By admin

Reflecting on Denver. A life changer. Narcolepsy PSA

I meet my first person with Narcolepsy.

My head jerks forward. I fight the sleepiness but my head drops anyway. The cab driver wakes me up to tell me we have arrived at the Denver airport. I smile and thank him.

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Chasing my N[art] to Denver! Zzzzz


Yesterday, I tried to get out of bed.. I could not. My body felt like the pit of despair. Quickly, I ran through my reasons to be grateful. I read the poem my Nan gave me. It’s posted at the head of my bed.


Suddenly, my eyes became cloudy. Tears running down my cheeks. The feeling of hope and determination surfaces. I put my headphones on and listen to my morning music.. I message Kendall and my mum to tell them what’s going on. I send them my crying face photo. I talked about my feelings and then my day started like any other day.

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Made by hand: reflection why part II

Lately I have been struggling of sorts. Approaching my 30's and reflecting back over my 20's. So what has changed? That feeling of invincibility has evaporated.. The notion of wanting to be good at everything looks unrealistic from where I sit today.

What if I only have time to be great at a few things? What if I can only be masterful at one craft?

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Masters of Expression: Why do you create art?

Ceramic work and the dedication it evokes has given me a renewed sense of self-confidence. When I am at the wheel, I don't feel tired. I am not fighting off sleep. I am just innocent and me. The clay reflects back an honesty about where I am at that I am unable to see in the mirror. It teaches me self-care, patience, and humility. Without that perspective of self.. I am lost.

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Sling Art: Break Even then Repeat.

Photo Taken by Christopher Thompson of Top Men (@TopMenBand)

In the last year I have made a continual effort to keep my finances in perspective. I make art but I also sell art.

In order to keep producing and doing the tasks I love I have to become proficient in other areas too. Keeping accurate records, accounting, promotion, and marketing. It’s helpful for me to have this artist module in my head to use as a working example.

A lovely lady brought it to my attention that I will never get rich off ceramic art. I replied:

My plan is not to get rich. My aim is to feel fulfilled, challenged, and healthy. My intention is to understand on a personal level what artists struggle with and why.

Putting into action the theories taken from inside the classroom and applying them immediately.

I have recently been working on ideas for packaging and displaying art. Trying to simplify the merchandise setup for nights that I am not available to attend.

It seems that no matter how much I plan every venue has its own challenges. The location of the merchandise table is crucial. The best spot is an entrance or exit. Stage left or right seems to be the Achilles heal. Especially if the crowd is on the older side. It’s better to have half the audience walking by then being visible to everyone but inconveniently located.


As an artist I struggle with the shameless self-promotion aspect of selling my own work. Having Kendall and the band helping with that initial awkwardness has been a blessing. I have no problem promoting Kendall or my artist friends work… Just my own. It’s a weird sensation of insecurity that creeps up on me. With time thankfully it has been easier.

Social media marketing: Mark490

This summer I have been taking a course on social media marketing.

This is a short video I shot as part of a group project:

I hold the highest regard for Professor Thomas. She has a teaching style that is informative, visual, and engaging. “Read, watch, and listen” as she refers to it. I know that I could take e-commerce management or social media marketing again and still learn something new. I guess what I am trying to say is thank you.. I am pushed to my best when a Professor trys her best too.

My mentor Professor Leaf mentioned to me in June that he was going to be very upset if I returned in September burned out from overworking myself this summer. In the days following Rock of the Woods I understood what he meant. I am an optimist and I need people around me to remind me to slow down or to tell me I am being unrealistic with a timeline. I knew that for my career I needed/wanted to be in social media marketing. I learned about Klout scores and how that could influence an interview in the future. For those of you who don’t know what your Klout score is? Look it up.

Basically it is a way to measure your social media reach across multiple social media services. It became a game between my partner Kendall and I. Rock star vs. Artist/Manager.
When I entered the class my score was a low 32. Now it’s a 58. I have almost doubled my social reach as a result of #MARk490.


Creative Control: Art vs. Marketing?


What does art have to do with marketing? Had you asked me a year ago I would have given you a quick text book response. Speaking from experience I can now tell you.. Trend tracking and consumer buying behaviour.

That is a powerful sword if an artist can wield it. Understanding the target market or audience can make the difference between selling nothing and selling out. I sold out of the tank tops & t-shirts this year at Rock of the Woods Music Festival. In contrast to the year before where I sold one.

How many approvals did the t-shirt design go through? That thought had never crossed my mind till recently. The answer is 7 or 8.

My initial proposal came attached with a t-shirt design. I was using an advanced technique which erased colour from black t-shirts leaving a cosmic sky effect. The problem was the colour varied and on a good test the colours were hues of purple. The Director of the festival David Bain and I worked on this for most of June via Email. Finally we agreed.

The goal was to create a design people wanted to wear. It needed to be different than the existing ROTW merchandise and gender neutral. A piece of original art.

Once I understood the core of what they wanted.. I could relay that information to the graphic artist and visual artist liaison Coby McDougall.


She nailed it in her first attempt. I then needed to screen print test the design and work some handmade magic.


In the end I would say the market research ( trend tracking ) and understanding what the consumer was in search of shaped the design. The art was great but so was the marketing. Being able to communicate to Coby what the client wanted allowed her to do what she does best.. Be creative.

My sincere thanks to David Bain and Coby McDougall. Without them it might have been another one t-shirt year. Also, I would like to thank Mr. Alan Perry for carrying me through the late night printing session.

Seeing all the smiles of strangers wearing something that I printed.. Made my dream complete.


Art generated buzz… Ladysmith days!


The art generated a buzz at Rock of the Woods… Which echoed in the Cowichan Valley into the next weekend. I was asked by the city of Ladysmith, BC if they could display the mural over the long weekend! I thought it was quite the honour.

Meanwhile, back in my studio I had fallen behind on t-shirt orders and also ceramic wares… I needed a full day in the studio to evaluate how long it would take to catch up, so I could promptly inform my customers.

After three phone calls.. I could kiss my day working in studio over. I would spend the rest of the day setting up the art and getting the artists approval. I was torn between my own work and representing others.. But I felt compelled to get the visual artists as much exposure as I could for their dedication.


Relationship Limelight: Communicate or run and hide?


A normal Monday. Out to run errands with two of my favourite people #MasterGabriel and my queen Kendall Patrick. For those of you who might be new to reading my blog.

Gabriel is a 17 year old boy that Kendall and I look after. He is a saint in my book and we are very fortunate to have his youthful innocence in our lives.

After breakfast we make a plan to run errands downtown and roughly plan our meals for the week. I was waiting on the couch for Kendall and Gabriel to get ready.

And then it happened…
Kendall walked out of her room wearing shorts with a bit of her under bum showing?!

I then made the grave error of declaring an ultimatum.. If you don’t change those shorts than I am not leaving the house with you. I didn’t explain why. I became visibly upset (emotionally shutdown) and retreated to the bedroom.

Buzz buzz notification: Kendall has a new status update on Facebook. Suddenly my heart sank.. How could she broadcast our 25 second interaction already other than to portray the controlling chauvinistic boyfriend. The singer-songwriter heroine in her needed to broadcast her displeasure and revolt. Kendall has a 70 Klout score.. Which means her social media reach is extensive. Everything that she posts gets attention/ engagement. She is an indie/folk/pop star with a growing following.


Was I being a controlling pig? You might think so.. My intention was to delicately look out for my partners integrity. My part in failing to communicate with her precisely why she needed to change. Instead I gave an ultimatum and shutdown emotionally. Epic failure.


I wanted to pull the sheets over my head and hide for the rest of the day. 60 seconds later I walked out waving the white flag. I acknowledged that I failed to communicate because I was shocked and also that I didn’t want to mention that the shorts that were once baggy in the bum are now full with some under bum hanging out.

She looked at me and after a little more debate acknowledged that there has been some physical blossoming happening. She happily changed and gave me a kiss.

She promptly changed her post:


The Art Team ROTW 2014 #DreamsDoComeTrue

It’s hard to believe that a year ago a few friends and I stumbled through the screen printing process the night before Rock of the Woods music festival 2013. We were making t-shirts for Kendall Patrick and the Headless Bettys. In fact, I didn’t finish the t-shirts til a day into the festival.


A year later, I returned better organized and accompanied by a stellar support cast.

The art was top class. It challenged social norms, sparked interests and lots of conversation! Above all it brought smiles to many faces.


Spending my weekend talking to people.. It was clear that the appreciation was abundant.
Visual artists deserve exposure but usually it’s the musicians that get all the applause! This year Rock of the Woods showcased some of Vancouver Islands emerging visual artists as well as top musical acts. I believe it was a success.


The artists featured were all
Vancouver Island Students and recent graduates. They all worked incredibly hard and I am very proud of that.


ROTW 2014 Art Team contact information


Art Director – Ciro DiRuocco –

Artist Liaison – Coby McDougall-


Sean Aram Gordon –

Rio G. Trenaman –

Reta Beirnes  –

Arlen Hogarth –

Téa Luna Mei – Tea.Mei.Design@Gmail.Com

Tuesday Martin –

Alan Perry –