Thursday, October 31, 2013

New York - in Words

One day of walking,
all the way up from 28th and 8th.
Saw the Empire State, the New York Library,
the ice rink at the Rockefeller.

Top of the Rock and the sky was incredible.
Central Park laid out like a green runner in the middle of Art Deco buildings.

Louder and wider but so much like London.
All the different accents passing you on the street.

Saw Winnie-the-Pooh (And Tigger too!),
Broadway, Times Square, Madison Square Gardens and the Post Office.

Took a taxi to a restaurant recommended by Ruth Reichl,
former New York Times food critic,
and was not disappointed.

All on day one and my legs were knackered, my feet worn out.

But that didn't stop us from crossing Brooklyn Bridge the next day.
Started in Wall Street of course,
after taking the Subway.

Saw a giant bull and gave him a hug.
(I'm a Taurus, you know.)

Went to a food co-op and took it all in,
an example of how not everything American
is deep fried and covered in batter, dipped in ketchup and sweetened with corn syrup. 

Saw a play on Broadway 
where the programmes are free. 

And then we move on to 
my last day in the city, 
onto day three. 

A tour of the harbour under a perfectly amazing blue sky. 
Glinting off of glass buildings and lighting up
a green lady with her arm stretched high. 

Counted all the Starbucks and figured out the Subway,
(kept calling it the Underground even though they're 
not even close to being the same)
and made back to the cozy flat where we were staying. 

Went out on the town after dark, 
to the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. 
Went there to start because that was the beginning
of so very much. 

The birthplace of Pride when being gay was criminal,
and it wasn't a celebration but a riot when it all kicked off in '69. 

From there to a Drag show New York style. 
Profane as anything, definitely crossing a line. 

But we were up for it of course, because this was New York, baby! 

Three days to explore (just a little more than Tokyo) and now I can add it to my list. 
Sydney, London, Paris, Tokyo and New York. 
Totally different but so much the same - 
full of people and cars and sort of always awake.

And on the very last night of the very last day:
we danced in Madison Square Gardens and down the street. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New York - In Pictures

Concrete Jungle...

The original Winnie-the-Pooh characters

P. L. Travers' umbrella (Author of Mary Poppins)

Top of the Rock - Central Park and Upper Manhattan

Untitled street sculpture

The Wall Street Bull

The Brooklyn Bridge

Needs no introduction

Slightly altered skyline. 

Classically New York

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Holiday time

Next week I'm off to New York. I'll be spending three days in the Big Apple and the weekend in Rhinebeck, where I'll get to attend a retreat with Pema Chodron.

This year has been particularly full-on for me so I'm taking this time as a break. Unlike my Japan trip which involved much blogging and research for home workers abroad, this trip will be just for me to do as I please with no deadlines or plans or other bits going on.

I've wrapped up a bunch of design contracts this week and made sure all existing clients know that I'm not going to be available for seven days starting on the 21st.

I've also refrained from planning and scheduling blog entries. I'm taking a full-on break and if I know posts are publishing I'll want to share via Twitter and Facebook and I really want this to be a largely technology free break too.

The nature of my job and life is that I spend a good six to ten hours a day staring at some form of glowing screen. I want my time in New York city and state to be time spent experiencing, not scrolling or capturing or noting on.

So - I'm going on holiday. No blog entries next week. No Facebook posts. No tweets. Just me and an adventure in a new city and a chance to meet one of the greatest teachers of my life.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Custom Shoe Design - 'Shakespeare'

A few weeks ago I was commissioned by two different clients within two days of one another to do shoes. I've not done custom shoes for some time so it was quite fun to get two in such a short span of time.

Both commissions are gifts for my clients to give to someone else so I've had to be super secretive about them as I've been working on each design - until today! The first commission has been warmly received by the recipient (She absolutely loves them!) so I can unveil my latest custom shoe design: 

The client requested multiple lines from Shakespeare on the shoe.
I made the suggestion of incorporating an
ink well and quill into the design -
which were the first elements I painted. 
My client provided a list of quotes he wanted used on the shoes.
I chose a typeface that I thought would work well across all
of them and got to work. 
The completed design

Each pair is 100% unique and range in price from £30 - £150 depending on the style of shoe and complexity of the design. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Off to meet Pema soon...

I am a Buddhist. I don't have a particular Sangha (Buddhist community) that I practice with but I sort of just embrace the world as my Sangha and do what works for me - which is the essence of Buddhism so I figure that's alright.

I do, however, have a teacher I follow quite closely. I've been a fan of Pema Chodron since I first bought and read 'Start Where You Are' (good advice, by the way) on the recommendation of my psychologist. What I love about Pema is the clarity with which she explains things. Whether you're a Buddhist or not, what she says is mostly just good, common sense. To be fair, most Buddhist teachings are just good, common sense:

Love yourself.

Choose your own path.

Be compassionate based on the knowledge that everyone else is just as confused as you are.

Everything changes.

Believe nothing unless it fits your own sense of reason.

No one does anything because they want to feel worse.

Death is inevitable.

You can't change other people and outer circumstance. You can change your mind.

Thoughts are like clouds in the sky or waves on the ocean - they come and go but above them is something vast and wide open.

Live with curiosity.

Be genuine.

And so on...

So I'm a fan and I spend a lot of time reading Pema's stuff and listening to her talks and so on and at the end of this month I'll be seeing her in person and hearing her speak at a retreat in Rhinecliff, New York.   I'm pretty damn excited as I made up my mind to finally go see her speak late in 2011. I quickly discovered she was in solitary retreat for all of 2012 so I had to wait until January of this year to finally book to attend one of her talks.

An opportunity to practice patience.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Facebook branding

Just a little look at some of the Social Media branding I've done. The photography page just launched on the weekend but this was a client I had back in the summer. I did the logo design for both of these clients as well. Really fun projects and it's fun to see my work in my timeline! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A pair of shoes

Recently I have been asked to do some custom shoe designs for some clients. Due to a miscommunication I now have a pair of women's size 8 (UK) sneakers.

When someone orders a custom pair of shoes my first task is to source a pair in their size. I don't keep a supply of shoes because A) I don't have the space and B) it's easier to get the size I need when I need it.

This means I now have a pair of shoes taking up space with the potential to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I'm not much interested in shoe storage and would much rather find a happy client to design and then send the shoes to.

So, if you or someone you know would like a pair of size 8 (UK) hand-painted 100% unique shoes, please get in touch! Because they're already paid for and I want to move them along I will only charge for the design, which will be created to your specifications.

If you're not sure - please take a look at some of the other designs I've done. I have many happy clients with happy feet in shoes made just for them.


Rainbow with a twist


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

London Journal - Shoreditch Art

I'm going to try and go back up to two blog entries a week but stagger them on Tuesdays and Thursday instead of Mondays and Thursdays. We'll see how I go. I have a lot less on in one sense but the reduced blog entries may have something to do with that...

Regardless, today my entry is a simple one. I've been finding myself in Shoreditch during twilight. For long time readers you'll know this is one of my favourite stomping grounds in London. I love walking the streets and snapping pictures of the street art I find. I like how the lighting changes the art - giving it an entirely different sort of feel. Plus, when the lighting is so low it becomes more difficult to spot.