Trying new things

What I initially planned to be a simple project has morphed into a journey of learning completely new techniques that I wasn't planning on ever touching.  In the past few weeks, I've joined the GR Makers group and have been experimenting with the laser cutting machine.  I'm going to use it to burn the designs onto the floor for hardwood floors in my little PO Box as well as make the designs on the walls

My initial plan was to use photographs on the walls to convey space, but I now feel it would cheapen the effect.  

Oh, and I used the laser cutter to make a boat 

More mini glasses. #sculpture #illustration #grandrapids #michigan

A post shared by clay alchemist (@clayalchemist) on

Getting close

I realized today why it is that I've been shooting with the 24mm only for the past week - all my characters have been incredibly small.  When you're shooting a small subject up close and need more in focus, there's only so much that stopping down the aperture can do.  Sometime you just need a wider angle to get deeper depth of field.

This Sigma 24mm Art lens has been a blast to work with.  I was at first put off by the weight of it but have overcome that in recent weeks.

I plan to continue making simple sculptures this week.  The goal is to focus more on creating work I enjoy and concepts rather than ridiculously intricate shots.

Terrorizing the eggs with my camera. #GetCloser #sculpture #illustration #humor #egg #grandrapids #michigan

A post shared by jonathan d lopez (@clayalchemist) on

A solid week

It's so far been about a week and I've finished three illustrations from beginning to end.  My favorite so far being "Skinny Dipping".  Truth be known, there's a funny backstory to this.  My dad had the strange desire to whip up Coco Wheats with peanut butter and honey, and I'm talking about a few tablespoons of peanut butter and honey.  Every time he did this, it stunk up the house.  The strangest part still was how he would take a banana and scoop out the Coco Wheats with it.  Anyways, that was the inspiration for this photograph.

Outta Funk

There are times of great progress and times of great plateaus.  I'm currently walking atop a creative plateau.  In the past, I've tried new things, and that has always spurred massive amount of work.  I'm in the midst of trying to figure out what interests me.  

Last week, I worked on "Fly Beats on the Street", which was a totally different feel than I am used to.  I feel it was a primer for going in a completely different direction – a creative palate cleanser.

I'm shifting gears from looking out to looking in.  Honestly, the past year has been full of so much that I wasn't able to process.  I think it's time to stop and reflect.  So, if you're used to my work of the past, get ready for a completely different vibe. 

Do what you love

I never thought my life would get to the point that I would be experiencing so much anxiety that I couldn't safely drive myself around, I couldn't sleep at night, and I couldn't eat without experiencing knots in my stomach.  Anxiety is crippling, and it's worse when you don't have an outlet.

The biggest problem I faced was the inability to do the thing that I love: sculpt.  I knew that I was wrecking my hands, but I was surrounded by the supportive people.  Who'da thought you could be living in hell surrounded by such nice people?

You can be excellent at what you do, but if that thing makes you ill, stop justifying reasons to stay.  Your health is worth protecting.  You are worth protecting.

I could have pushed through and tried to figure ways around the struggles and anxiety, and I could have wound up in a car accident the next day – thank God I had two narrow misses in one day.  It was then that I knew I was robbing the people around me of who I am.

Every person is made to do something.  I bring joy into people's lives with my characters, and I'm going to make sure that I'm able to do that for as long as I possibly can.  If it means that I make a lot less money, I believe it's worth it.  But I don't believe that will be the case forever.  

I'm going to treat my work like a job, just as I did with "claylist".  I'm going to manage my time better, spend time daily coming up with illustration ideas, innovate solutions for rigs, and improve my technical skills.  I'm also going to figure out ways to monetize my work - selling prints hopefully, but also by looking into permanent sculptures for people to buy.

I'm also going to get back to making YouTube tutorials.  There's so much that I have to offer that I am not doing, and that is poor decision making on my behalf.  So feel free to hold me accountable.  Ask me about what I'm working on.  Tell me if there is a tutorial that I could make to help you.