“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.- Gandhi
New Year’s Day. It’s a good time for stock-taking, for self-appraisal. With each change one makes in oneself, one see more changes yet to be made. of PITT artists’ pens.
I am still trying to figure out how exactly this will work but I was thinking how cool it would be
Not to self-flagellate but in the spirit of creative expansion. To be alive is to grow and adapt and to spend one’s days awake and aware.
In 2005, I took on several new creative challenges.
We completed The Creative License, my largest design, illustration and writing project. We launched the new advertising campaign for Chase: a dozen or more commercials and a hundred or so ads. This website was relaunched, thanks to my friends Tricia and Jacob. I made a lot of new friends and connections through the Everyday Matters group and developed the social aspects of my art making. And I discovered Rome, deeply immersing myself in a city and its art I’d never known well before.
At home, Patti and I got to spend more and better time together, deepening our love as it enters its twentieth year. My relationship with Jack changed a lot this year too and I am prouder than ever of him as he took on the challenges of entering a new school and a new community.
I’m pretty happy with much of what happened this year. But I have a new and different plan for 2006.
While it has been really rewarding letting drawing and journaling transform my life, I feel a deeper and stronger need to do more. I don’t just want to sell books and checking accounts. I want to promote awareness. In the coming year, I want to see how to use art to make a difference for others. Not just to unleash their own creativity but to create a new awareness of the world and to forge a community that can make it a better place. I want to try to help people rediscover their love of drawing and then bring them together to help others. To raise awareness, to raise funds, to help make the world a more beautiful place. I began drawing because of a trauma. When Patti had her accident, drawing helped me to gain a fresh perspective, the strength and vision to persevere and also to improve. I have not done enough to spread that power to others. I think that drawing and journaling could help people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities, with life threatening illnesses, with addiction and depression. I would like to talk to health care professionals to see how I can share what I have experienced. I know that a lot of people in the Everyday Matters community have used their art to cope with physical limitations, with mental and spiritual challenges, and I would like to find a way to share those experiences and use them to help mobilize something. I would also like to reach out to people who help others to learn — librarians and teachers — and see how we can encourage creativity, drawing and journaling among their students too, to help develop what could be a life long creative habit. I would also like to use communal drawing experiences like Sketchcrawls in a new way. As we raise awareness by drawing together, I would like to focus the community to help others. I think that group drawing can be a valuable fund raising tool to help people in need. Just as walkathons and marathons raise money through individual pledges, I think we can use drawing as a way to motivate people to give. For now, Patti and I have been calling it “Drawn Together” (though I think there’s a cartoon show by that name).
We are going to put together a drawing outing at the Rubin Museum of Art, the only museum devoted to Himalayan Art. On Friday evening, February 3rd, any one who wants to can join us and draw some of the amazing treasures there. We’ll get to socialize, share our journals and our love of drawing. But this time we will have a cause too.
As I’m sure you know, the people of Northern Pakistan and Kashmir, people of the Himalayan region, have been devastated by the recent earthquake and now with the onset of winter are in terrible peril. We can make a difference by raising money to buy them blankets. A dollar will buy a blanket that could provide much-needed comfort and protection. Five dollars will provide all a family needs to weather the bitter winter. Five bucks. The price of a couple if people could arrange sponsors who would pledge to give say, a dollar for each drawing their sponsored draw-er did on the sketchcrawl. Do ten drawings and ten people get blankets. I think I may also be able to get the museum to pledge our admission prices to the fund too.
At the end of the day, we will have a wonderful experience: we’ll see great art, we’ll make our own art, we’ll hang out with other like-minded people, and we’ll help folks in real need. Maybe it would be possible to set up a parallel effort in other cities. The LA County Museum of Art has a South Asian art collection. So does the Art Institute of Chicago. Or maybe people could just gather at an Indian restaurant and share lunch and draw. Or order in some curry and sit at home and draw from photos from a digital collection like this one.
I am not by nature a particularly generous or philanthropic person. I am just a New York ad guy, let’s face it. But somehow, after Katrina and Iraq and Pakistan and Karl Rove and all that has happened this past year, I am feeling this need to do something bigger than my little selfish life well up inside me. I expect that I won’t be particularly good at it at first and that my ego and my usual tendencies will muddy the waters, but it feels like a resolution I can stick with longer than a low carb diet or a gym regime or a pledge to stop biting my nails. We’ll see.