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By Austin Kleon. Click on the image to go to his work.

Happy 2013 everybody. Shame on me, I confess I let the first 10 days of the year pass on purpose, because I wasn’t feeling like doing a “2012 retrospective” (2012 sucked, why remember it?) and my purpose for 2013 is the same as it was three years ago, when this blog started.

By Santiagu’s recommendation, the first book I’ve read this year has been “Steal like an artist” by Austin Kleon and the image above was in it. I found it really inspiring and I wish I had stumbled upon that altered sign two years ago because back then I gave up all my longings. I thought it would be the fastest way to finish my final project and to graduate from college. I thought that would be the best for my longings in the long run. The result, however, was that two years and a big depression later I’m still trying to graduate. I’ve lived with the feeling that I’ve given up everything for this project and the project wasn’t giving me anything back. My attitude prevented me from moving forward, I only wanted to quit and whenever I would talk to people “How are you?” would turn into “How is your project?”. Besides, everybody pretty much agreed that I should do “Whatever it takes to graduate” meaning “You need to sacrifice everything else”. The social pressure adding to the academic pressure, family pressure and my own pressure. I stopped training, I stopped going down to the gym, I stopped taking my morning walks, I stopped doing laundry. It was getting kind of ridiculous, right?

Two months ago an announcement coming from the school where I attended comic art classes shook my world. They were preparing a kick ass course together with a big Disney comics publisher starting January 2013 and passing a portfolio review was required to get in.

For some reason the news broke hell loose. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want it but I failed. I didn’t have a decent portfolio to show so I’d have to develop one in the next two months at the same time that the deadline for my final project’s presentation was approaching fast. Who would be able to understand such a move as “One month before my project’s final review I’m going to give 50% of my attention to another time-consuming creative project in a tight deadline.”? Nobody, surely. I felt lonely.

And then I called home, tears running copiously down my cheeks. This might sound childish, as I’m well into my 27th year on earth but I felt like a lost five years old. You can imagine that at this point my parents were, after two years of listening me break down through the phone, ready to give me certain dubious degree of support. That was in November.

So I had to be fast. I needed a portfolio and I got to engage a friend who works as an Art Director in an advertising agency to be my second critical pair of eyes. During November and December I alternated long project hours with long portfolio hours, the stress was incredible and at times I was wondering “Why the hell do I put myself through this?” but they say night is the darkest just before dawn. And truth is that suddenly my project’s unofficial status went from “Stuck and terribly boring” to “Ongoing and kind of interesting” and my relationship with my teachers and tutors from “Total disagreement” to “Agreeable consensus” while the portfolio was also “Ongoing” and my mood and attitude were “Improving”.

Now I’ve got my thesis jury’s seal of approval to the design part of the project and I just have to polish it for the final presentation, which will most likely take around one month and a half. On the other hand, next Tuesday I have my portfolio review for the Disney comic course so I’ll let you all know how that goes.

There’s still a lot of people who make remarks such as “But, shouldn’t you prioritise your graduation?”, “Why waste time with a portfolio?” , “You might as well not get in the course” and so on. I just wish I could make them understand. But also my mum told me two weeks ago in the phone “I just wish you would have started that portfolio two years ago”. With the help and support of some friends and my parents I have been brave enough to make this decission and truth is that I feel way better now that I’m not leaving my longings unattended anymore.

There’s a second moral to this story, btw: Fuck people, call mamma.

Thanks for reading.

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6 Comments

  1. The moral is awesome and I couldn’t agree more with you. Well, unless someone’s mother is a heartless bitch, but fortunately enough, that’s not our case.

    Good luck with your portfolio. As I already said, I think your chances to be selected is high 😉

  2. Very inspiring writing!
    I’m glad the book was worth it 😀

    Always remember to practice productive procrastination!

  3. I know that feeling, believe me. Been there myself all too much – and now, after graduation, I’m still as lost as I was at uni. But you’re right: F*** others, in case of emergency, call mum! 🙂
    I wish you all the best of luck for the Disney portfolio, and, of course, your “main” project! And if you ever feel like bitching about school, projects, people or everything together, you know where to find me! As I said, been there, done that, and the good news is: this, too, shall pass! 😉 Klem fra Norge!

    • Thank you for your super nice comment! ^^
      Everything does pass in the end, indeed. That’s why I sort of promised to myself that I wouldn’t write this rant until I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. 😀 Now I do see it, shining bright. And yeah, mamma knows best!

  4. Perhaps two years ago you couldn’t have done it. I think these horrible conditions might have been just the right ones, eh?

    It was a heart warming read. I cheer for you!

    • You are most likely right. I maybe dug up a pit and grew cozy in it and it needed to get really nasty for me to not be up for bearing with it any longer. Anyway, I’m out now. Viole rises! xD


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