This year was quite turbulent for me. It seems like the last few years have been a bit of a challenge, ridden with learning experiences. I struggled to find motivation and found myself too distracted to produce creative work. I feel as though I have grown a lot personally and professionally since January of 2017.
I’m happy to report that I survived the gum surgery. The procedure wasn’t as awful as I anticipated. The frenectomy, on the other hand, was traumatizing! Lucky me, I’m beginning next year with yet another dental surgery (impacted wisdom teeth).
I had a couple of opportunities to travel. I went back to London with my partner in April, then a brief venture to Croatia, which ended up being a total disaster. I also explored Kauai, Hawaii in November.
I apologize in advance for dragging my personal drama into this post, but I feel the lessons I learned from these experiences are important to share. Halfway through the year, my partner and I broke up after 3 years together. It was a tough but amicable ending and has transformed into a pretty solid friendship, which I’m extremely thankful for. I also walked away from some other people I really cared about for various reasons. I spent the tail end of the year hermitting while I processed and recuperated. The life lesson that came out of these adventures (because I’m guilty of this too) is that we all need to be mindful that everyone has a different method of working things out. Although we may not understand it, why not be open and accepting, and try our best to be supportive. Of course it can be frustrating when you’re trying to help someone and they totally disregard your advice, but at the very least taking a step back and allowing someone the space to figure it out in their own way is a preferable approach to making them feel bad or crazy.
I may or may not have misinterpreted some scenarios in my relationships this year, but the feelings and wounds were still real. I had to do what was necessary for me to recover. Taking up boxing really helped me build my strength and repair the confidence that had deteriorated over time.
A big lesson this year was to stop looking in the past and to keep moving forward. I’ve given myself permission to shift my priorities to the self and focus on important goals like career advancement and improving my home environment. I also have finally realized that people gravitate towards those who are not afraid of being themselves, flaws and all.
When I went to see my old school friend Alex for a new tattoo, he introduced me to drawing with an ipad and apple pencil. Since making that purchase, I’ve started making for myself again, discovering my illustrative style (incorporates A LOT of dot work). I began what I called the “truth project” which was illustrating a bunch of true statements. The idea came organically from to the fact that some of my closest confidantes didn’t seem to understand me (or maybe didn’t want to?) and was inspired by the Designthinkers conference I attended in November, after hearing Timothy Goodman speak about finding inspiration within and putting more honest content on social media.
At work, I was given the chance to work on my own project (in collaboration with our lovely copywriter Kat), a little guide to Toronto, with complete creative freedom. It is currently with the printer and I’m having major anxiety about how it’s going to turn out. The deadline crept up on me and I felt like I had to rush it out the door. You’ll notice a few rando white boxes in the spreads below, which I have discovered can be fixed by changing the default PDF output to a newer version (which I clearly forgot to do in this case, as well as hide some of the crop marks, ha ha). Overall, this year I was given more opportunity to come up with the concept/direction of artwork, including some for fairly large events (ie. ASAE – see in situ signage below).
A few spreads from the guidebook
In situ shots of ASAE event signage
I made it Hawaii, finally, after dreaming of going for years. Kauai was amazing but the cost depleted my funds, thanks to a complicated situation that resulted in having to buy 3 flights. Needless to say, my savings goal from 2016 did not pan out. I chalk it up to the double rent I have been paying after my partner moved out. The cost of solo living is absolutely worth it!
On a positive note, I met a few fantastic people this year. It has been a while since I’ve felt like I truly connected with another person, but this year brought these types of relationships into my life. We welcomed a new copywriter to our team at Tourism Toronto in March who has the best kind of energy. While an integral member of our work fam abandoned us to move out to the boonies of BC, her seat-replacement has quickly endeared himself to us. Our team is super tight and I am so grateful to see each one of them 5 or more days a week.
My work homies (sorry Dan, I don’t have any photos of you!)
The tenants in the ground level apartment of my house moved out and a new couple moved in. Our house dynamic has drastically changed since they arrived. The women of the house, who are all creatives, hang out on the regular. Both ladies are extremely open and supportive. Bonus, I don’t have to put on shoes to go see them!
Over the course of 2017, I’ve thought a lot about my career. I realize that I graduated from University 7 years ago and haven’t given a shit about climbing the ladder until this year. I realized that having that generic “graphic designer” title for 7 years isn’t progression. I also found out that there’s a $20,000 salary discrepancy between a “graphic designer” and an “art director.” Audree, if you’re reading this, let’s chat about this at my review
BIG STUFF THAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR
I started boxing.
I bought an expensive portrait lens.
I got really into hip-hop and R&B.
I acquired a slight obsession with tarot readings. Here are couple of my faves:
Living on my own again.
I got back into journaling.
WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2018
Being able to enjoy a proper backyard, currently being altered from a concrete carport to a landscaped space.
Seeing my guidebook printed.
Drawing more truths.
Attending my 1st R&B concert in April.
Making progress on my sleeve (more tattoos!).
GOALS FOR 2018
Survive wisdom teeth surgery.
Save up for a new couch.
Travel with friends.
Upgrade my title to Art Director.
Put more effort into my work/more self-initiated projects.
Cultivate lasting friendships/be a better friend.
Leave the past behind me, be more present.
Take more photos!
I know 2017 was a tough year for everyone, so I’m crossing all my digits that karma compensates for it in 2018