I’ve been having a few thoughts recently on things like attachment to things or people. And currently I’m not so sure where I stand, because I have some objections towards this attitude of letting go of everything that doesn’t do what you want it to do. An example: Everyone (around me) seems to be singing the same song, and it goes like “If XYZ makes you unhappy / is toxic / drags you down / doesn’t inspire you, then let XYZ go”. So far so good.
I used to be 100% pro this thing. Whenever I’d see someone complain about their environment, I’d recommend them to leave it (but not before suggesting to deal with it somehow). Sure, if someone is just constantly dragging you down, none of you will be having any fun or anything good out of your interaction. That other person might be externalizing their own struggle outwards, but your own struggle is there as well. It kind of makes sense to focus on your own life, or to try to be happy, so you can make your environment happy.*
However: Since everyone has something to struggle with, and you had already built that certain relationship with that person, dumping them because they don’t adhere to your standard of cheerfulness (or whatever) can be wrong. There is something like a social responsibility or commitment that you install whenever you make friends with someone or start a relationship. That’s what we all have to rely on.
Bottom line: With all that “let go of what’s dragging you down” it’s very easy to step into a self-centered zone. That’s when it’s not just innocent care about your own wellbeing, but rather putting yourself first as in not caring about others. That’s when other people don’t count, and that’s when other people become objects. And then suddenly you are the problem.
Maybe there is no clear statement to be made here and we need to decide individually what to do. There is a big gap between, say, violence within a family and a friend who is at a negative or pessimistic point in their life. I will be happy to discuss this topic, so let me know what you think. If comments are deactivated at the time you’re reading this, head to my Instagram and DM me.
* What’s the point of being “in shape” to make your environment happy, if you can’t deal with an unhappy person? There’s a growing hole in this logic.
Have you heard of this cute egg mascot that’s become popular within the Japanese culture and then got adopted in the Western world by everyone who was a fan of “kawaii” stuff? Well, I got onto that train, for a brief moment of my graphic design career.
Eggs… Such a mundane subject. Who would have thought that an EGG can be such a beautiful thing?
And then look at all that emotional depth: Gudetama never seems motivated to step out into the world. No wonder the yolk wants to crawl back into the shell — it doesn’t feel safe in the world, where it could be eaten by a hungover truck driver. Who would want that. I bet you wouldn’t.
The Gudetama egg is portrayed in all kinds of situations, the pictures I made are just a small selection. I think it would make a great comic book. The name could be something along the lines of “Adventures Outside The Shell”.
The above pictures link to my designs. If you fancy purchasing any of them (on shirts, mugs, stickers, or whatever else you’re shopping) — I will be happy about sales. Just saying.
Let’s talk monetizable hobbies! So I’ve been drawing a lot recently. Since I got the iPad (and the Apple pencil), I’m pretty happy with the overall feeling, but more importantly: with the quality of the outcomes. Those also have to do with skills, and I think I have improved mine a little bit.
Looking back on my progress, I’d say a lot has happened since I started (a few months ago). Not only has my “portfolio” grown to become several folders with probably hundreds of drawings (all of them transparent .pngs with a super high resolution). It’s also actually paying off in terms of money.
The Moneys:I’ve earned a 3-figure sum so far, and I think it’s increasing.
I’m basically dumping my iPad drawings into the internet, and they sell. I must admit, it’s a weird feeling. Weird in a positive way, obviously. I had already sold some photos and illustrations in the past, but what’s happening now is blowing my mind.
Example: One fine evening I felt silly and just wrote “I Love My Bed” onto my iPad surface. Like in my handwriting and all. I uploaded it, just for the hell of it, and then sometime few days back I saw that someone had bought it. Needless to say, it felt nice like magic.
Another example: I found out that for some reason, cricket (the sport, not the insect) seems to be a popular topic. So I made a few silly cricket designs, and they are selling. Never thought I would end up in my kitchen drawing cricket player silhouettes for $.
POD (Print-On-Demand) is quite an adventure. It all starts with the upload: I’m uploading everything on RedBubble, and the upload process here reminds me of the Amazon form for self-published books. It’s kind of laborious.
In case of POD it’s not just the pictures, but also title, description and tags. But I don’t want to bore you with the details, so then: Before the upload, you have to have a picture, of course. Make sure it looks good. Also make pretty damn sure that it “sits” well on the tshirt. Many people out there just leave the print on the belly area, which is too low.
Leaving you with a motivational spark: Try getting some of the stuff you make out there! A capitalist person would say: Turn it into a product. I think it’s a good idea to try.
PS: This new version of WordPress backend is truly, truly horrible. WordPress, this is not intuitive… Like where do I change the color of the text? :/
I’ve been writing this book about Instagram for ages now. It all started when I noticed people who were eager to have a lot of followers. I’m not sure about the year.
There is a hollowness in this hunt for digital fame, I thought, and decided to write a book about it. It’s somewhere between non-fiction and fiction, I’m mentioning Paris Hilton and quoting some people. The book also has a Kierkegaard quote.
It’s not just Instagram. The main idea of the book indirectly reflects patterns of social media usage in general. It’s about how we deal with such a medium. Now back to Instagram as a prime example: My point is that Instagram culture has become superficial and attention-grabbing. In our age of collective worldwide ADD, it comes as no surprise that a huge amount of people will try to scream loudest by wearing thongs, showing off their cars or posting memes.
Anyhow: The book is still in progress. I’m currently re-writing the chapter about Versace, because I’m struggling with the idea of fashion. If you think about it: A design company makes clothing, and people buy these clothes and associate themselves with the brand, incorporate its features. People who buy Louis Vuitton want to make a certain statement.
Why would I deal with fashion companies in a book called How to Be Yourself on Instagram? Well, in the end it boils down to the brand. Be your own brand, is roughly what I’m saying in the book.
Launch is coming soon.
In November 2016 my friend Katy had the glorious idea to interview me. Since this blog underwent a relaunch, all old entries are gone, and some are lost for good. So I had to browse through my emails until I found this ol’ interview. Thank you Katy! Here we go:
Q: You have a number of online names or personas. How far do these divides permeate? For example, is your creative process different for name / login?
sw: This is a complex question. I do at times have different names for different projects, yet I feel like I, as the person behind them, am the common denominator. I’m not trying to be anonymous at all costs when using a certain pseudonym, but I do enjoy taking a little step away from myself as a person by using a different name. The creative process feels like the same thing for everything I do, as it originates in my head, so I always feel some kind of integrity towards what I want to represent or express artistically.
Q: You articulate in a number of mediums – painting, photography, writing, animation, to name a few. I wanted to know if you start your work with a disembodied idea and then you seek to find the right medium in which to express this idea (like perhaps a multi-lingual person searching for the right language through which to articulate in the least compromising way*) or if you begin with the medium and the idea comes from that point? Or if neither apply, please elaborate.
sw: It starts with an idea. Disembodied idea is a good term for that. I tend to create very spontaneously (in all of the cases), and then work excessively for a couple of minutes or hours. In my case I think the ideas are born very quickly, it seems like they appear out of nothing. So I pick the medium after the idea came up. The only (partial) exception is perhaps photography, because it relies on what’s happening in the outside world (you have to have the camera ready to take a picture when someone catches a ball with their forehead, for example).
As for languages: Similar usage dependence issue as photography, for me at least. Even more: I almost always use English for everything I do. I’m never really aware of looking for the ‘least compromising’ way, as I’m rather focused on possibilities instead of limitations. Knowing that translation and language use always has to do with limitations though, I can see why people seek to reduce compromises when it comes to expressing their ideas.
Q: You’ve become increasingly interested in coding and web design. Do you consider this work as a creative practice and in what way? And if not, how would you position this work in relationship to your more traditionally ‘creative’ work.
sw: I think coding is the cleanest version of creation. It’s actually fascinating. You create something that makes sense or has meaning in whatever way, and it’s relatively free of references. In cultural areas artists often work with references, or they’re unintended but identified by the audience. References are not always controllable, making it difficult to completely overview the outcome. With coding you can have a more streamlined and pure realization of your idea. Yet coding requires a lot of knowledge of crucial details, so the learning process, or the process of developing skills in this area, is slow (at least for me).
I’m sometimes impatient when it comes to realizing an idea, and that’s why I’ve always appreciated ‘traditionally creative’ work for requiring (at times significantly) less effort. I won’t give up on coding though.
Q: A more personal question, you’ve mentioned wanting to find a work that demands you leave the house during winter. How do you see that the city of Berlin changes from season to season?
sw: Seasons are very crucial around here. The climate will decide whether you stay indoors or go outside. The reason for this is very simple, it’s just the temperature. In the summer you always have more options, like a BBQ or a nice hike. In the winter the hikes always seem more difficult and laborious, and not only them, but every step you’re taking outside of the house. You then stay indoors more, but as you’re constantly surrounded by the same setting, you need to constantly get something new into the setting. For example, many people would watch tv shows. I’d like to leave house more in the winter to have more of a change or dynamic in my day.
Q: I am interested in the period you spent in America and would like to know if, and to what extent, on returning from america you saw Germany and Russia in a new light? If so please expand. I only speak one language so am not sure if this is something people commonly feel, but ive experienced multi-lingual friends reference feeling something like this
sw: I guess you can feel the ‘old world order’ in everything on this continent. It’s applicable to Germany as well as Russia. I’m thinking architecture here, but also interior design, the look and feel of everything. Other than that, I’ve come to understand political or ideological differences a little better. Also I might tend to (want to) see more similarities between people of different origins, their beliefs and values. For example I think every culture would appreciate similar values, such as honesty or empathy. The appreciation of values and following these values might just be expressed in a different way or with different intensity with people from the US, Russia or Germany.
Picasso changed the rules of the art game by introducing cubism. It’s about seeing an object from different perspectives at once. This new movement was revolutionary, because it went against the European tradition of creating an illusion of reality on canvas.
This design further simplifies Picasso’s technique. I’m stripping off everything except for parts of the face, so it becomes more apparent what Picasso means by seeing an object from different perspectives.
And, what’s wrong with their user interfaces? Well, the problem with them is really sort of in the bottom 40 there. It’s, it’s this stuff right here. They all have these keyboards that are there whether you need them or not to be there.
And they all have these control buttons that are fixed in plastic and are the same for every application. Well, every application wants a slightly different user interface, a slightly optimized set of buttons, just for it. And what happens if you think of a great idea six months from now? You can’t run around and add a button to these things. They’re already shipped.
I’ve been on doing print stuff for a little while and am experimenting with different designs. So far, there is one certain design that sells well, and it’s my Duchamp tshirt. Now that’s unexpected! Although of course I can’t read people’s minds. But guys, I have other nice designs too.
My “USP” with the Duchamp shirt is that whoever wears it will be able to impress their friends with this art reference. This 101 year-old artwork had managed to challenge the definition of art, so why hide it in a museum?
I have a weird habit of sleep eating sometimes. I tend to get up at night, go to the kitchen and eat whatever I find. While this sounds funny to most people, my stomach is having a hard time dealing with the late night eating. I wish I could stop, but I don’t seem to have any control over this part of my behavior.
Last night sh*t got even more real. Upon waking up this Sunday morning, I entered the kitchen and remembered that I must have made a coffee at night, at around 3 or 4 AM. I only drank half of the cup and went back to sleep. If there is a God out there, please make me stop.