The University of Creativaty

So this week I've officially withdrawn from my masters program.

I came all this way to the UK for a masters in illustration, which I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the program didn't prove its worth for me; it was supposed to be a taught degree, but turned out to be more of a self-taught degree instead...there weren't any life drawing classes, art history...nothing of the sort. You basically just got a table, had to choose one specific topic, and tailor all your work to that. But got no assistance along the way. 

I've heard that the UK system is different from the education system that I'm used to, so I suppose that's partially at fault. But I was really disappointed in the fact that I would have had to pay incredibly high tuition fees, still buy all my own art supplies, AND not have anyone teach me anything.

So it just made me ask, "Wait...why would I have to spend CAD$30,000 if I can do all this on my own anyway?" So I decided to quit, but stay in the lovely city of Edinburgh, with all the lovely people I've met here.

And for my own project to become focusing on myself and to developing my work. So I made my own university! A D.I.Y education. 

Classes I want to attend, essays I'll never have to write, and field-trips I can take anywhere!

Visit the University of Creativaty here.

workspace

After living in a ceiling bed for a week, and a couch for another, we've moved in to a flat! I was mostly excited to get decorating, and to make a good workspace for graphic design and illustration, with inspirations pasted all over. And a plant, of course! Quite happy with how it turned out.
*Not pictured: new mug that looks like a VW caravan that I found in a charity shop

street art

I was commissioned by the City of Toronto to paint on two traffic boxes, just to add more colour, art and fun to street corners. Tons of artists are doing it. This one location was a little sketchy, and as it was on a main road, I would get a lot of honks from cars, including a guy who kept yelling out at me: "That's vandalism! You're vandalizing! Hey! HEY! That's illegal!" A handful of comebacks raced through my mind, including calling him a variety of things, but I only chose to ignore the fellow, no matter how much he irked me.

It made me think about street art that is done without a permit like mine. Obviously illegal, but yet, it can add so much to a community. Amazing murals, done by talented people, add so much colour and identity to an area. So what the hell if it may be illegal. People should express themselves, and we shouldn't always shy away from adding something to our neighbourhood just because we're afraid of the law. On the other hand, tags on private property and beautiful buildings kind of make me sad, it almost shows hatred onto a piece of architecture. I think that the city actually started asking artists to paint on these traffic boxes because they wanted to discourage graffiti. It's a bit strange to combat art with art, but it makes sense.
It's almost as if graffiti tags are being placed around by people on neglected areas, to point out a spot for everyone to see the potential for art to go up.

 

Big thank you to my mum and dad for helping me paint!!

happy

My friend got some documentaries for her birthday, and we watched this one just the other night. Great film, and it really reaffirms everything I know about how happiness is reached. Sadly though, I haven't been fully there lately, and if I would measure my happiness on a scale currently, it wouldn't score very high. Which makes me upset, because I'd like to think of myself as a happy person, and I have everything I need and more.

There's this strange loop that humans reach, that once they get to a point, they become accustomed to it, and then want more from there. Throughout the film, you see examples that you don't need to own more things, or have more money in order to reach a constant level of happy. They are in fact, free things. Social connection is also something that is extremely important, and that mirrors the ways in which our cities are built and how they function. People need to be close to one another, have communities, and have people to rely on.

I'm going off on a tangent, but basically, I'm upset at myself for not feeling full gratefulness for what I have. I always think of what else there could be that could bring happiness. I don't think I'm alone in this dilemma.

Also, I wish that topics for films like these were more widespread. THIS needs to be a box office hit, not another racing-cars-hot-chicks-explosions-guns movie.

open streets to

Open Streets Toronto happened today! Ahh it was such a dream. Beautiful day, streets open to the people, and you could just feel the freedom that everyone was experiencing to walk around with so much space.

Happy event, happy day, happy g is here, happy to see my logo so big, woo!

Happy happy happy

cottage

Up at my friend's cottage this weekend. Guh sitting in a hammock with some coffee and a book in the woods is where I'd like to be right now.

Eco week

Last week was chockfull of nature-involved activities; and it felt so good to get back into that again, after all these years of focusing on advertising and design. I did after all at one point in my high school career plan to go into environmental studies.

A friend invited me to this awesome bunch called the "Wild Foragers Society", where they meet once a month in a park, plan fun activities, and we learn about which plants we can forage and eat that grow all around the city. Talk about useful. We later harvested a mulberry tree right on the sidewalk, and everyone feasted on the berries until our hands were died with this beautiful deep purple colour.

Bottom right photo : credits to  Sammy Tangir Photography

Bottom right photo : credits to Sammy Tangir Photography

The David Suzuki Foundation's Homegrown National Park Project then had a free screening of Project Wild Thing at Fort York, which lead to so much inspiration that I don't know what to do with it all. But currently trying to do a screening of it in the neighbourhood, hopefully!

On Saturday I also biked to the Toronto Botanical Gardens, and had a stroll in the forest. The best event however was probably the beekeeping bicycle tour on Monday; about 50 of us first attended an art exhibit, (Penelope Stewart - Vanitas at the Koffler Gallery) and then biked through downtown for about half an hour, got to the waterfront, went along the trail through Cherry Beach, and ended up at the Portlands. There, Brian Hamlin gave us a charming tour of the beehives and answered our questions. (I loved that when someone wants to be a beekeeper, they call them a "wanna bee" and a beginner, a "newbee".) Karen McKenna also told us about her activism with Requiem for Bees, and the current problem with the pesticide that we need to fight to get banned in Canada.

Overall, it feels so refreshing to get back in touch with nature, and find all these communities of like-minded people, to nuture our wildlife. It feels so ironic to be spending so much screen time in an office making digital banners for McDonalds. I just want to spend all that energy doing something that would make a positive difference.

Bee informed

Just last night I watched two great documentaries about bees and their recent disappearances (on Netflix - "Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?" and "Vanishing of the Bees". ) And I think I have more of a bee obsession now. Getting informed on the topic taught me just how essential these little gals are, (a hive is 95% comprised of female bees) and just how much the recent decline in their populations impact us all, our entire planet. Most of the food we eat is thanks to the hardworking honey bee, and their mysterious deaths are a major signal for us to change our behaviour towards the environment.

This is just a quote that I enjoyed, and then illustrated while watching:

Sign language

June weather, beautiful day, and yet there are non-stop rows of cars driving past my neighbourhood. And most of these cars only have the driver inside them, no passengers.

I just got frustrated as to why SO MANY people are driving, on such a beautiful day, when there are so many alternatives to getting around and getting some sun.

I quickly drew this sign on the largest paper I had, and taped it on the sign at the traffic light stop, hoping it will make some drivers think about the necessity of their commute method. Who knows, maybe it will. Even though some guy laughed at me through his window.

Packing Lists

So I started drawing out all the things I wanted to pack in order to visually see them, and to practice drawing, and it's a lot of fun. Definitely making packing lists like this from now on, I highly recommend it!

Egg Hunt

Today my friend Erika and I stuffed a bunch of silly easter eggs from the dollar store, with stickers and happy messages we wrote, and hung them and hid them around High Park. We got a lot of attention with our Easter egg tree; lots of people started taking photographs of it, and little kids ran up to it right away. Thankfully, we even got the photographs from a photographer that loved it!

Allen Gardens

I had a spontaneous urge to go to Allen Gardens yesterday; both spawned from the fact that I was looking at illustrations of plants, and my recent urge to just be in nature after being cooped up inside all winter.

It was overall just a great feeling to breathe in all the plants, the warmth, and see how many people were coming in to enjoy the atmosphere.

Little kids watched me draw, and I heard one say "I want to live in here." There really needs to be more nature in the midst of our city. Since when is development only considered successful by the amount of concrete?

happy v day

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I'm a firm believer that you should show love to everyone in general on Valentine's Day, and not just amongst couples. (I'm in a relationship, so it's not like I have any angst against couples on Valentine's Day, just want more focus on loving all people.)

Anyway, happy v day to ya!

(How about you put a heart on this blog post?)

Sold another painting!

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I sold another painting! This time I let the buyer choose which of my photographs he would prefer to be painted, and again it happened to be of Bologna. This one is of Piazza Maggiore, probably my most visited spot in the city.

Besides getting paid, I was also gifted with Soma chocolates! So happy. Inhaled them all.

So I started a YouTube channel...

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I've been thinking about doing this for over a year. Yes, a whole year. People make decisions for their tattoos in less time.

I guess I'm always stressed about how it would go, putting myself on the internet like that...if people will enjoy it, and if I'll have the guts to keep going.

And while on this process of me thinking more and more about it, I keep finding out more about people who are making channels as well. They keep popping up in my life, when I thought I didn't know anyone in Toronto who was Youtubing.

And it's great having people who took the plunge to start, to ask about their experience, and to give me some confidence to try.

Check out my channel if you'd like!