion. A space for grace to carry me when I feel defeated. It took everything that I was to become everything that I am. And although I couldn’t see it at the time, I can see so clearly now that my journey was designed for me because something beyond me knew I was strong enough to make it to the other side.
In conclusion, I would not change any event that put me in the now. This present version of me is the dream version of me that I continue to tirelessly work on, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I no longer choose to suppress and numb myself from my internal world of feelings, emotions, traumas, flaws, inadequacies and so on. I decided to channel all of the energy it took for me to hide the internal me and express it in a way that illuminates my heart from the inside out. I had to remap the feeling of lack and turn it into one of abundance. I changed my story from “poor me” to “look how rich I am”, and I’m not taking about money. And to sum it all up, if someone was to ask me what changed when I decided to get sober, the answer is…. EVERYTHING.
Thank you God, thank you Universe and thank you ‘Me’ for loving me unconditionally and believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
I’m really excited to finally re-open the SS/POSTER CLUB™ and start releasing original, open edition prints again. Some of you guys have been collecting my prints and posters for over a decade and it’s a beautiful thing to continuously build this community with you. From art to heart, together we’re creating a connection that I hope can last a lifetime.
When I think of church and my relationship with it, I think of a connection that is beyond any sensory experience. I feel directly tapped in to an energy that is exemplified by a collective of individuals who are all working in unison to elevate the ultimate spiritual output, love. I feel safe, I feel vulnerable, I feel ready and willing to receive the gift of words and the pictures they paint in my mind and heart as I sit or stand and listen to them in the rhythm of song or cadence of articulated speech. I feel connected to the unseen yet the ever present. I can feel the creator holding my spirit as my mom carefully cradles my heart. There’s always something magical that transpires when I walk through the doors of that big white building on the corner of Hollywood and La Brea. Some mornings I walk in with my head held low and yet I always seem to walk out with it held high.
Church has been one of the hubs of love for me over the last eight months and it was almost instinctual for me find my way to Mosaic when my mom passed. Although my spiritual journey has been, and still is, a very personal one, pastor Erwin’s words was like a light shining into the darkness within me during the transitionary phase of my life. I like to think of it as my rebirth into the me that I always dreamed of becoming. The new and improved Danny 2.0 that lives abundantly through is heart rather than through all of his insecurities and deficits. During the pandemic, I would spend Sundays with my mom listening to pastor Erwin’s messages via live-stream. We would sit at the table and drink coffee and then have a conversation about the message we just heard. One day my mom looked over at me in such a tender way that I don’t think she ever looked at me before. She was filled with joy that her son who never really knew God, finally took his hand. My mom would always pray for me to find my way home to the Creator, and when I did, she rejoiced. My moms relationship with God was ironclad. It was impenetrable and no matter what life threw at her, she always knew there was something bigger that loved her unconditionally. It was a truly beautiful thing to witness. When I went through my moms bibles and journals, there were so many hand written notes to God. She would tell him all the time how much she loved him and how she doesn’t feel alone in the fight of life.
To me church isn’t a space, a building or even a group of people. It’s a feeling I get and a vivid reminder of my mom. It’s an internal experience and a connection to a narrator who is merely using their skillset of language to interpret complex messages and disperse them in a impactful yet simplistic way. These messages are transmitted from the source above and sent directly to the heart behind the podium. What a gift. Sometimes I wonder if God was to talk to me, I mean really sit me down and have a conversation with me using common language, would I even be able to understand him? I don’t know if I’m that advanced, which leads me to believe that’s why the Creator shows me his love through actions. When I want to stop, something keep pushes me forward. When I feel like life is against me, something clears a path to a new perspective or opportunity. When I feel useless, something shows me reminders of all that I’ve done, which reinvigorates my fire for all that I’m going to do. When I feel unworthy of being loved, something enters my heart and tells me I’m loved beyond comprehension. When I feel low and alone, something moves the clouds and allows me to feel the warmth of the sun. How can I ever be alone or unloved when there’s something working within me, through me, and for me – every day and in every way.
I feel like I just need to express this here – my relationship with God, Creator, Universe, whatever you wish to call it, is my own. Everyone has their thing and I honor that. I will never try to sell you on religion. I also don’t think that you need to go to church to be a “good Christian” or have a spiritual relationship. To me church is a place people go when they are seeking something (love, connection, fulfillment, acknowledgment, forgiveness, community, etc) they’re lacking in their life. Church is a physical space, and it’s a beautiful one at that. It serves a wonderful purpose and offers so much to those who seek it. But to me, and from what I’ve experienced on my own spiritual journey is this – the true access point to be in the presence of the Higher Power is through your heart. You don’t have to go outside to dance with God, you dance with him within you.
It’s currently 7:30am as I’m sitting here in my robe working on poster layouts. As I take my first sip of freshly pressed coffee, I find myself wanting to switch spectacles. I want to mix it up and shift into something that can mirror my vibe. I’m feeling good and have a lot creative energy brewing already. I can tell today is going to be a productive one. As I walk from one workspace to the other in search of my clear frames, it dawned on me how hard it was to find the perfect glasses. I thought, am I the only person who’s struggled finding eyewear that not only properly fits their face, but also fits their personality and style too? Perhaps I should share this time consuming journey because if you’re looking for new spectacles, it should be a mindful purchase and one that’s personally tailored to you and for you. Not only are glasses expensive, they are a direct reflection of the person behind them. They represent your profession, quirks, interest and can even be used to embellish the you you aspire to be. At the tail-end of the height of Covid last year I made an appointment to finally get my eyes examined and update my glasses. It was eight years since my last exam and I’ve never sprung for designer or quality frames but this time I knew wanted something modern and sophisticated yet classic, like me. I’m older these days and feel like I’m really blossoming into my full future-DILF spirit. After searching online and trying on countless pairs at stores, these are the three frames I decided on and why I love them equally.
Selima Optique™ - I wanted a sophisticated pair of clear optics that didn’t look too adolescent but still showcased my humorous side. Something that said “this guy has fun while getting things done”. A classic style with a modern twist. I wanted this pair to challenge me and stretch me out of my comfort zone. After a few days of searching I finally landed on the Mike silhouette and it was love at first try-on. These beautiful glasses have a very high-end artisanal vibe and are unsurprisingly handmade in France. With a price tag that matches the craftsmanship, I paid $400 from the website and would do it again. I always feel artsy and a bit high-brow when I’m behind these frames. I feel like I should be cruising through galleries critiquing art that I don’t understand, all while spewing pseudo intellectual words to describe the lack of emotion in the undertones and the artists failure to fully commit to the work. How this lifeless canvas falls flat and stale and renders itself as hotel decor at best. – You’ve been warned, don’t ask me for my opinion when I’m in the driver seat of these baby’s. Speaking of art, this is my go-to frame when I’m designing or tackling the inevitable creative-blocks. Somehow these always seem to magically break me through those moments of low inspiration.
Saint Laurent™ - This pair started out as sunglasses but I never found myself reaching for them and always thought they would look better as prescription based eye-magnifiers. Eventually that’s exactly what they turned into. These are the SL145’s and they’re by fair my most worn pair of specs. I use them every day and basically have them on whenever I’m working from my laptop, which is very often. They’re also the pair that I pack in my camera bag and take with me on shoots. I think I paid $250 on Grailed™ and absolutely love them because you can’t beat a classic look. Apparently they aren’t available on the SL site anymore but I found a similar pair for you if you’re interested in twinning.
Aristar™ - These are the cheapest of the bunch. And by cheap, I mean FREE. I actually almost opted out of even getting them because it’s slim pickings when your insurance covers the cost of eyewear. The assistant helping me said “Honey, you might as well get them. You can always use them as spares”. I’m glad I listened to her because I have to say, I surprisingly wear them all the time. This is the pair I keep on the desk of my editing workspace (garage) so that means if I’m behind the desktop, then I’m behind these. It’s not shocking that the quality matches the price tag, but it was purely the aesthetic for me. I mean, who doesn’t like looking like Dov Charney or Oliver Zahm? There’s levels to the hipster game and these put me right at the top. I can’t even find this pair on the website but you can get them on eBay for around $18
Glasses should be stylish, fun and most importantly, comfortable on your face. You should feel confident in them and enjoy being behind the windshields of them. Dang, writing this post is making me have the itch to buy a new pair, a pair of Jacques Marie Mage™ that I’ve had my eye on for awhile. Resist, Danny, resist. – I need to give a huge thank you to my amazing optometrist, Wink Optometry™ in Westlake Village (they also have a location in Calabasas at The Commons if you’re interested). The staff is always so nice and engaging and go above and beyond to help you. If you want to do what I did and bring in your own glasses, your frames are in trusted hands. They did a fantastic job and unlike other places that sometimes accidentally crack the frames while trying to retrofit the new lenses, mine came back perfect and only took a few days. I believe they charged $75 a pair to get my prescription installed, but maybe your eye insurance is better than mine and will cover the cost.
Things are going to be changing around here, and little by little I’ve been making the shift. I want to transform this space from a purely creative based expression to one that is more aligned with my present aspirations. I want to be of service to others and help them integrate their interior world with their exterior experience. I want to be the friend that walks with you when you feel lost and helps you find your way to the future you. The you that you’ve been dreaming of becoming.
Everything starts from within. It’s our human foundation that our lives get built on. Trust me, it’s the only way we can find joy and fulfillment in the achievements of success and not crumble under the pressures and stresses that come our way. Money and accolades are the cherry on top, but true and authentic love for oneself is the Sunday.
One day (and many more after) I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with work. It was hard to focus on tasks and I was navigating my day in a state of low vibration. I could feel myself being unpleasant, not only to others but also myself. I didn’t like the experience and I knew I needed to shift things. I knew I needed to shake myself into a different physical state. I needed to move my body. I stopped everything I was doing, walked away from my desk and put my running shoes on. I headed out the door and began kicking the pavement.
I started my run at a slow pace, paying close attention to my cadence and rhythm. As I was focusing on the road ahead of me and trying to clear out all of the congestion in my mind, I started moving my feet faster. Before I knew it I was already three miles in and entering a trance-like meditative state. Nearly all of the overwhelming thoughts that were previously bouncing around in my noggin seemed to go silent. Whatever pain I was experiencing during mile four was no where to be found while entering mile eight. Physically I was on autopilot but spiritually I felt like I was connected to the source (God, Creator, whatever you wish to call it). It was me and me having this very beautiful experience with the something BEYOND. Man and nature and spirit having an enriching silent conversation together. There were no words, just feelings.
Somewhere between being out of alignment at my desk and being back in the vortex on the road, I could feel all of my worries fade away. With every step forward I made, I felt a weight fall from my mind. As I was letting all of this mental congestion go I could feel my body absorbing the wind, and with it, it brought a new energy into my being. I could feel sunshine on my skin even though it was a cloudy day. I felt free and light and unbothered by any human made worries or anxieties that I was bombarded with an hour prior. Like a wave that washes over the sand, there was no more debris in my nervous system. As I ran through mile ten I could feel something on my face that wasn’t there when I started. I placed my hand on my skin to try to delicately read this expression with my fingertips as if it were brail. The thing on my face was a smile.
On this overwhelming day I discovered that sunshine is a state of mind. It’s been cloudy many times since, but on this day I learned that I can change my skies.
They say happiness doesn’t come cheap. The old me would have agreed. But these days I’d argue that happiness comes free. Or perhaps it comes at the cost of a latte and a twenty minute car ride through the canyon. Maybe it costs me a few hours of my time spent exploring new places, or old ones that I love. It could be having an interesting conversation with someone I just randomly met at a cafe that costs me being distracted from work. These aren’t costs, these are all investments if you ask me. Happiness will no longer come with a price tag, and you can find it everywhere, when you learn how to find it in yourself first.
So how might one start finding little pieces of happiness within so they can begin to look for it without? This is a very intricate question that I touch on quite often on the Podcast but I’ll try my best to break it down as simple as possible here. When I began this overhaul of my life I had to detach myself from all of my old narratives and start taking inventory of what was authentically mine. I had to look at what I collected throughout my life and see what was there. What did I gather on my own and what did I pick up or inherit from others (friends, family, relationships). It all started with this one very simple question as I looked at each item – “how does this make me feel and does it enhance my life?”
As I carefully and consciously visited these supplements of happiness, I little by little I began purging all of the hypothetical items that people left over at my place. Once I had my own personal pile, I was able to start laying the foundation to my authenticity. I was on a mission to find the things that truly represent me, my interests, my beliefs and the internal well-being that I was trying to create in my life. It was astonishing to discover that a lot of the things that I thought were mine, was actually just stuff I liked because others liked it. I would buy high-priced materialistic items that I didn’t need, spend time with people I didn’t really enjoy, invest in things that never gave me a spiritual return and do things that always hurt in me the end. Of course this ‘stuff, things and people’ were fun for the moment and served a purpose at the time, but there’s a short shelf-life on processed happiness. When you can cultivate organic happiness from within, it’s much more filling and nourishing and doesn’t just grow in abundance during the summer, but it will even carry you through the winter. It’s time to start farming, my friends.
You know those long, grueling, organizational tasks that you put off because of how time consuming they are? And if you are anything like me, how easily distracted you can get while trying to execute said assignments. Well, that’s what I’m forcing myself to do this weekend and it starts today. I have to comb through a decade worth of film scans and digital files to see what’s in there and then organize it by year, format and client or personal work. Sounds like hell, right? I agree. The first thing I did this morning was go buy three boxes of K-cups® so I don’t have to leave the workspace for fuel. I figured the less opportunities my anxious brain has to concoct distractions, the better. I even put my phone in a different room because we all know how quickly time can slip through our thumbs.
There is a silver lining though. Since I haven’t paid attention to any of these images in years, I’ll be seeing them now as if it was for the first time. With fresh eyes, I’ll be able to scan through the work and re-discover any selects that I might’ve missed during the original editing process. This will give me fun and nostalgic content for the blog and Poster Club, which is exciting because I’ve completely fallen back in love with this website and been updating it daily again. Speaking of the Poster Club, are you aware that I haven’t released any new print editions in over a year? You guys, it’s time we change that. This is the perfect opportunity to offer you new prints from your favorite shoots.
The other reason why I’m doing this is because I need to FINALLY finalize the images for my photography book that I’ve been intermittently working on (‘work’ - using this term very loosely) over the past three years. This organization task is the thing that has single-handedly held up the printing and production process because the amount of photos I need to go through, in contrast to the limited number of pages that I have to fill is overwhelming. I’m going to be totally transparent, it’s really embarrassing to admit that this is the only reason why I haven’t put my book out yet. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This, my friends, is one of my biggest weaknesses. And let me tell you why. I’ve lived with these photographs for years and had to see them over and over again. I’ve spent so much time with them that now when I sit with them it’s like watching paint dry. Have you ever been excited or thrilled to watch water come to a boil? Exactly. My eyes have sucked out all of the creative energy or visual stimulation from them. That initial charge that I got at the shoot or during the original editing session has been completely drained. Think of your favorite musician who sings your favorite song. To you, it never gets old. To the artist, they hope they never have to listen to it again. It’s the same thing just in a different format.
And now to walk through the veil of theatric writing and overly dramatic expressions – I know that I’m very fortunate to do things like this as ‘work’. I mean, let’s be real for a moment. Here I am in the comfort of my own home with a fresh cup of coffee, sitting in my favorite Herman Miller® office chair and typing on this huge iMac® that sits on my super rare Modernica® desk.. and complaining about how I have to skip out on a weekend of sun in order to rummage through photographs. Photographs that brought me a tremendous amount of joy and money at the time of shooting them. Seriously, even I want to slap myself for complaining so copiously about something that most people dream of doing. I’m very aware that I’m fortunate to have this luxury. But I also want to be kind to myself while mindfully acknowledging my own privilege. Work is work. No matter how you frame it, we are doing something with our time that is mandatory and obligatory in order to reap a reward or benefit. The process is the same, the only difference is the level of resistance we experience between the ‘act of doing’ and the reward from ‘being done’. Everything in the in-between is a personal choice. It took me a decade of hard, relentless work to get here, to RIGHT NOW in this chair. Perhaps I’ve earned a little wiggle room to playfully complain about something that I wish I wasn’t doing, but know that I will, because it’s important to me. So if there’s a lesson here, I suppose it’s this – do what you gotta do to get what you wanna get, and start getting it today so you can enjoy the freedom of having it tomorrow.
While I was sourcing decor for the Zen Den, which is my dedicated podcasting/meditation space in my house, I started becoming obsessed with small home accessories. I’ve always loved decor and accent pieces and been interested in creating my own for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately the Industrial Design space is a hard one to break into because the time and cost of development and production makes it nearly impossible for someone like me who doesn’t have the know-how or resources to bring an idea to life.
I think a lot of us creatives, especially the ones of us who have an entrepreneurial spirit, find it extremely difficult to enter these high level pay-to-play spaces without a school background or access to manufactures. But my curiosity and this desire to try something new while using my hands in the process lead me to going back to school, and by school I mean the University of YouTube and Google. It’s the place that I’ve learned pretty much everything creative. Photography, sewing, web design, graphic design, podcasting and many other formative lessons have all been learned by me simply leaning into my curiosity and being self-efficient. I must say, I got a crash-course and it was really fun going down the rabbit hole of this new hobby/endeavor.
Over the last three months I’ve spent a lot of time in my workshop (garage) where I’ve been playing with this new interest, cement. I’ve been exploring different ways of creating shapes from molds and what ratio of raw materials to water works best. After a ton of failed attempts, I’ve finally dialed in the final consistency, texture and overall aesthetic that I was looking for. It was really interesting to be a total rookie again and working with foreign materials because all of the mess-up’s and failures lead me to creative freedom. I finally took off the training wheels, meaning I put the molds aside and started working on my own curiosities. I began by asking myself what I need for my space? Was there a problem that I could solve without having to go to the store for a solution? What aesthetic is appealing to me but still serves a function and purpose? What would I buy if I was to see it at one of my favorite interior boutiques?
This sent me into an almost obsessive state where I began to meticulously make my own original pieces. Like a kid that just got his first Lego® set, I was building and creating something new all day, every day. I can’t lie, some of these loosely labeled artisanal creations were horrible. They looked like I gave a toddler a handful of putty in an attempt to keep them occupied while someone does some online shopping. Others weren’t bad, but still not quite there yet. My perfectionist mind said they’re not ready even though my friends loved what I was making and started taking home the pieces I wasn’t going to use – “wait, you made this… can I buy it?!”. That’s always a good source of affirmation that you’re onto something and it was nice to give my friends a trinket from my entry stage into this new project.
I’ve currently been working on a small batch of original handmade pieces over the past month that I’m really excited about. This will be my first offering using this new material and it’s invigorating because it was super challenging to finally get the pieces to a place where I feel comfortable to sell them. I try to be extremely mindful of how hard people work for their money and how special it is when someone buys something from me. If the product isn’t at a level that I’m happy with, I’d rather keep shaping it until it meets my satisfaction. That’s probably why my perfectionist brain doesn’t allow me to release things very often.
Stay tuned for more info on SS/WORKSHOP™