Aim High.

I often wonder after starting a project if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I always remind myself that there are varying degrees of success. That those who aim higher and fail are often still more successful than those who succeed because they set their goals too low.

Yet in the last few months I haven’t just started one big project, but three. I’ve joined an accountability group to push myself to regularly create artwork for my portfolio/practice, I’ve committed to writing a 50,000 word rough draft for a novel this month, and I’ve begun a humble screen printing venture, promising screen printed shirts to friends and co-workers for what is hopefully a fair yet sustainable price.

The first run (which was a few months ago now):
wpid-img_20150830_011835 wpid-img_20150830_012207 wpid-img_20150830_011858
The shirts say “2nd Amendment Walk” on the left breast on the front, and “Yes I have a gun. Ask me WHY” on the back. These were a spur of the moment thing created for a friend of mine free of charge. Other people saw the shirts, liked them, and offered to buy some if I made more. Gun enthusiasts, amiright?

After selling thirty or so of those, and realizing the potential, I decided to make some more:
wpid-img_20151014_133750.jpg wpid-img_20151014_133426.jpg wpid-img_20151014_133910.jpg extra shirt
These were all created  upon the request of friend(s), and I haven’t sold that many. It’s probably time to reach out to the internet community. (More on that later…)

Following the ‘motivational’ theme I did these:
butterfly-bee wpid-img_20151026_010637.jpg
Both of these I did primarily for myself, and haven’t made any money off of them yet. With a little shameless promoting I might be able to tap the right market…

Then, fulfilling more personal requests, I did these:
no-sheep cold-dead-skull
The skeleton holding the AR-15 was a lot of fun to do, and the process showed me some of the limitations of my equipment. (Namely, single-stage/single-color printing on the dining room table.) I would like to upgrade to a full-on screen printing setup, but I’m still in the hole financially with my startup costs and overhead, which is mostly blank shirts waiting to be printed and sold.

Which brings me to my next point; there is a learning curve when it comes to any new venture, and I didn’t really think about this one before diving in headfirst. I’m a perfectionist and want to put out a good product, which means spending lots of money on ink/paint, a quality table, a flash heater/dryer, etc. These things cost more money, and I’m trying to cashflow this venture which puts me in a bit of a dilemma. Keep using mediocre supplies and equipment in an attempt to make enough money to upgrade later down the road? Or pay out of pocket for expensive equipment and gamble on making my money back?

I did upgrade from a small jar of hobby textile ink to a tub of mid-grade textile ink that is supposed to have better durability. There’s only a slight problem with this: The paint came with a small vial of clear liquid which I have since learned is a precisely measured catalyst that helps set the ink. Once the catalyst is mixed in, I have 48 hours to use the entire tub. So instead of printing twenty shirts with a small jar of paint over the course of two months, I’ll be printing 100+ shirts over the course of two very intense days? I’ve read you could use the ink without the catalyst and it will increase the ink-to-fabric set time to 72 hours, which would allow me to only print a couple shirts at a time and not worry about the ink’s shelf-life, but my guess is I would be sacrificing ink durability if I did so.

So…

In addition to this, I’m writing a book writing a first draft that will hopefully be 50,000 words or more by the end of the month! If I write 1620 words every day I’ll finish on time. As it stands I’m four days in, and I’ve written 2,100 words of my four day target of 6,480, which means I’m only 4,380 words short!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, here are some of the art pieces I’ve done for commission/practice:
wolf img029 wpid-img_20151026_010511.jpg sean-penn six_ff_2

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