Blaugust 2016 is starting and I’m probably the least prepared that I’ve ever been for it. Considering that I’ve needed utmost coordination to be able to pull off Blaugusts in the past, this makes me rather uncertain about how I’ll be managing for this one.
As I look back on my posts from Blaugust 2015, I can see that a lot of what I’ve been doing in the last year has been an extension of what I achieved back then. A lot has changed for me personally and professionally in the time between Blaugusts and I guess now’s as good a time as any to reflect on it all. That’s right, once again Blaugust is encouraging me to explore new grounds as I make an actual diary-like post on my blog.
In November last year my work transitioned over to a new employer, a single-application focused company which was started in Adelaide but is now headquartered in San Francisco. It’s been a great experience, though sometimes challenging working in a remote capacity to most of the team. Our local office has since doubled in size and it’s nice to have more people around than just the three of us.
I work a lot now on front-end web stuff. I like it, but I hate all browsers.
I receive jobs every now and then to cut jobs on my laser cutter from a friend that runs a 3D-printing based business. There’s a mix of clients being directed towards me as well as cutting components for pieces he is assembling or incorporating into other works. At the end of uni semesters a deluge of architecture students are sent my way, needing assistance completing their university assignments.
When I first bought the laser cutter I entertained thoughts of spinning it into a fulltime source of income. I’ve actually got a rough balance sheet that shows I’ve covered the costs of the machine with the various cutting work done on it as well as art stuffs I’ve been selling over the past two years. This feels like a huge achievement, and I’m very proud of managing it so quickly. However fitting in the time to do the jobs alongside the day job has been exhausting. I do not see a path to transitioning to doing such stuff full time, and nor am I sure anymore that I would actually want to.
Doing more work on the laser cutter has come at the cost of pursuing much of my watercolour work. Actually I guess I’d been lax even prior to getting the machine. I struggle to find the motivation to sit down and create sometimes, other times I struggle to brainstorm things to paint.
But I do feel that even if it’s a slow pace, I’m still learning and expanding my watercolour skills. I’m not dissatisfied with how things are progressing.
Slowly over the last year I’ve been defining out what my little artistic niche in the world is. It is only natural that I’ve been putting together laser cutting and watercolour techniques to create what I hope are unique works of art that reflect my skills and personality as an artist. Along with this, I’ve been slowly expanding out my spheres of social media presence, the biggest being the creation of a Facebook page for my art. The immediacy of feedback on Facebook has been great, and the proximity of the potential audience (ie all of my existing friends on Facebook) has allowed me to get much needed boosts to my ego.
I was a little worried initially that any feedback I got on Facebook might feel a bit hollow, and that it would just be friends humouring me. Well maybe you are all just humouring me but it definitely doesn’t feel hollow. I feel more connected to my fellow artists, and I have a deep appreciation for the friends that encourage me in my artistic pursuits. You all inspire me very much, and it makes the creative process more fun. Facebook is also extremely easy to post to so I can get the immediate gratification of making something and putting it out there for the world to see.
I wanted to deviate from fandom works and instead pursue more original designs, but fandom is just such an easy audience to cater too, especially when I can share a common love of a franchise with people. Nerds, geeks, gamers and otaku are my people, so it’s easy to attend events like Supanova and AVCon and have common ground with other fans and potential customers. Small craft fairs are probably cheaper to attend but I don’t have experience with them or a significant enough backlog of items to take to them. That’s something that I’d like to change over the next year.
In the last week I’ve tried putting my stuff up on Etsy. Perhaps I’ll make a post about that as a separate Blaugust topic.
I spent much of this year’s AVCon away from the gaming hall. I had a great time in Artists’ Alley. Last year I thought I did quite successfully, this year I did far better than I could possibly have dreamed. This was in large part due to the Pokémon Go craze! Once again game-release timing was in my favour. In a way it makes me a little sad to think that fandom works will outshine my original art, but I guess I just need to keep working on my personal works until they can shine on their own merits.
For the first time in a while I think I can see a point where I will eventually be able to phase out my involvement in the AVCon Games Team and not feel guilty about leaving it behind. There are so many good people working on it, and there will be many more to come. Their passion, enthusiasm and grit is amazing and it gives me confidence that we’ll find more people with those same qualities for the next generation of AVCon and beyond.
John and I got married at the end of 2015! We were in America on holiday after I visited the new work office so it seemed like an opportune thing to do. We had a nice ceremony in the States with my sister’s family witnessing our marriage. Back home we had a larger celebration with friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere.
We are coming up on two years in the new house and its been treating us well. I have the garage set up as my workshop, with the laser machine, my giant light table and a series of shelves and work desks taking up residence in there. There’s no hope of fitting a car in! We’ve also hosted numerous people in the past year and a bit – visitors for AVCon and SXC and my sister and two of my nieces have all taken up temporary residence in the cosy back rooms of our house.
Just a couple of days ago, we moved the gaming stations from the front of the house to the study. Once we do a bit more tidying there I think we’ll have a nice little nook for gaming.
Splatoon continues to see lots of play. We joined a competitive Splatoon league – we participated in the first season with friends then in the second season with a competitive squad called Hayley’s Comets. We started running monthly tournaments under the name Oceanink Offensive and I’ve even started streaming on Twitch! Being part of a new gaming community has been a lot of fun. It’s been a while since I’ve made new online friends and the people I’ve connected with while playing Splatoon have been awesome.
Splatoon has eaten a lot of the time that I used to have “free” in the evenings. I’m not sure I used to use the time any better in the past, but the chunks that go towards playing the game are quite noticable. I feel that as long as I’m getting other things done it’s not problematic, but because I do have so many interests it does mean that I’m giving up some activities to pursue gaming.
Day 1 Done
Okay that’s enough rambling. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more words here than the entirety of last year’s Blaugust (ok, we’d probably have to exclude Giant Catan in that estimate). I have no idea what’s in store for tomorrow, but maybe it’ll even include some pictures!