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October 18, 2014

"the bible teaches us… that he who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit can capture a city." 

October 16, 2014

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

CS Lewis

Things that I currently am:

October 15, 2014

Ichijo Narumi

oh my GOD, have you ever felt an instant kinship to an artist’s work the instant your eyeballs fall upon it? Some things are so real you can’t unsee or unfeel them. We all have inner Truths, sometimes they’re just hard to see, but looking at his work is how I know that what’s in the realm of graphic arts is definitely either directly in or relatedly somehow along the line of a Truth in my life. Because I just want to make this. Because as a human I can feel it, so as an artist I want to translate it. 

 

Shuki Okamoto 

 

 

Already posted this, but this is so real to me

 

Sniff sniff:

We are called to give and to love without expectations. I might help someone who takes advantage of the situation and hurts me but there have been so many people in my life who have loved and helped me in other ways. Life isn’t always fair. People are not always good. But just because you’ve been wronged by someone, doesn’t mean you should take it out on someone else. I’m guilty of that. But what I’ve learned is that in the end, it only hurts you. It only holds you back from new friends, new love, new opportunities. Don’t live life bitter and angry because you’ve been wronged. I know it hurts, trust me, it still hurts. Live with love. Love because you are loved.  

Some paperwork, then bed. But hey, if you really want to care, you can make even paperwork fun and beautiful. 

Drats

October 14, 2014

Choosing must is hard. And brutal. 

I think over time, as a person matures, the path that you are heading down and the path that leads you to where you want to be start to converge, and that is the personal definition of “making it.” My younger, high school self would have interpreted this as the former path shifting to where it needs to be. But I think that maturity is allowing for the latter path to shift instead. Sometimes it feels like things are impossible to attain because they depend on the validation of your peers. But real growth comes from trust in yourself. I’m just saying things that we all instinctually know but are hard to emotionally, fully know. So maybe maturity comes from growing towards feeling-knowing this stuff for real, in addition to intellectually-knowing it. 

I’m moving into my apartment in SF tomorrow. It’s a sick place. I can’t wait. Each day is a new one. 

At least I’m not a zombie anymore. I feel like I’d been in one crazy intense race since high school. Is this what it feels like to have choices? To have your own time back as yours? To not have to chase the next thing on the ladder? Growth hurts, like sore muscles, but looking back it feels good. Pull the plug. The Matrix does not exist. 

October 12, 2014

I have an emotional reaction to anything and everything . 
I grew up craving identity, individuality, and acknowledgement . 

These days, I want to avoid attention and expectation . 
I have only experienced good things because of God and never because of me . 

My passions are the soul expressions of music, dance, writing, and art . 
I have always wished to live an adventurous life, so my autobiography would sell . 

It is not impossible to learn to love, and to accept love . 
It is important to me, to be a symbol of positivity and not of pain . 

It is very nice to be living . 
It is very nice to begin imperfect . 

Damnnnnnnnnnnn son. 

October 11, 2014

well if it’s what you love, you better make it worth the sacrifices .  nobody else can tell you if it’s worth it, that’s up to you to determine .

I love people like this. 

October 11, 2014

I realized my motivation in life is to be all the things that the 10-year-old me didn’t think he deserved .

*mic drop* YOU’RE PERFECT

obsessions to remember

October 11, 2014

I get intensely obsessed with very, very specific music (ie. one song or one artist) for short periods of time . too bad rdio doesn’t have some kind of “year in review” recap or stats feature - I’m sure one exists, but what better place to document what I care about than on my personal blog? That’s what this is for: 

  • when I was in rome, I basically listened to lana del rey nonstop for those two weeks
  • I’ve been spending time doing a design residency @ sequoia with my design friend james, and somehow he completely tolerated my penchant for listening to the same song on repeat for days as we literally blasted “gifted” by nasa/kanye on repeat for four days straight (I’m not joking. we played that song and that song only. it is now in my rdio “trending” feed despite having been released in 2008). 
  • today I listened to the quest 2014 WOD mix on repeat the whole day while designing stuff, it makes me really happy 

 

The last like 40 sec of this I feel to the bone. I feel like life has been kind of a whirlwind since graduating almost two years ago. I guess ultimately we all are, but I kind describe much of that time as being kind of alone, just on my own. When I think about being alone, the most cogent memories that come to mind are of sitting in an airport terminal alone. I’ve tried to be really proactive about traveling a lot whenever I have the chance to, and work sent me on a lot of interesting places too.

But anyway, the video. I just realized that I’m literally lying on my bed right now with my feet crossed in the same way in the video, haha. It’s like the experiencing-me is a very energetic, usually excited person, and the constant-me feels like this - chill, distanced. This is certainly a step up from the college version of that inner self. I really had trouble with depression in college. It’s interesting because in college, it was difficult for me to pinpoint what not being extremely depressed was like (which, in turn, doesn’t exactly help). But now, in probably the most blind-faith-risky-trust-yourself time of my life so far, I totally understand. I do feel existential grief as a human, but it’s no longer that sort of all-consuming, black-hole-vortex hopelessness that I used to encounter. Instead I feel kind of calm, definitely thoughtful but not panicked or despairing (like the dancer in the video. according to his caption he hasn’t danced in a while and this is a quick freestyle - which is incredible, because I can completely feel the emotion despite the technical impreciseness). 

Actually, that’s what I feel like this video expresses. The subject feels pain, overwhelming sadness. Not the numbness of structured routine, going on autopilot every single minute of your lame job and blasting out the paleness with interesting music (look, some autopilot will always be there to function with society, but I don’t want it to be my entire existence) - that is a muted sort of pain, one usually born of frustration. This is closer to the center. He feels the sharpness and heaviness of being. He feels it, with a certain calmness. Moving with a smoothness, and with the all heaviness (still dancing, though). He has obviously felt love. Maybe he feels it now. It is not apparent. His container has been a colorful one; he remembers the lightness, too. The sadness is there, but what can I do about it but breathe? So I feel like the way he’s moving - it’s like he’s acknowledging life while feeling it. But not panicking or falling to the floor in a fit. It’s kind of like a testimony to smoothly breathing and being with pain still in your sides but going forward, living nonetheless, understanding the longevity of a life. And living a life no matter how painful is inherently full of grace and beauty. 

So just one last note about lightness/darkness. Over a year ago this was one of those “dinnertime discussions” - if you felt like you were more light or more dark. I said I was definitely dark back then - not a good time. But I feel my life becoming more and more light. It’s definitely me, not life circumstances. Maybe life is like a lunar eclipse. More and more light let in with passing time. And at the end, you become your ultimate light self when you die and your self reincarnates/finds heaven. Sometimes the moon comes back and the light is obscured for a little, but it’s definitely growing progressively lighter. 

"There is no critique that we can give because this is your essence as [light]. Who are we, therefore, to say what is right and what is wrong?"

I dig, I hella dig

October 08, 2014

Q: Hello there! What kind of music speaks the most to you when you are dancing? What inspirations do you attribute to your eclectic style?

A: old school breakbeats .  it’s where my heart’s at .  i’m heavily inspired by what people are NOT doing, not wearing, not listening to .  All the nots .  lol

— 

I have a feeling my next girlfriend is going to be Filipino .  I miss having a strong cultural familiarity in a relationship .

Okay whoa, maybe not girlfriend .  That might be too severe of a word .

You know what I mean .

In other news, I need to stop dating bad girls .

I’m acting stupid over here .  I need a bucket of water to land on my head every 6 days or so, just to keep my heat in check .  Sometimes I seriously catch myself in the act, like … what am i DOING .  And then it occurs to me yet again that, ahh yes .  I’m totally not living up to the standards I’ve set .  BASIC standards, I might add .  For those of you who are in tune to my actions as of late … yeah … don’t be like me right now .

See kids, in my line of work, you travel all around the world .. which is why you never meet the girl next door . 

Sucks .

I mean .. it sucks that the girl next door is an old cuban lady who yells at her plants all day . 

I’ve been outta town forever !

. ryan

I love this guy’s work and blog. I FEEL IT! 

This is perfect / an analysis of some amazing people and their stories

October 06, 2014

This is a simple piano song that Ryanimay of Quest Crew posted a while ago called “The Miracle.” It’s set to a video overlooking a semi-busy street. 

 

I tend to get semi-obsessed with the stories of interesting people for short periods of time (“obsess” is probably not the best word here since it has a slight negative connotation, but what I really mean is “above-average interested in”, not like “feverishly stalking”). I like learning about them, their work, their talents, their life, their family, the things that they value and love (past or present tense, depending on if they’re living or not). I was usually led to this person by their work - their’s life’s / heart’s work, not like their “career,” so usually I subconsciously lead off by asking the question: what made them different? what gave their work that special sauce? why was I drawn to this person’s story in the first place - can I distill this into general principles from which I can learn more about myself?

A good example of one of these people is Maya Angelou - I read all of her biographies on my phone basically when I was on vacation in August and scrounged up as many video bits of interviews that she did in her older years (and she was Oprah’s mentor and they had such great conversations!). Another two examples from just this past weekend are ultra-talented photographer Rosie Hardy, whose work I actually came across when I was like 18 and was aghast and very impressed to discover that the artist behind such intensely creative works was only a year older than me, and a few of the breakers/dancers from Quest. 

None of this is stuff I’m explicitly aware of at the time, but these are all conclusions that I’ve slowly come to after reading about these people. For example, all of the people I am fascinated with are artists (whether performers, writers, painters, environmental/3D/spatial artists, etc), and ultimately serve as even greater inspirations to me than other designers or illustrators that are technically more directly in the same field as me. Also, an important distinction to make: they are artists whose work is primarily a form of self-expression (ie. their creations are truly their signature). I wouldn’t, for instance, consider much of the work in product design to be an emotional form of self-expression (sometimes you can insert your personality into things, but those usually come in the form of things secondary to the core element of product, like interactions and branding and illustrations). I personally classify roles like as still being creative, but more like designers rather than artists/makers. 

Also, a lot of these artists seem to have difficulty separating passion with life. After all, how can you when you’re literally doing what you love? Rosie talks about this a lot in her blog, about how she’s gone on professional photography hiatus to focus more on making personal work (which makes sense - making a career out of your passion does add about a billion extra layers of stress / consideration to something that was previously more “pure” - “just for fun”). One of my favorite dancers actually just retired professionally - not because of age, injuries, or anything - but for personal life-balance reasons. 

In many ways, I can deeply empathize. That initial phase of exploring something new that you know you’ll love is a feeling that I always go back to when I’m frustrated. Like when you’re starting out as a photographer and see the world framed in interesting compositions, or when I was learning illustration stuff last year and looking at different scenes/objects IRL and thinking about how I would recompose them on the computer - it’s like seeing things in a beautiful new light. It really sucks when making it your “work” tears up that really pure, childlike feeling. Of course, working with constraints and the ability to actually ship something are totally super valuable (if not somewhat undervalued I think) but when your work starts to evolve in a unhealthy, overly compromise-y way (“me vs. them”/fight instead of “me with you”/grow), it has the potential to really damage the health of your psyche. 

Lastly, I’ve also asked myself: what makes their work have that extra special spice that others’ lack? For instance, many of the people whose stories/work I’m just really drawn to aren’t necessarily the most “technically” talented of their field. You might be able to find a more technically superb photographer, illustrator, dancer, etc. than some of the people I’ve mentioned above (in fact, all of the handful of people I mentioned above are self-taught, ie. their “education” was self-initiated and did not take place in a formal program/school), but their work has that special brand of spark to it that makes it better than some robot just churning out the same thing (for example, not to hate, but Dribbble often has this problem - people churning out high quality yet somehow rather uninspired work. Probably because most of it is so derivative from the community). 

I especially liked this one interview that dancer Victor Kim did where he mentioned how one of his biggest inspirations was also his crewmate because of the way that he danced and how he put himself into each motion. Some dancers, he said, just do the moves and you don’t really feel anything when you watch them. He talked also about how when he practices dancing, he doesn’t actually value having a mirror that much because much of it is just about how he himself feels when he’s dancing, and expressing that personality is more important than the technical component. 

Oh, and also: all of these people are not only uber-talented but seem to have strong moral values and be good, kind people. I mean, you can’t ever really know without knowing someone, but I like to read their words and learn. Anyway, ultimately, I’m just so inspired by people like this. My point is just to work through: 1) who I’m naturally drawn to through literature/media and 2) why? what can I learn from this? 

This is a PUBLIC blog post that someone whose work I intensely admire wrote a very long time ago (probably right after his first big break): 

im like soo thrifty with spending now . i no longer live lavishly . i eat ravioli in place of steak, george foremanizer makes my burgers, and my morning breakfast consists of golden grahams and/or some kinda bread . it’s a change from the slovakian t-bone and romanian scrambled eggs of yore . ya i made them sound more expensive . but whatever .. melissa does a good job keeping me in check with the scrilla . haha .. ya i wrote it . and my backspace IS working .

it’s stuff like hilfiger and nautica, that only make you cool for awhile . yet later, looking back you realize how uncool you actually were, for TRYING that hard . i mean, if you’re in my generation, let’s be honest here . none of that stuff was really that special . it ripped at the crotch just like anything else did . and you ended up looking stupid on the see-saw . ..uh i mean , during football practice .

everyone, it’s kids like me that didn’t learn how to appreciate, until i learned how to struggle . and that’s the main reason why i moved . i want to go broke, to starve, to strive, to live each day with uncertainty, to climb a mountain every morning only to leap with faith every night . and after all of that, i want to succeed . i don’t want to make it in life .. without failing at it first .

i know it sounds odd . but i want to be able to know what i have, by starting from scratch .

some people would say it defeats the purpose of what my parents worked hard for . but i think it only makes it more visible to me . 

PS: If any of the people I referenced in this blog post actually reads this someday… well, you’ve got an admirer here in SF! And I hope you don’t mind that I read your blog(s). Thanks for the inspiration - so much respect. 

Cause I’m M. brightside

September 28, 2014

But it’s just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
(Destiny being another word for the grace of god)
Open up my eager eyes
… Etc

#3 bartering

September 27, 2014

After a couple weeks of searching I have an apartmenttttttt! It is totally perfect and gorgeous (well, the neighborhood is kind of blah, but the apartment itself is totally cool. Typical SF tradeoff, I guess). I’m a little picky - was looking for a furnished place with a big desk (many jam sessions will be had), good good noise insulation (light sleeper), and proximity to interesting things (the Mission) and productive things (Sightglass + Caltrain). Oh, and a studio or 1BR. And month-to-month. So those things are kind of impossible in SF, haha. 

But it worked out! Woot woot. *dances in chair*

#2 10 ft walls

September 25, 2014

One of my big projects right now occupying most of my time is the design + implementation of two large 10 by 10 ft walls. The trick is that the pair have to: 

1) stand together (as a pair)

2) stand alone (as a single unit, in case they can’t fit a second one)

3) travel well (aka no crazy elaborate 3D elements, because they’re going to be folded up)

4) incorporate two already existing 3 by 5 ft LED panels in the composition of my choice

So as I’ve walked around SF this whole week, I’ve kept thinking to myself: “is that window ledge at ten feet? is parking garage entrance ten feet? what does ten feet look like?”

And then: “is this table three feet? is it six feet?”

Something about Tuesdays

September 23, 2014

Something about Tuesdays just seem to be making them my lucky day! This is not a sarcastic post. Heh! 

edit: yup, lucky day. I even had time to take a nap on the outside deck, too. 

things from the last month and a half:

September 16, 2014

1) know thyself

2) do not cling to the past

3) you decide what is important to you 

4) do good, be good

can’t wait to share some of what I’m working on :) I’m increasingly finding more and more meaning in the work that I do. it stems from a combination of factors: being selective with the projects I work on and therefore my time, doing work that I feel I am uniquely able to do, or offer (while referring other friends if I feel they are better suited for certain projects), and most importantly, working with people who really care about what they’re working on. not ”I want to succeed in the Silicon Valley and make a ton of money, protect my rep and therefore ego a bit,” but - this will help people, this will improve lives, this is important to and bigger than me! 

things have fallen into place, not because the universe is bound by some cosmic thread of magic electricity but because of the circumstances from our cause-and-effect existence and the care and decision making that I use to shape it. the responsibility for your own happiness falls upon you, alone. 

but yeah: know thyself, love thy neighbor.