Season of the Witch

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Ever since I was a wee wild child I’ve been entranced with the idea of witches and witchcraft. In middle school I probably hit peak obsession, collecting all the witchcraft books I could find in Barnes and Noble and giving an unprompted presentation about it in history. It simmered down some in high school, but resurfaced in college (specifically during the semester I spent in Salem, obviously.)

I’ve tried and failed several times in the past decade or so to actually practice traditional witchcraft, with an intricate altar and rituals by moonlight and incense, but to be honest I’ve never been particularly religious. Nor am I very good at spending time trying to cultivate spells and celebrate the wheel of the year with all my other obsessions sucking all my time up. Or at least, that’s what I’ve thought until recently.

I might not be what you’d call a traditional witch, but I damn well am an art witch. For me, creating art is my practice. It is how I cultivate myself and where I pour all my energy to manifest things (art) in my life. I’ve seen this concept pop up a few times recently in my internet travels, coincidentally as I was contemplating it on my own.

My ritual is more akin to carefully prepping screens for printing at night by candlelight (thanks UV sensitive emulsion for making my process extra) with intention and focus because if you mess that up, the whole printing process is screwed. My spell craft is my painting and drawing; I visualize my intentions, find the tools I require to create the results I want to manifest, and make art basically appear out of nowhere. If that isn’t magic, I dunno what is! I suppose it also helps that my subject matter generally lends itself to powerful women, heavy symbolism, and general occult/fantasy inspirations. And incense. I use lots of incense.

Trying to connect to my art in a more ritualistic manner has actually been a real help with bringing more focus into my work time. As well as helping me take what I’m doing more seriously and with more intent, which is significantly improving my outcomes. I now feel like if I’m going to spend time doing it (with really anything in my life lately), it’s worth doing by delving more deeply than just going through the motions.

Adds a little magic to the mundane!

Are any of you non-traditional witches? What are your rituals in your daily life that make it more magical?

Drowning in work? Must be time to write a blog! (Or my weird way of being thankful)

The approaching end of the year, as well as the holidays have got me in a very reflective mood lately despite the fact that I should be hustling to get through the pile of work I’ve accidentally buried myself in.

This year has been one big, beautiful hot mess. On the one hand, I’m still learning the ropes of what it means to have crohn’s for me, and as such I’ve been sick more than healthy. But on the other, I had set out to start selling my work at shows, and I’ve far surpassed my original plan of only going to two, with six, soon to be seven shows! I’ve met nothing but support and such friendly (albeit sometimes strange) people. I’ve also had my first legitimate illustration job, got my own press set up, and have had my work in a gallery in Los Angles!

It still blows my mind that people actually want to spend their hard earned money on what I do. While money is a necessary evil, and I’m not saying it doesn’t make me happy, what really tickles me pink is seeing others excited about what I’ve made, and how some people just light up when they see something they really connect with.

Through it all, I’m so grateful that I can work on what I love, and even more so for the community I’m finding of people as weird as I am. Y’all make the long hours and working through the pain worth it!

Here’s to more insanity and art next year!

Shedding My Skin – When I Stopped Resisting Change

Have you ever been so caught up in a whirlwind of change that you feel as though you’ve completely lost sight of what it was you were trying to do in the first place that caused such a shift? When all your goals and who you are get muddied and buried under a thin veil so that they’re still there, but somehow elusive to you?

That’s exactly where I’ve been the last few months.

I felt as though I’ve lost myself in the pursuit of finding my place in the world. Who I wanted to be was skewing from who I was, and I didn’t like it. I suppose having a large growth spurt in a short amount of time does that to a person. In the span of a year I’ve gone from having wild ideas to actually seeing my dreams begin to blossom and grow into reality, and I was swept away in the chaos that is trying to work a day job and be a full time artist at the same time. I lost track of why I was creating, and was going on a downward spiral of feeling like I need to just produce stuff, even if it isn’t something I feel attached to or done with the care and love I want to put into my work, and thus I was feeling inadequate across the board.

Though, the feeling had begun to change. Instead of feeling inadequate, I began to try to see it as a transformation. At first I thought it was relative to a moth, coming out of the chaos of it’s chrysalis, but now I realize it’s more akin to when a snake is outgrowing their skin. There’s lots of growth happening inside, but their skin is preventing it from being seen. Their outer surface becomes dull and tired looking, obscuring the beautiful new scales underneath. The radiant snake is still there, but only those who look deep can find it. The change happens slow at first, but then there is a sudden burst when the skin is shed, revealing all that was at work underneath while leaving the old, dull skin behind.

That’s pretty much how I feel at the moment, like a freshly molted snake. I was consistently feeling like I was missing the mark on a lot of what I was working on, but I couldn’t figure out what it was that I was missing. I knew there was potential, but it was hidden from me. That thought alone was driving me mad.

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So I gave up trying so damn hard, and just let things happen. That’s when this piece came along, coincidentally enough. I stopped resisting change (which I didn’t even know I was doing), and let go of the thick layer of skin of who I was and who I thought I should be that was building up around me. I let myself wander back to the my old haunts that make me happy; started rereading Dracula, doodled more skulls, oogled over my favorite artists while contemplating why it is I enjoy their work, and suddenly I feel like I can see my shiny black scales again (and obviously they’re a touch iridescent too).

Change is awkward, but if you can get through it, the rewards are many.