Pushing back: embracing mortality

I’m wanting to do art so badly these days that the thought has arisen: “I don’t even care if it will kill me.” That’s not something that has come up, before. It did come up last night, and I neglected to write it down…but I don’t think the sentiment is an unfamiliar one, to many. (At least, to many in the art world.)

Of course, examples of early death from exposure to artists’ materials abound. I am reminded of Jay DeFeo, who died of lung cancer a couple of decades after working on her piece, sometimes called Rose, or Deathrose, for eight years. (This piece had been repeatedly built up and carved down, which would have created particulates. I suspect but do not know that she may have used Titanium White pigment in this; the photos I’ve seen are black-and-white.)

I have had a number of art teachers who have fought cancer. I knew someone who died in their 20’s from breast cancer, potentially from grinding down car parts (and refusing treatment). My nearest artsy contact has a rattling chronic cough (though I think they have been exposed to a lot of things besides art supplies).

I suppose the thing to do is to know what you’re getting into, before you get into it. One of my previous drawing teachers did make sure to emphasize the dangers of blowing pastel dust up into the air and then inhaling it. Of course, people still did it, which then exposed the entire class…except for those who brought dust masks and respirators. (Tip: turn the drawing board vertically and then tap it on a hard surface to clear the paper of dust, without raising excess dust.)

I was one of the people who did (eventually) wear a respirator…and the difference of the smell from within the respirator, versus the smell outside the respirator, was not at all subtle. I wore it because I was getting personally disturbed at sneezing, then blowing my nose and seeing blue stuff come out of my sinuses.

And this was working with the relatively safe stuff — we were only using NuPastels. Though now, anything with loose Titanium White in it is likely to get a Prop 65 Warning in California (that is, a label saying it carries a recognized carcinogen) even though the danger of Titanium White is mechanical, particularly where it comes to free nanoparticles: not a toxic one.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I have been careful to avoid certain pigments because of their toxicity. By that, I particularly mean cadmium-based pigments. I learned of itai-itai disease while in the Art program, which is a disease caused by cadmium pollution in water sources. The incidence of itai-itai in this example was caused by mine drainage into the water supply people drank, cooked with, watered their crops with, fished in, and bathed in.

This lead to cadmium buildup in their bodies. Itai-itai literally translates to, “it hurts, it hurts.” I read this a long time ago, and the page I read it on has since changed, but one of the main symptoms is bone softening and fractures, even just under the body’s own weight. (There’s also some stuff about kidney [“renal”] failure in there, but I don’t claim to understand that…I just barely took Biology classes.)

It’s not that important to me to get brilliant opaque colors out of cadmium-based pigments (which are, generally speaking, water-soluble; meaning they can be absorbed through the skin). It’s one thing to take the risk of working, and die; it’s another to die slowly and painfully for an avoidable reason that you can foresee and take precautions about.

If you know ways to keep yourself safer, it’s likely in your own best interest to do it. Although I do know about taking on passive risk. I do understand that self-destructive quality that Freud referred to as thanatos. But there’s a reason to protect yourself as much as you can: and that is, to extend your life on this planet. If making art brings you joy, I would expect that you would want to spend as much time making art as you can, yes?

So don’t sell yourself (or the world) short.

My particular weakness on this point are cobalt-based pigments (particularly, in watercolors). Cobalt is another toxic heavy metal, like cadmium, but has a different range of symptomatology on exposure. The thing is that I haven’t found anything with the same colors, or the same working properties.

Probably the worst I ever got from this was contact dermatitis (itching) when I was trying to reduce my exposure to cobalt by wearing nitrile gloves, and in the process got Aureolin paint (PY40, Cobalt Yellow) all over the tube — and my hand, because the gloves smeared the paint everywhere, and I didn’t see it. Or feel it. When I finally took the gloves off to actually take the lid off the tube (instead of just stretch the gloves), I got the paint all over my hand — and had nowhere but my pot of rinse water to wash it off.

I think that was a lesson in not being overly careful, if doing so creates risks and problems that don’t otherwise exist.

At this point, the only major thing I have about the cobalt colors is that 1) I can absorb them transdermally, and 2) I don’t know how to wash out my brushes while never contacting the paint. Everyone says not to touch the brushes. They don’t give any advice on how to avoid doing so.

Though now that I think of it, that would be a good use of those nitrile gloves — provided, of course, that no water gets into them. Which would negate the reasoning for using them, in the first place.

I’m not sure what’s up with me, tonight. I am feeling better than I was last night, and basically, I’m feeling better than I have for the last week. I think I’ve turned a corner where it comes to my health. It is now, though, almost 1 AM where I’m at! (No wonder I’m having trouble thinking!)

I need to get stuff cleaned up. Particularly: books. And changing these sheets, doing laundry, and getting the dust out of here. I also need to re-read Chapter 2 of my textbook so I know what I’m looking for, when I work on my late assignment. I should be able to complete that, tomorrow, if I’m feeling anything like the way I felt tonight.

Once I get that assignment out of the way, maybe I should realistically look at doing something constructive with my watercolors…I see them every day, and they just get dusty because of my hesitation. (I deal with OCD; they tempt me, but I remember that I need to use caution in handling them…which leads to their not getting used.)

Something like recovering from an illness seems like it will make a person embrace life more strongly. Kind of like contemplating immortality, just to get smacked back into reality by a high fever…

I suppose I have the cold to thank for that…

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Judgment befalls the art supplies

So after dinner, tonight, I was able to separate out some art supplies I have and don’t want. Some of these things, I got from other people. There were also some things I reconsidered. The below is what I was going to give away but decided to keep, and why.

  • Chartpak markers

These markers are xylene-based and thus, toxic (and for me, anxiety-inducing). However…I tried coloring with them in a circular motion, as I had heard one needed to do with markers to avoid streaks. For some reason, they didn’t bleed severely, as I’ve known them to (it must have either been the paper, or their age). A bunch of these, I got for graphic design for my job.

On those grounds alone, I might keep them, just because I may need to make more signs.

However, what really got me is that they dried so slowly that the color…was really smooth. The strokes blended into each other. I decided to keep them because of this, and because I realized that I can put the work into the bathroom to dry, turn on the fan and leave the door open, to form a makeshift evacuation hood. It keeps the fumes from collecting and giving me a headache.

I’m also interested in what I can draw or paint on top of these.

  • Prismacolor black markers

The Prismacolors didn’t smell as noxious, today, as I remember them smelling. They’re alcohol markers, and when used like I used the Chartpaks, they cover the paper really well. I’m curious about what I can draw on top of them.

  • Copic Cool Grey markers (in multiple intensities)

I decided to keep these alcohol markers after I got out my marker paper and tested a couple of Copics like I had tested the Prismacolor and Chartpak markers. Copics are basically a serious investment (they cost upwards of $3 each for the cheapest models, on sale), and the major drawback to having the ones I have, is that they’re all the same color. But…on the off chance that I do start illustrating again, they’ll be nice to have around. Especially to do grisaille (a greyscale drawing) under other (Copic) colors.

  • Faber-Castell Polychromos Grey set

I was going to get rid of these colored pencils, until I found some test marks I had made on black paper. They…are interesting, on dark backgrounds. The upshot of using light colors on dark paper is the fact that you get to paint in the lights, instead of the shadows. Because I’ve been wanting to deal with awareness of negative space and balance between positive and negative space, my interest in these, I think, will help me grow.

  • Rembrandt grey soft pastels (multiple shades and tints)

Same thing, here. I figured that if I was going through my toxic stuff and keeping some of it, why not keep these? The big issue here is dust and nanoparticles. I did keep my ArtGuard barrier cream for my hands…and I’ve never even tried using it to keep the pigments out of my skin (though the greys I have, don’t stain). I can try using this, and see then if I still want to get rid of these guys. The darker greys, in particular, are beautiful on black paper, and the whites are intense, on same.

Rembrandts are also a brand I trust, although I have seen some Caution Label warnings about some of the “shade” colors (shades are pigments mixed with black). I’m thinking that the warnings are because the black is likely carbon (I’m reading Lamp Black) and may be contaminated with creosote. Generally when that’s even a remote possibility, the pastels get tagged with a “Cancer!” label. (That’s in addition to anything with Titanium White in it, being tagged with a Prop 65 label, when Titanium Dioxide is nontoxic and only a mechanical danger.)

That’s just a guess, though. On looking deeper, I’m finding that Lamp Black itself may be classified as a possible carcinogen, and that it’s weakly toxic.

If it’s just the black that’s a problem, though…I’ll try the barrier cream!

  • Derwent Watercolor Pencil set

These are just too nice to give away. Selling them is something else. I have a set of Supracolor aquarelle pencils I was going to replace them with, but I’ve found my Neocolors (by the same company, Caran d’Ache) not to age very well. If the Supracolors (made with the same pigments as the Neocolors?) are going to appear dull over time, and I’m giving away the Neocolors, I might want the Derwents as a backup.

  • Japanese Pentel brush pen

This thing is just neat. It’s a pen with an ink reservoir as a handle, and synthetic hairs at the tip. I realized what was wrong is just that the tip needed to be wet because the thing on the whole is drying out. But I still have a refill for this, and it makes my kanji look awesome, so I’m keeping it.

There are a bunch of things I’m getting rid of. I’m just not sure it’s worth it, to list them. However, there are a number of paints — some acrylic, some watercolor — which I don’t have a need for, anymore, or which are poor quality. I’m not sure if some of them can be saved (for example, by mixture with an acrylic medium), or if they’re just unrecoverable garbage.

I’m getting rid of a large pencil wallet which breaks pencils (but might be good for pens), a couple of sets of sketching pencils (I have enough graphite), two sets of Pentel oil pastels (one of which is unopened), a large collection of Neocolor II water-soluble oil pastels, some Neocolor I waterproof oil pastels, and some scholastic-level markers. Also, there are some colored pencil duplicates that have nothing in particular wrong with them.

I might also try and pawn off one of our two sets of Prang watercolor paints, here. And I have a number of watercolor palettes…which I probably am not going to use, all at the same time (though I might surprise myself).

The tough thing I found, tonight, is that the stuff I want to get rid of is the stuff that isn’t in my face. I’ve recently reorganized, and so I have art supplies which haven’t proven themselves yet to be inferior, in front of me.

Now, as for the question of which of these mediums I’m actually going to use…and in the near future, at that?

…that’s a tougher question.

Just trying to work out whatever’s in my mind, here:

I’m going to try to write, even though right now I’m feeling that I don’t have much to write about.  This, in turn, probably has happened because I haven’t been writing, daily.

Watercolor practice

I used some of the pre-mixed greens I had left on my palette, along with Sap Green, to “color in” (or add color to, or apply wash to) a couple of sketches I did of a Bok Choy Mue in one of my Maruman sketchpads…which I was amazed would take watercolor without warping too badly.  (It just says “Sketch Book” on the front, with no mention of branding other than the graphic design of the cover.)  You will want to tape the papers down, though, for best effect.

Although I did these last night, I didn’t take photos of them then, thinking that I would do it today.  However, I had to get up early for an appointment (woke, 7 AM) and ran out of steam at about 3:30 PM, sleeping through until dinnertime at about 7:30 PM.  So I still haven’t taken the photos…I’ll try and get one up of the Maruman sketch pad tomorrow.

I’m still kind of tired, but then:  I did take medications at about 9 PM (on time) because I have plans for tomorrow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I neglected self-care tonight and got too sedated to be functional in 15 minutes…just a warning.

Ah! But!

I also found that my Strathmore ArtAgain paper (a deep black paper which I used in one of my older posts) is heavy enough to withstand wet media!  I haven’t yet tried to use washes on it, but it’s very apparent that I can draw and write on it with gouache and a paintbrush, and it doesn’t warp with light use of water.  This is an idea I got from Sarah Sullivan, though my approach differs from hers.

Basically, for me, using light media on dark paper allows me to paint in the light, as versus darkening something and progressively preserving the lights.  And using gouache (opaque watercolor) allows me to use Titanium White (also known as Permanent White; contrasted, I am thinking, with Lithopone) without concern of breathing in Titanium Dioxide dust.

Breathing nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide dust has raised concerns about carcinogenicity, but I wouldn’t have known that without inquiring why so many pastels now had CA Prop 65 warnings, and CL (Caution Label) signifiers on them, even without heavy metal components.  It could be overkill by Prop 65 — but it has made me more aware of how I use pastels in my own work.

In a home environment, I don’t want to get the dust in the carpet and then vacuum up the dust, because all that may do is redistribute the dust, not contain it (I’m not sure if a HEPA filter is sufficient to contain nanoparticles, which are so small that they are transparent).

This means that if I use pastels — which I kind of don’t like to do anymore, given that it isn’t even good to get the pigments on one’s skin (and certain pigments do stain the skin and likely are absorbed transdermally [if one can’t get them off or out]), and I hate having to seal my drawings (which under normal circumstances can be very toxic — even using Aqua Net as a “non-toxic” cheap alternative in volume enough to seal a pastel painting smells noxious) — I would want to do it somewhere away from air intake vents and over a hard surface, so that I can mop up the loose dust.

To be clear:  the danger of cancer from Titanium Dioxide is not a toxic one, it is a mechanical one.  Loose airborne particles of Titanium Dioxide can get into your lungs and just never leave, and over time that can cause irritation (at least) and leave you at risk of lung problems…but just read your MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets) to be sure.

It is nice to be able to manipulate pastels with one’s fingers, but it…just seems hazardous, right now.  Especially as it is very…apparent when in a classroom with a lot of kids using pastels, and wearing a dust mask, how full the air is of pastel particles when one removes that dust mask (I can literally smell the pastel dust, though a particle mask will block the smell).  I started wearing a dust mask, in turn, because I kept sneezing and smelling pastel for hours after a painting session.

If I were going to work with the broad sides of sticks of color, I might want to try the Prismacolor Art Stix — they’re colored sticks made of the pigmented cores of Prismacolor colored pencils.  I haven’t used the Art Stix yet, but I would expect them to have a different working method than pastels (even Prismacolor NuPastels — a hard pastel which is relatively nontoxic).  And, no, Prismacolor isn’t paying me, here.

For the record, I am not sure if coming into contact with colored pencil colors is hazardous or not (though I think the pigments are bound in oil or wax, and thus not hazardous…but I don’t know what happens when that stuff is hit with Gamsol [“odorless mineral spirits”], just to let you know that this is an option and that I haven’t tried it, and don’t know its hazards.  Gamsol, used primarily in oil painting, is used to liquefy — at least oil-based — colored pencils in order to get them to look like aquarelles, or watercolor pencils.  Prismacolors are wax-based, though; whether this works with oil-based pencils only, or both, I don’t know.  Also, I’m fairly certain Gamsol is toxic, but it’s supposed to be better than regular “mineral spirits”).

I do know that there is nowhere near as much dust with colored pencil as with pastel or pastel pencil.  There is some dust associated with colored pencil use (especially when applying heavy strokes), but I haven’t found it to be more than a small nuisance.

But anyway — I tested out two white inks on ArtAgain paper the other night, and found that both J.Herbin (?  I don’t know this brand; I just had a bottle of their white ink) and Daler-Rowney Process (“Pro”) White absorbed into the paper and faded.  Holbein Permanent White gouache, on the other hand, stayed on the surface of the paper and actually brightened as it dried.  Other colors can work as tints with white, but may not show up on their own against black (for instance, Alizarin Crimson).  There’s an argument for getting the 40 ml tube of Permanent White…(no, I’m not doing it yet)…

I would post my test paper, but I got into practicing brush lettering in Japanese, and it probably looks horrible compared to native calligraphy and says things I didn’t intend it to, so I…think I’ll save that.  ^_^;;

That aside, I now know why one of my books tells me to write “mu” in a way different from that in which I learned it:  it’s just too complicated to work with a brush, otherwise.

I’m getting a bit frustrated with not moving forward more quickly with the Japanese; then again, it isn’t my top priority.  Work, school, and keeping myself balanced, are.

Speaking of which, I’ve got to decide whether to do homework tomorrow, or not…

Difficulty switching modes…

After a day or so of fully working for as long as I have been awake, it’s kind of difficult to shift back into a mental space where I have options, and time.

Today was mostly spent asleep; yesterday…I can’t remember much because I was that exhausted, and M wouldn’t let me fall asleep during the day.  Accordingly, I lay down at 7:30 last night and slept nearly all the way through to 11:30 this morning.  I guess I was TIRED.  Then I got up, ate, fell asleep at about 1:30 PM, and slept again until 5 PM.

To my credit, I did get work done on the Japanese language acquisition — although it’s frustrating to have to re-learn kana (Japanese syllabary) again.  I have most of the hiragana memorized to the point where it’s easily recognizable and retrieved, although I still may mis-write if I move too fast; katakana is another story.

When I was first taking Japanese-language classes, katakana were mostly ignored; we were told to learn this set of kana on our own.  Due to both this and the relative rarity of their use (when compared with hiragana and kanji), there are a number of katakana that I don’t easily remember.  Today, after having finished the hiragana handbook, I started in on katakana and realized that this was going to be much harder for me, than the former.

I’m thinking I’m experiencing a bit of caffeine withdrawal as well, because I’m really irritated at this, right now.  I’m also tired, again.

Also, though, I was able to sit through what I had to for this week in UX (User Experience) and finish reading the incredibly light reading assigned for this week (four pages).  Which is kind of irrational, when compared with all the work I had to do over the weekend, and the fact that I just had to read two books over two weeks.

But anyway.  I did have the option of working with watercolors, today, but I just really didn’t feel up to it.  One of the new colors (Cobalt Turquoise Light) I have, is one I intended to get about two weeks ago, but someone had put a regular Cobalt Turquoise in its slot (they aren’t the same color!), and I neglected to check the label before purchasing it.

Now I have the Light shade, but my toxin anxiety is acting up, and I’m hesitant to use it.  (It was likely stimulated by finding a beautiful yellow paint which was made with an antimony-containing component, on my last trip to the art store — this is W&N Naples Yellow Deep, PBr24.  On looking up antimony toxicity, I can see that I had a bigger shock than maybe this warranted, but still…)

The other new color is Phthalo Green:  Yellow Shade, which I have wanted to compare to Phthalo Green:  Blue Shade (I’m hoping to get warmer greens), but for some reason, I think I did not want to waste (or “waste”) watercolor paper on this.  Which isn’t a really good excuse, because I have enough watercolor paper, and have discovered that the paper I’m using isn’t really all that great, anyway.  And I can’t learn if I don’t practice.

So I have been practicing kanji and kana, and I think the reason for this is that it’s easier for me to switch back into a studying mode than an art mode, when I’ve been locked in “studying mode” for a while.  Art…is much less structured.

And speaking of structure, I have to work tomorrow, so I should see if I can fall asleep, again…

Pale imagery

O hi.  So…even though I did not succeed in using the Stonehenge paper last night, I did pull around 10 suminagashi prints which were decent.  Unfortunately, they are so subtle that I question whether it’s worth it to show them.  The one print which breaks this pattern is shown below:  first having adjusted the Levels (color balance) on Photoshop, and then with no color adjustments.

3395wl
suminagashi print utilizing Boku-Undo inks and Sumifactant.  This was the brightest of the set, though I have enhanced the color using Photoshop’s Levels option.

I’m including this one first because — at least you can see the patterning, here.  The rest of my prints are fairly pale.  And even this one is not quite as deep as the Levels adjustment makes it seem.  Here is the same image without the Levels adjustment, everything else the same:

3395w
Without the Levels adjustment.

I think it’s more subtle and tends to hold together better.  The actual color balance is somewhere in between these two images.  Seriously, though…?  This is the deepest colored swatch I got out of the batch.  The rest of them are very subtle, for example:

3402w
Beautiful in its pattern, but very very pale.

This one actually looks like I was making stationery for a really nice hand-inked letter or drawing!  Something where what was on top was supposed to take center stage.

I feel like trying this again — I don’t see how I can do much worse than last time — it’s just that I have something of a hesitance to work with the materials (as regards exposure to chemicals).  I did look up my initial query and the main ingredient in the Sumifactant which I was unfamiliar with:  I don’t think I have much of anything to worry about.  On the other hand, this is messy!

Or not messy, so much, but wet.

I’m thinking of trying the yellow and orange also this time, too.  It might contrast well with a violet print.

Of course, though, then I also have to cut papers down…again…*sigh*…but then I get to use a sharp thing!  😉  (I dunno why I like this, except that it demands high concentration of the type I’m used to from martial arts.  The same applies to using torches for hot metalwork.  But it does not apply to using toxic paints.  I don’t know why…)

So I find myself with a free half-hour.

Although it is very apparent to me that my Cataloging class is discouraging me from the career path I laid out for myself (though this is largely not my fault), it still looks like more of a match than Digital Services.  It may be as well that Information Organization is a better name for it, than calling it “Cataloging;” the latter puts too much emphasis on whether I do well in this class.  And hey:  if I get a “D” on the first test, I have four others to get “A”s on.

At this point I do realize that maybe Library work (as versus Information Science)…isn’t so bad.  My interests and values do run along this line, and now that I am getting a deeper taste of what Information Services actually entails, it doesn’t put me off as much.  I consider myself very much a Humanities person, which would seem to be something without much value, outside of this enclave.

What I can see is that there is a fairly large problem historically in the American Library field around validation and inclusion of different races and cultures (very apparent when looking at the development of the field)…but I’m a person who can help tackle that.  In addition, in my area the librarians and library staff are, as I’ve said before, pretty chill.  And everybody dislikes dealing with difficult people (even Librarians have to turn to each other for support), not just me.

I did find a quotation a while back…which I’ve forgotten, but the gist of it was that the vast majority of jobs in the U.S. are presently service jobs.  Given that, what percentage of the population actually wants to work a service job?  And what is the alternative?  Manufacturing?  Agriculture?  (Okay, well, agriculture could be interesting, too…)  I think those were the two categories other than service.  Important, yes, but Information Services are also important…in a country run by the people wherein the people are kept ignorant, it becomes far too easy for the people to make decisions that impact themselves and others negatively.

Alright, I have to get back to work, but I wanted to note this.  Maybe when I get home I can work on my Dewey reading and homework…

“Mad Skillz”?

Well, hopefully soon I’ll be able to get out and replace the two paints which I need to (Raw Umber and Cadmium Red Medium Hue, now — the neck screwed off of the tube in the latter today, too), and maybe pick up an Ivory Black.  Due to multiple prior commitments (and the fact that the cheaper art stores are farther away), I wasn’t able to do it, today.

I am considering dropping one of the Library School courses in Fall to give myself more time to go through the work for my Vocational program, and to do art — and to restart my Communication group.  Taking only six units in Fall would also mean my tuition would be entirely covered by my grant, meaning the only expenses I would have would be for computer hardware and my books.  This would mean that I wouldn’t be out of much if I decided it wasn’t for me.

My technical course is really the make-or-break of all this.  If I do well and I like it, I should be able to move forward with the Technical Services track.  If I don’t do well and/or don’t like it…I’ve really got to question whether Library School is my best option.  Social skills have been my weakest area…and without that, my main focus would be Cataloging (which is outsourced in my system) or Management (which doesn’t seem compatible with a lack of good social skills).

I could try for the Special Librarianship track, but if I’m serious about it, that might take more than three years (and this is one of the tracks of which my technical course might predict the outcome).  Or:  I’d need to take 12 units for a couple of semesters.  Doable, if I don’t have to worry about work…but it’s relatively vital to remain employed in LIS while doing a degree in LIS.

Of course, the Vocational program should be able to help me out with making decisions around this.  Right now, Editing, Graphic Design, and Web Design are all looking alluring — due to the paperwork I’ve been filling out which has started me thinking about what I’ve liked to do best in my (meager) past employment.  One of those things was reworking the layout and editing of a course reader:  I felt confident at my verbal editing skills, and happy when the layout turned out the way I wanted it to.

(Of course, though, I was using MS Word, which was fairly buggy when it came to formatting images, text boxes, columns, etc.  The experience did help, though, when putting together a List of Works for my final Artist Talk in Creative Process.  It’s likely that if I had used a page-layout program like Quark or InDesign for the reader, the desired results would have been easier to achieve.)

It was work, as regarded what I was doing and the fact that readability was a major goal; I left the Graphic Design track because I was told that I “could do more” than be a Graphic Designer.  I didn’t know what that meant, and I kind of still don’t; but the person who told me this doesn’t seem to be teaching at that location, anymore.  That advice (and a rather stupid run-in with a collectively paranoid Graphic Arts e-group) was the reason I got the Art AA first, though, instead of diving fully into Multimedia Arts or completing the Graphic Design series.

The major drawback to working in Graphic Design is that I would need an apprenticeship, plus more schooling (though relatively cheap schooling — unless I went for an MFA).  The minor drawback is occupational exposure to toxins (not so minor if you ask the teachers I’ve had who are cancer survivors), and the fact that I may need to pay for health insurance on my own.  Graphic Design is also not a particularly lucrative field, so far as I know.

There is something of an art community in Oakland…I remember going on field trips to a few design studios, but that must have been almost a decade ago.  There are also a number of galleries (enough to have regular Art Walks and Open Studios)…and, of course, the Museum.

Of course, Oakland isn’t the safest place to live, but I’ll save discussion on that for another day.  Granted that if it’s my life mission to be creative, losing my life in pursuit of that mission is just one of those things that could happen.  If my drive is strong enough to risk cancer, it’s probably strong enough to brave Downtown to see the galleries, or to live in an urban area (though I seriously don’t want to do the latter).

It’s also notable that there is a ceramics supply outlet and a jewelry supply outlet on this side of the water, though neither are close to me.  It’s possible that the East Bay has more of a thriving Arts community than I’m used to thinking about us having.

I should also note that I’ve identified my writing skills and art skills as something which counterbalances my lack of social skills.  It was nice to hear people say I had “mad skillz” tonight.  🙂

I’m getting tired at this point; I need to sign off…