I felt great! I had quit my job and dedicated myself to illustration full time and was on my way to becoming a well established illustrator. Now, I know what you're thinking (I really don't): But Stephen, all these changes are great but once the newness of your situation wears off what's to keep you from slipping back to your old lazy ways? Well that's where "Look at The Recluse" comes in. It's a series I started on Snapchat (bear with me) that goes hand in hand with an experimental lifestyle I'm putting myself through for 30 days. I've become a recluse of sorts... well comparatively at least, to my constant drunk, girl crazy. illustration hobbyist days in Savannah. I don't go out much, I've severely cut back on my drinking and except for the occasional visit to the grocery store my human contact is limited. 17 days down and this is turning out to be one of my few good ideas, I illustrate and sketch every single day without struggle and maintain a focus previously unheard of within myself.
For those of you who don't follow my every move, like a dog's eyes when you're eating, shame on you, I'm really quite fucking amazing. All pompous jokes aside though, I have made several changes to my life to (for the most part) better my Illustration career. For starters, I've made the same decision that countless other young Illustrators have made (with varying results) which is to relocate to New York, Brooklyn to be precise. It's only been about a month or so, but I know without a doubt that I've made the right decision. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with good ole' Savannah Georgia, with it's slack public drinking laws, vibrant art scene and abundance of Ghost Tours, but I really needed a change. I had a comfortable high paying job, countless friends and a seasoned lay of the land. It just so happens that these three things stunted my Illustration growth severely. Being comfortable is the downfall to ambition, somebody wise probably said that but just pretend I just dropped some Mr. Miyagi knowledge on ya bitch ass. Once I relocated to New York I had to deal with the dramatic increase in cost of living, next to no close friends, and homeless people that always choose to sit next to you on the subway.
The Snapchat series documents my art during this 30 day time period, chronicling (for 24 hours at a time) my journey to meeting deadlines and becoming a more streamlined illustrator. I reveal my thought process, triumphs and frustrations as well as my illustration process, and it is refreshing. Snapchat's features lend themselves to the recluse series beautifully, my series is easily accessible (as long as you have a smart phone) and all my snapshots delete themselves after 24 hours keeping the work fresh and playful. I also get daily Snapchats from followers asking certain things, which I'm always glad to answer, I'm not the most experienced Illustrator in the world, but I'm not a moron either so I do have things to contribute (lol). Above all, knowing that people are watching me work keeps me showing up early and leaving late to the studio. 27 Days makes a habit, so I'm doing thirty just to seem cool, and after this is done I believe I can keep the same pace without the series and maybe go out with friends and reacquaint myself with sunlight. At the end of the day it really just comes down to finding fun ways to becoming a better Illustrator and artist, yes I could have just gone back to art school (my wallet says no) or picked the brain of a mentor but it's 2014 sooo.... Snapchat. Who knows, whenever I do get burnt out or stray from the path (and it will happen) I might just put myself through another creative experiment for shits and giggles, as people that thrive on creativity and a little spontaneity... why not?
Holla @ me on Snapchat- stephensnaps90
p.s I promise I am in no way sponsored by Snapchat.