Now that I’ve had a few days to process the Finding Bob show, I can relay the eight major lessons learned.
1. Trust your instincts, but don’t let them control you. I wanted to plan the pieces out methodically… but sometimes methodically takes too long. I ended up placing the pieces within the method but not strictly. It’s not concrete until it hardens.
2. Editing isn’t bad… but it still kinda sucks. In the beginning of the process, I drew several pieces on bristol… the idea being I would do a show of just paper pieces. But, the canvases loomed… I ended up doing more canvases than bristol pieces. When it came time to hang the pieces in the gallery, the bristol pieces I did in the beginning didn’t fit in with everything else. I hated to take them out, but keeping them in would’ve ruined the rhythm over all. Plus, they looked nothing like the others… the Frank Page blue used on those was different than the canvas Frank Page blue.
3. 3M strips and Fun Tak – have quickly become my new best friends. Thank you to Susan Colmey for introducing me to the strips. You have no idea what you created.
4. Make sure you can MacGuyver something to make crazy work. I had this idea to hang clouds in the gallery space. I had a bunch of foam core in the studio. So, I made eight foam core clouds… four with a Bob in them, and four plain. I just thought it would make the space look more like the paintings and drawings. When I went to hang them in the gallery, the ladder I had wouldn’t reach the lights. Do I ditch the clouds? No. So I got a long stick, attached a push pin to the end, wrapped a tiny bulldog clip to the end of the clear line and basically fished it over the light. Instant sky.
Now, if a civilian were to walk into my studio and home, they’s see that there are DOZENS of Bob foam core cut-outs all over. There are clouds on my garage door, fence and shed. Hell, there are clouds on the ceiling of my studio. In my world, foam core clouds are squirrels are the norm… which leads me to
5. If someone thinks your ordinary is awesome, go with it. When the show opened, the attendees LOVED the clouds. Like, really, really loved the clouds. Someone approached me and asked if they could buy a cloud. I honestly thought they were messing with me.
“You… want to BUY one of THOSE?”
“Yeah, how much?”
I couldn’t believe it. But after I thought about it I understood. My ordinary is their awesome. Four out of the eight clouds were sold opening night.
6. My wife and daughter are the best. I knew this already, but reminders are nice.
7. Appreciate the journey and the destination. This one is a cliche but it’s true. Every. Single. Time. I love the work. It drives me bat-sh-t crazy. I’m irritable in its midst. I’m cranky. I’m a jerk. I’m creating something pretty much out of my head and thin air. But, I look back on it and enjoy the work. I’m proud of what I did. I take in the energy and reaction of people who see it for the first time… because in a way I wish I could see it the way they see it. You only get one first time.
8. Suck it in, swish it around and move on. You’re only as good as your last squirrel. Cartoonists live and die by a deadline… both externally applied and self-applied. The show is great, it’ll be up and around for a month. People bought pieces from it and will give them great homes. Take a breath and move on. What’s next? There’s always a next project.
This last one may seem a bit harsh but it’s true. If I stop and think too long about what I did, I don’t think about what to do next. I learned from what I did, not what am I going to do?