Podcast Recommendations for the At Home Creative

Now that I have all of Friday to work solely on my creative endeavors, I have taken to listening to a lot of podcasts while I draw or paint. I have found it’s more engaging than listening to music. I’ve got my top recommendations listed below to share with you.

The High Low.

This podcast is like sitting at lunch with your friends. The two hosts, Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton cover the weeks news from everything political to cultural, high brow to low brow as the name indicates. It’s funny, thoughtful and has lots of great recommendations for articles, books and TV shows. The two are very articulate and even when they differ from one another, it’s nothing more than an offering of two points of view. Their friendship shines through and this, along with the theme tune, can’t help but leave you smiling. 

Guys We Fucked.

These are always quite long episodes which I love to listen to working on a piece that I’ve set aside a few hours for. This podcast is predominantly about sex and relationships and hosted by two comedians, Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson. Refreshing is the word often attached to praise of this podcast I think but that’s because it’s very accurate. The hosts are hilarious, honest and open. I think what they are doing is so important, needed and extremely healthy. I started listening in October and keep up with new episodes but in between go back and listen to the archive. They have a range of quests and I’ve listened to points of views that I would never come across and quests who have the most interesting stories to tell.

Anna Faris is Unqualified.

Anna and her guest basically answer two calls from people needing advice and then proceed to give them the advice they think of. The point is that they are not qualified to give life advice (hence the name) but often come up with the goods anyway.  Before the calls Anna usually has some other features that include some improv, interviews and casual chat. It’s not the most slick podcast, and I mean that as praise. You can hear people in the background (Chris Pratt arriving home) and it doesn’t seem heavily edited. I love this format and it works so well. Anna is a true gem.

Rookie.

I might be a few years older than the target demographic of this podcast but I’m in full support of Tavi Gevinson and all that Rookie does. The podcast is fairly new but there’s already been some HQ quests from all industries and I’ve taken a lot from the things they’ve said. Other features like starter pack, where someone gives you the best entry points to a new hobby or genre or interest, are really fun to listen to.

Creative Pep Talk.

Yes, I do also listen to podcasts very specifically relevant to my industry too. This is also the first podcast I ever started listening to. Andy J Pizza (not his real name) goes in depth about the challenges of being a commercial artist, or making art for a living. He delivers thought out strategies and ideas for combatting things like burnout, idea blocks, marketing woes and more. It’s also a celebration of creativity, ideas and making great work. Andy has such a great energy. It does what its says on the tin, you feel fully pepped up take on your daily work, next project or just get started.

Make it Happen. 

Jen Carrington is my coach, and a coach to many other creatives. Make It Happen takes you through strategies, ideas and tips on managing your life as a creative. Some episodes are interviews with creative business owners who talk about how they got started and how they manage their responsibilities. Others are shorter bite size episodes on a specific topic from Jen herself. Perfect for a tube ride. It can feel quite daunting, almost impossible, to be a freelance creative business owner but listening to those who are successfully doing it is a huge boost of encouragement.

Call Your Girlfriend.

I’ve only started to listen to this podcast in the past few weeks but it’s making this list. I’ve gone back to the start, 2014, and am listening chronologically. Two friends, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, who live across the US call each other and talk about what’s been happening. It’s sort of like we’re listening in on their phone call but they know we are because it’s a podcast. They talk about big things in the news, what they’ve been up to and call other mutual friends. I’ve just got on to them answering listener questions. It’s a relaxed podcast but the two hosts have an agenda each week and regular topics (this week in mensuration news, as an example). It’s a very easy listen and I want to be friends with them.

I’m always on the look (ear) out for new podcasts. What are some of your favourites?

The shop is launching!

Hello everyone! 

I'm smiling as I type, and that's because I'm excited for the news I'm sharing. Well, it's not news so long as you read the title of this post - a shop will be live on Friday 2nd June! 

You'll be able to buy prints of my work and I will be looking to get up some fun commission opportunities soon too. I've been snail pace working on this for a little while now in between a few commissions and work and I'm so glad to be getting it out to you! 

All the photography has been done by Holly Booth and it looks really great. Check back on Friday to see the full set of prints available and let me know what you think! 

My 2017 Goal Check In!

I like to remind everyone that time is actually just a concept and it doesn’t really exist. However it still is fact that we are coming to the middle of the year 2017 and I thought it would be a good time to check in with the resolutions I made at the beginning of January – seeing as I actually made some this year.

My first resolution was to put myself in more opportunities that will get me out of the house and meeting new people, and to get involved in the arts community. I knew that this would mean sometimes going to events alone and having to put myself out there. This has become more important as I have now taken the leap to part time working at my day job (it wasn’t so much a leap but a gentle step, however one in the right direction!). I have started going to a monthly illustrators meet up called Yo Illo. Most of the meet ups are in bars and it’s a relaxed and friendly vibe. I look out for events and am trying to put myself forward for things. This has recently lead to my work being shown at Cass Art in Islington. I am on the look out for more crafty and illustration events though so let please tell me about any you know about! In the next part of the year I’m thinking about some projects that will mean a little more branching out to people and I think with this one it’s so far, so good.

My next resolution was to be more organised in my approach to projects and ideas. I actually forgot about this one but! Pleased to say I think I can tick it off. The main huge help in progressing projects has been having a creative coach (shout out to Jen). We’ve discussed ways in which to work effectively alongside the DJ and I’ve spent a little time testing out what works best for me. I break down my tasks into tiny steps that it almost seems ridiculous but I’ve got stuff done. I still feel frustrated with the length of time things take me but I’m learning to work alongside any struggles I have. I’ve learnt it’s important to give yourself some grace and I’m remembering to do that.

My last resolution was to read a more diverse range of books. I am a slow reader (see above point about things taking me ages) but so far I’ve read some essays (particularly ‘We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), poetry (We Carry The Sky by McKayla Robbin, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and Howling at the Moon by Darshana Suresh), graphic novels (Paper Girls and Saga by Brian Vaughn), non fiction (Tiny, Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed – again) and fiction (The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan).  I’ve also taken to carving out some more time for reading and using it as wind down and non-screen time before I go to bed.

 

I’ve never really been goal-setting sort of person but I think, all things considered, it’s going ok. I’ve made more progress on ideas having set some goals for them rather than ‘getting to it this year’. Even if I set a date and have to push it back I’ve got to be chill with myself and content in the face I’m going in the right direction.

Wild and Uncivilised: Illustration Exhibition

I've had these guys finished for a while now. They've been printed, photographed and the top piece is currently in an exhibition at the Cass Art store 's gallery in Islington until the 30th May. 

The exhibition is called Wild and Uncivilised, and features watercolour works from various artists. Super excited to have this opportunity to exhibit in my favourite art supply store. 

Let me know if you get along to see it! 

Collection Moodboard: Supernova

Playlist

Wish You Were Here - Florence Welch, May I Have This Dance - Francis and The Lights, Tilted - Christine and the Queens, The Greatest - Sia, New World Coming - Benjamin Wallfisch and Disa, Palace - Hayley Kiyoko, Colors - The Head and The Heart. 


Stellar explosion of all the colours in shades that put the milky in the milky way. 


Top left - Spring Scattering Stars - Edward Blashfield, Second row left - here, Second row right - found here (please tell me if you know who the artist is, nothing is coming up on google), third row left - here, bottom row left - here

Artwork: Pastel Silhouette

Happy New Year! How many times have you said that now? Seriously. But, I do still mean the sentiment. I hope the first few days of the new year are kicking off just how you want them to be. 

I have to say, I have a good feeling about this year. And this good feeling has had results already. I've read two books; The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (this is both a recommendation and so you know that when I say two books, they would take anyone an hour to get through). I've also created three new pieces of artwork. 

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In among the Christmas and New Year celebrations I got to work on finishing up some new pieces I wanted to complete. This is one of them and I don't think I've ever cut thin lines this long. The other few will be revealed shortly. 

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As always work in progress shots are up over on my instagram

Let me know how you're starting off your new year! 

The First Chapter: Why I Didn't Talk in School

I greatly admired Carrie Fisher for her unabashed ownership of all that she was, for her honestly about her mental health, for her talent, her humor and for telling her truth. She was both an inspiration and a comfort. One of the unwavering affirmations I’ve felt from the praises for her has been how important it is to advocate and talk openly about mental illness. Over the past year I have been more accepting of a particular part of my story, greatly due to Carrie. I think now is a good time to share it.

 

I suffered/lived with/just simply had a sever anxiety disorder they now call Selective Mutism through most of my childhood. This co-existed with social anxiety, the effects of which I still live with today.

It basically meant that, for me, while I was perfectly able to speak I couldn’t in most public situations including church, shopping centres, doctors surgeries and school.  Both to strangers and family and close friends in those public places.

I couldn’t speak even if it meant me getting into trouble. I couldn’t speak even when it would be less embarrassing to. I couldn’t speak even if it meant my schoolwork suffered. I couldn’t speak even when I was getting bullied. I couldn’t speak when I was constantly asked why I didn’t.

It was like a brick wall fortified across my throat and the words would try to get out but couldn’t pass the wall. That is how I described it to the last therapist I was treated by.

I went through many different therapies, some of which I can’t really remember. 3 stand out overall.

I went to Art Therapy, which was a room full of as many craft supplies as you can dream up. I would go in with a therapist and essentially be let loose for an hour. I think we kept it up for a while however I was far too concerned with what I was doing that I never really spoke back to the therapist. Ultimately, for fairly obvious reasons, it made its mark on me. But it wouldn’t make me speak.

I remember another treatment where I had to lie down and have my head massaged by a doctor. It was in a building attached to a private dentist and it was fancy af. I used to be so bored lying there and even at the age I was, 8 or so, I remember thinking that particular treatment was a waste of time. However it got me out of school early and my brother and I were allowed to eat the sugar cubes from the serving of tea my mum got, and so I never said I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I wasn’t a shy kid, I had an attitude and I could be pretty conniving at times. I often felt like I was treated like I didn’t want to speak. That I was refusing to. My ‘reward’ for speaking at school was a trip to Disneyland Paris. I remember so many times adults would say, frustrated and almost angry, that if I just said one word I would be able to go. Would I ever be able to say one word? No, I felt 10 times worse then. I wished in those situations just to run away. It was all that I knew. I didn’t know I had an anxiety disorder. I knew I wasn’t the same as the other kids but I wasn’t the one making me different. I only knew what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do.

The last therapist I went to focused on Speech and Language therapy and was and writing a book on Selective Mutism. I worked with her over a number of years. These years were the last I spent in Primary school. The steps were so small I didn’t even realize they were steps. I remember exercises like recording the stories I’d written on tape recorders and having them played to my teacher, then a small group of friends and then eventually one to the whole class. It was a story about a hedgehog. I had called her Helen (my best friend had named her hedgehog Hannah). I went bright red and my heart beat so fast and the kids intermittedly turned around to look at me. My best friend held on to me the whole time. I went from speaking to my mum in school grounds, to a few group of friends, to other school children, to answering the phone at my house (I hated this and still hate this), to talking to my teacher in the classroom. I was just short of answering the register out loud.

By the time we were coming to the end of my treatment we had found out I hadn’t been admitted to my local secondary school.  I was going to a school 30 minutes away where I didn’t know anyone. Leaving behind my friends who had taken time to help me in my recovery, even though none of us really understood it, was really daunting.

As I came out of therapy I enrolled in drama school to continue social development and build confidence. I found I liked playing a character. I do it still now: to answer the phone, leave a voicemail or ask for directions.

I don’t think I can say all the ways surviving 11 years of this disorder has effected me, but I can say undoubtedly that it has. I still struggle. I struggle through. Looking back I can see the path that lead me to today.

Drama school lead me to theatre. Theatre lead me to story telling. I found art as a way to express myself when I couldn’t find the words. I could communicate without speaking.

I know I am able to face things. I know that I have to face things to function, to achieve that which I long to do. I know its ok. I know I don’t have to be embarrassed of my childhood.

I performed on stage at the age of 13. I started at secondary school when I was 11. I was quiet and awkward but I answered the register.

We went to Disneyland the next year. 

New Years Resolutions

For possibly the first time ever I have some serious new years resolutions. In previous years I’ve never bothered. And while I think it’s better to always Start Now, if you want to see the New Year as a symbolic occasion to make some positive changes well that’s grand.

That’s what I’m going with for this year. 2016 hasn’t been that great for me and I’m ending it a little bit low to be honest. However as I see out this week readying myself for the onslaught of the week after I have been thinking over some of things I want to resolve to do in 2017.

I’ve come up with these:

1.     I want to put myself in, and say yes to, opportunities that will get me out the house, meeting new people and getting more involved in the arts community. If I don’t have planned things to do I spend a lot of time home alone. I have a routine of going into work and home again. While I like spending time alone, I don’t very much like being lonely. If I don’t have plans with friends I want to see what I could go and do myself, I want to go to events and talks even if it means going alone. I want to seek out opportunities to meet and talk with artists and freelancers and creative business owners in a face to face setting.

2.     I want to be more ‘step based’ in my approach to ideas and projects. I want to break down tasks into manageable chunks and not become overwhelmed by what could or could not happen in the bigger scheme of things. This I hope with mean I don’t get stuck in the ‘thinking of the idea’ phase of a project and get me to the ideal I spoke of in the intro – just bloody get on with it, start now.

3.     I want to read a more diverse range of books. By this I mean both in genre and author.  I want to read more non-fiction, poetry, essays by authors and artists from different backgrounds and cultures.

 

I think those are 3 good ones to get on with. I hope to build towards great things in 2017 and I hope January 2018 me looks back and thinks I’ve done a good job.

 

How are you finding reflecting on 2016? Have you got any resolutions for 2017?

The London Illustration Fair

On Saturday I went to The London Illustration Fair on a last minute decision. I went alone but it was nice to wander around at my own pace and see it all. Here are some pictures I took. 

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Places and artists featured: Eakins, Hammer Chen, Guido Iafigliola, Katie Leamon, Scout Editions, Benjamin Rothery, Blank Inside, Marcelina Amelia, Nick Ellwood.