Friday, 30 June 2017

Multi Me

Multi Me
© Melissa Gaggiano
I am a doodler. I have side projects that I move between – 
... like a chef stirring multiple pots in the kitchen.
 ... like a bee gently hovering from flower to flower. 
... like Frogger leaping franticly from log to log to the other side of the screen.

Which ever analogy I choose, it doesn't really matter, because they're all me on different days.

I am a multi passionate artist – be it writing stories, writing imaginary book titles, drawing, painting, digital art, photography, paper crafts, design, doll making.  If you know me, then this a 'well duh' statement. But the thing is, for years I tied myself up in knots because I was fed this notion that I must choose just one thing and totally focus on that. 

That advice is great for people who are completely absorbed in one thing alone. But I'm not made of singular stuff. Anytime I tried this, whatever I was cutting out from my life left me feeling lost and empty. All the ways in which I invest my creative energy are as much a part of my programming as my DNA. So the only thing for it is to keep doing everything and not worry what the critics say about being a master of one thing, or whatever.

{gratuitous author's book link}
A friend put me onto a mind altering book [no drugs were involved] titled Steal Like An Artist created by Austin Kleon. Doesn't that name just roll? Well anyway... this book affirmates everything I do. The one difference is that post reading Steal Like An Artist I now feel more confident about how I've been using my time, with a couple of minor tweaks. As diverse as my interests are they lend and feed into each other.

Thank you Austin! For writing a book that I have always wanted to read, even before I knew it existed, and even before you knew it was meant to exist. If I was Marty McFly this would be one book that I would take back into the past.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Scan the Can

Digital Coca Cola Windmill
Scanning and Photoshop layers created by Melissa Gaggiano
These days computers, printers and scanners can be acquired quite easily for domestic purposes. But when I was growing up it was almost unheard of anyone having these things. So when photocopiers started appearing in offices it was just too much temptation. A generation of fully grown people the world over released their inner child, and photocopied their buttocks after too much tipple at work functions. Surely it had to be tipple because I can't imagine anyone doing this sober. I do not believe that derrière copying is a big thing anymore. Not when businesses were having to fork out money to repair cracked glass from too much weight pressing against them. Besides, we've now got Instagram to glorify our dorky selves and our private parts, so who needs a photocopier right?

When I was a teenager I visited my dad at his work place. I had just finished drinking a can of cola when I was pondering taking a photo of it. Dad had a better idea.  He placed it on the photocopier and slowly rolled it across the glass with the scanning arm. The result was a black and white work of art. I loved the photocopy and kept it for many years.

Today I finished drinking a can of cola and was reminded of that photocopy which has long since disappeared. In memory of that old photocopy I used my scanner, rolling the can awkwardly in time the scanning arm. And the result was this...

Coca Cola Can Scan
by Melissa Gaggiano

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Something Sheryl Crow Sang

© Melissa Gaggiano
I've had this Sheryl Crow album since I was about seventeen, in which she sang:

"No one said it would be easy

But no one said it'd be this hard"

This line is true of anyone fleshing out their own career/future/path/destiny/or whatever and they only have themselves to say 'yep this is right', 'you're on the path that you need to be on'.

You feel like you're doing it right when that figurative cheque with your name on it comes your way. But what happens in the quiet corners of your work day, between the projects, when you don't know what to focus on next? How does one move through that thick cloud of doubt?

Sometimes we don't. Sometimes we get stuck. Sometimes it takes all our effort to move forward. To say yes, let's start this thing, and who knows what it will bring.

Thankfully there's another line in that same Sheryl Crow song that goes:

"No one said it would be easy

No one thought we'd come this far"

I guess she knew when she wrote that song that as hard as things get, we can still make it if we at least try.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Moments Between

© Melissa Gaggiano
It's good to be busy. Not crazy, stupid, oh my god, my screws are coming loose as steam escapes my head, busy. But 'bee' busy - gently flying from one flower to another. For me that means having a weekly list of goals, which I like to write on a Sunday. My list is small if the tasks are large. My list is big if there are lots of short jobs. It's about realistic management, isn't it?

The body can tire if we move from job to job with no breather between. I discovered this only too recently. One job wasn't balanced and my health was compromised. Mistakes were made, but on the plus side the experience made me see what my vulnerabilities are. As my body slowly reboots I now balance the work I do with other activities that involve eating, and exercising my neck muscles (it's all about mobility and strength baby).

The other thing about working is that the mind needs periods of rest. So when the tasks are ticked I have a go at letting my brain have down time. No easy thing! My body is happy to sit, but my brain is almost always storming and itching for me to do things. Can you picture a stove with multiple pots bubbling away together? That's what it is like inside my head.

The kids had a couple of days off from school and this presented me with an opportunity to let my brain off the hook. When constantly thinking about next week, next month, next year, being present can take some getting used to. But if you can switch off and focus on what is before you, be it a garden or a child, then it is time well spent.
© Melissa Gaggiano