Keeping Up With Teejay!

Design, Website Development, Marketing, Maintenance & Consulting - Since 1994

Return to Your Roots in 2018

Thursday, January 04, 2018
Keeping Up with IAMTEEJAY

What a wild and crazy year it has been! Will 2018 be any different, the same, for better or worse? Regardless of what this year may have in store for us, I am taking the opportunity to return to my roots and make 2018 more than just a "new" year. 

Like the state of my garden on these cold winter days, so is the state of my business after a truly busy and hectic year. In the garden, all my plants appear either to be dead, dying, or in terrible shape. From experience, I know that Spring is just around the corner and that life will return in full bloom. I feel that same way about my business and what lies ahead for it in 2018.

For now, it is all about minding the roots.

After producing and publishing more work this year than in any other of my 24-year career, I am starting to see the frays in the fabric of my existence in this profession. Seams are starting to break apart, colors are starting to fade, and the methods and processes that I apply to my craft are starting to produce results that reveal my age. I have to work incredibly hard to keep up with changing technologies in design, application and process so that I may compete to provide my clients with all that they need to market themselves effectively.

Fresh, creative, and professional blood, packed with a degrees, pour into the market daily. They bring with them fantastic, invigorating, and fresh talent, using the most current and hottest new applications, processes and programming skills available. At today's current pace of technological advancements and the volume of incoming, young graphic designers, web developers and marketeers, I find myself buried with the burden to keep up with them in order to stay viable and competitive. 

I've learned that it is not about keeping up with the Joneses, but rather that it's better to be a Jones.

But how does one do that? Simple – return to your roots.

What you were before, you can be again. You may not attain same shape, form or results when you prosper and bloom again, but you will be with fresh ideas and your "garden" will be alive again for many, including yourself to enjoy. 

Returning to your roots is to be reborn. Like a child, you approach life with a sense of wonderment and look at everything as if you are seeing, hearing and experiencing it for the first time. Then, and only then, may your world become an enormous, unfathomable playground again. You may have to abandon some traditional habits, patterns, processes, and yes, stubbornness.  Take this new world, and immerse yourself into these new environments, processes, and methods through education, exploration, research, and becoming a part of a new network and community of colleagues, peers and leaders. 

You are reborn to educate not re-educate yourself. You don't want to repeat what you had before. Pretend like you have never been there and done that before. Abandon your sense of privilege and deserving-respect for all the years of hard work you have put-in, as it will only prevent you from gaining complete access to this brave new world. Do not fear loss. Trust in yourself, despite disposing your past,  the core of your abilities, uniqueness, and experience will be to your advantage and help your blossom in what is to come in your new garden of 2018.

Who am I? Where are my roots?

I started out as a graphic designer designing band show posters, t-shirts, album covers, and anything else that a band could utilize in its arsenal of collateral to market itself to their fans and record labels. It was all about being unique, cutting-edge, and as creative as the rock and roll scene itself. It was fun.

Piecemeal Show Flyer Park City

Piecemeal – Showbill, Park City, Utah 1995.

By 1996, I had put aside my pencil tray, tape, film, rulers and tack, and started to design everything using the computer. I believe that was the beginning of my creative decline. My architectural-style handwriting disappeared and I seldom painted, drew or crafted my art. It became less and less fun.

In theory I still like what I do today. I enjoy addressing each project's unique set of design, development and marketing challenges on a daily basis. However my ability to cross over from design into development and practical application has drained my creative spirit. Instead of playing music, drinking wine and having creatives doing their thing in my apartment on a daily basis, it has turned into lonely, quiet nights staring at the lines and lines of dual-tone code on a brightly lit, flat screen. The creative juices are draining. It is not just slowly killing me, but also my business which was founded on the principal of being a creative enterprise. It has become just practical and no fun.  

My Rock and Roll Artist Lifestyle Roots!

With this said, I am returning to my roots this year. I want to give birth to a new and exciting creative environment for me to thrive in. I want to experiment, dream, learn, and lose any burdensome attitude that I carry so that I may able to explore this brave, new world.

For kicks, here is the VERY FIRST piece I have ever designed. It was for my late-brother, Glen Alexander's band, Paninari in 1988. The artwork was applied to black and white t-shirts and sold to the fans of the band. He had a fascination for train stations, the Soviet factor, and New Order. Hence the name, Paninari.

Paninari Band T-Shirt Design

Paninari – Apparel Design, 1988

The lettering was copied from a font book, with letters cut out and pasted to a white sheet layout to create the name, and copied again on to film. This was done twice, with the lower piece flipped and turned upside down. The photograph, taken by Glen Alexander during his trip to Germany, I photocopied at high-contrast using red-ink on to another transparency. The yellow rectangle was created with colored paper from the craft store, which I then placed the transparencies, both versions of the name and photo, onto. Then I photographed the artwork and sent the negatives to the t-shirt company, specifying each color to be used and providing a photographic image as a reference.

I proudly still own several shirts, including one in mint condition.

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