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Hi

July 09, 2014

I’m so sleepy. But I can’t sleep! I’m too excited about drawing stuff. Just stupid stuff, but mainly some special personal presents for people at work. But I’m sleepy. Zzz…

been working on something this past week

July 05, 2014

I have enjoyed it immensely. The funnest part (for me) is always coloring (after concepting, and then inking aka setting down strokes fo realz). 

The scene, 10 ft high: draw letter, climb down ladder, move over one foot, climb back up again

July 03, 2014

The scene, 10 ft high: draw letter, climb down ladder, move over one foot, climb back up again

My day today

July 03, 2014

Work (lots of 1:1s with some maker time)

Run to freelance the rest of my chalk stuff - there is/was a LOT. I welcome it, gladly

Run back to work

It’s 1 am (not an unusual routine these days)

I am satisfied with today (/yesterday)

Zzz

THE NINTH PATH

July 02, 2014

I was forwarded a rather wonderful piece of writing today and rather than find an excerpt to put here, I’d like to quote it in its entirety. It’s a letter from Hunter Thompson at age 22 to a friend. About life. about life. 

Bold, italics, etc. I added. 

April 22, 1958

57 Perry Street

New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called “Being and Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called “Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors — but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN — and here is the essence of all I’ve said — you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know — is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo — this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

your friend,

Hunter

hand-drawn

July 01, 2014

Feels good to be getting back into and exploring this kind of true hand-drawn style again. All love to the line-art stuff that I’ve learned at Dropbox, as it’s taught me a lot about composition and how the slightest of changes in the placement or curvature of a single line can change an entire illustration, but it isn’t really me. I like doodling lil doo-dads like this. 

New chalk • Had a blast lettering up Crowdtilt’s offices this weekend! These are their values scripted up, and this is one of like a dozen surfaces in the office. Chalk + blasting Lana del Rey over the office speakers the whe weekend = fun fun. Thanks for having me! ✨ (at Crowdtilt)

June 30, 2014

New chalk • Had a blast lettering up Crowdtilt’s offices this weekend! These are their values scripted up, and this is one of like a dozen surfaces in the office. Chalk + blasting Lana del Rey over the office speakers the whe weekend = fun fun. Thanks for having me! ✨ (at Crowdtilt)

Chalk script. This took forevs, worth it tho. (at Crowdtilt)

June 28, 2014

Chalk script. This took forevs, worth it tho. (at Crowdtilt)

Chalking it up  (at Crowdtilt)

June 28, 2014

Chalking it up (at Crowdtilt)

life juice

June 28, 2014

so i was talking about this with someone yesterday: life juice. 

I used to know someone. when I first met this person, their hair was dark jet black. a while ago, I said goodbye to this person, and the hair along the side of their face, right above the ear, was already covered with white. I remember seeing the first white hair a month into knowing them, and as more and more popped up over the months, they all contributed to a slow display of aging only noticeable to someone specifically comparing a set of distinct before-and-now snapshots. 

it made me think, wow, literally in the entirety of the time I’ve known this friend, their hair has gone from being completely black to clearly turning white! (which was weird, too, because it’s not like they were that old) 

so then I thought about my own face and how it’s changed. you can probably see the faintest outlines of wrinkles, or the starts of them. in the last year and a half since I’ve graduated and started at Dropbox - what have I given in terms of my time (in the most existential of senses)? a full year and a half of my 20s, a handful of wrinkles, creative motion that many (not me!) have described as energetically youthful. 

I hear so many instances of this: “I probably was in that relationship a year longer than I should have been.” A YEAR?! what the hell are you doing?! or even worse: “I’ve wanted to switch jobs for two, now three years.” barring financial constraints (which aren’t brought up in the contexts of the anecdotes I’m referring to, but could extremely well be), uh, what! but then I look at my own experiences and I realize that I too have been guilty of being caught up in the security and the default-ness of the present day, sometimes too much so. 

just a way to gain perspective on what you might have for granted. in the scope of your day-to-day life, ie. the job or school or whatever you’re at, or the city or relationship you’re in, what physical attributes of your metaphoric capsule of time - your wrinkles, your hairs, your crazy 22-year-old late night creative powwow-ing energy - have you expended on it?

and the most important question that follows: will you continue to? or, rephrased: has it been worth it? 

with that, chalk day begins :) :) 

Status update

June 26, 2014

In my TechCrunch interview they asked me what my standard daily routine is; now that I’m back from vacation my answer has changed significantly. It used to be something like: draw, go into work, draw or get dinner/socialize, sleep. Now it’s something like: wake up at an ungodly hour (because residual jet lag), dance around my gigantic sublet room for a good 20 minutes, work on commissions while still dancing in chair, head into office, leave at healthy hour, and do something random like walk down the embarcadero or scavenger hunt for an Oakland rave (yeah what??) or something unpredictable.

For the first time in a long time (probably since summer 2012 when I interned at Path) I’m really excited for each day. Freedom over security, I proposed; he snapped his fingers and said “you got it!” Hell yeah. I can actually say bright eyes and MEAN IT!

The lovely @Dropbox admin team ladies wearing the script sweaters I lettered for them! They make it happen ✨✨ (at Dropbox SF)

June 23, 2014

The lovely @Dropbox admin team ladies wearing the script sweaters I lettered for them! They make it happen ✨✨ (at Dropbox SF)

California pin! From something old :) #dontbreakthechain

June 22, 2014

California pin! From something old :) #dontbreakthechain

An update, also I love you Maya

June 20, 2014

That’s Maya Angelou for ya. I read all of her chronological biographies (she wrote seven in total, but six are chronological accounts of her life and the seventh is about her and her mother) and very deeply admire her voice, wit, attitude. What I took from those books is very similar to the full carpe diem phrase: seize the day, placing as little trust as possible in the future. I also read the full set on my phone. 

In any case, I haven’t sat down to write in a long time and I want to always take the time to. One of my favorite activities to do occasionally (it only works if you do it once in a rare while, not like every day (haha)) is to read old entries, because you can instantly detect the difference in self from your present-day (reader) to past-tense (writer) just from your voice and the things that you were writing about. I find that photographs and illustrations, while evocative in the short-term, are less effective in achieving this. I just want to capture these little infinities for what they are (I’ve been reading John Greene, too). 

I am very happy right now. Of course there are things that I would rather not deal with; there are always these things and so I think happiness is about handling them while always walking towards the thing that’s really in your heart, keeping the long-term picture in mind but never living in the future, only living in the present. That’s something that I think I used to do too much in 2013 - I lived in the future, hoping “oh, when this happens, everything will be so much better.” While this isn’t a bad way to look at things (it’s actually quite optimistic), it means that you are less appreciative of the things you have. You are less likely to enjoy the smallest of things like a breeze blowing hair all over your face and the way it tickles as you walk against the wind, or the perfect little stroke that adds that special touch to that illustration. Or even with people - I feel like I spent 2013 in a perpetually bad mood, short with my temper in talking to others because I was so impatient with myself (ie. living in the future). 

Let’s see what I did today - I woke up in my new apartment (I’m subletting from various places around town - right now I’m in this AWESOME apartment in the heart of the Mission; it’s old and creaky and huge and Victorian; it’s weird and perfect) and ran to a fitness class at Dolores - the work out proceeded to kick my ass completely and unquestionably, but the ass-kicking was tempered by the beautiful view of the city (ie. downtown & SOMA) that’s framed with palm trees in the park. So instead of watching the timer when doing your planks, you’re looking at the city and the white clouds. 

I then ran to catch my shuttle and worked on a mural that I’m doing for my friend’s startup on the way (!!). I don’t want to say the name because it’s a surprise! And then I finished up some of the signs that I made for our upcoming intern event - which just means I staged a photoshoot for my portfolio in the cafe.

I also had a really invigorating conversation with someone here who I really look up to about paths and callings. I love talking to inspired people. I think the thing I’ve learned in the year and a half since graduating is simply that. You can choose things like security, but all of that always comes at the cost of freedom. When you choose freedom, you have to believe in it (and yourself) so much that you’re willing to sacrifice your security for it. But life isn’t meant to be lived low risk low reward. I mean, I can only live my life one way. It’s a non-decision. 

Then I went over to another startup to talk about doing ALL of their walls up with this crazy type work! And I’m so excited for that too!!!!! 

And next week I’m focusing on some cool stuff at Dropbox. One is a big Lego script type installation and the other is doing our float for Pride (a perfect project for me). My shirts just came in of the script that I worked on before I left; that’s cool too.

So overall today was really awesome. I’ll never sacrifice happiness for security again (because I see the delta between before my trip and after, which I think is also reflected in the work that I’m doing - as many people have pointed out - and that’s not worth losing ever again). 

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Sign 3 - pier39 #dontbreakthechain  (at Dropbox SF)

June 20, 2014

Sign 3 - pier39 #dontbreakthechain (at Dropbox SF)