Illustration Friday is my "I should do this. But I never do. Instead I will stay on the newsletter and think about doing it...every week". But this weeks topic is LOVE. And I had this oldie in my files.
I've been over whelmed with the support for my Protest Sign Ideas for Women's March designs these last few days. It's been nutty! Today the blog post for Protest Sign Ideas had 1,000 visitors. What I'm most encouraged by though is that over a thousand people care about our future as a country and want their voices heard this coming Saturday . A friend suggested one more poster and it was too good not to share. The new poster has been added to the others and can be downloaded here. I'll be marching in Providence this Saturday! Where will you be? Go out there and be heard!
*and again all the usual jazz- All images belong E.Campanella Studios and are to be used for personal use only. If you do share them ( and I hope you will ) please just credit me or tag me on instagram @ecampanellastudios . If you do end up marching with my sign, I would love love love to see it!
Protest Sign Ideas for the Women's March have been on my mind this week. Like a lot people, these last few months have left me feeling powerless and angry. But I've also used this time to reevaluate what I can do, how to move forward and use this time as a call to action in my life. I spent yesterday brainstorming possible Protest Sign Ideas for the Women's March this coming Saturday. I'm not able to go to DC but I'm excited to participate in my local RI one. I actually had a lot of fun! Something about the little one off projects can be the ones where great ideas just pour out of you. Here's are the Protest Sign Ideas for the Women's March I came up with. I also am including this link to all of the images shown here for your own use*. Please consider going to your local march this coming Saturday. There's a lot of scary change coming to this country and I truly believe that all of our voices matter. Go out and make yours heard.
*all the usual jazz- All images belong E.Campanella Studios and are to be used for personal use only. If you do share them ( and I hope you will ) please just credit me or tag me on instagram @ecampanellastudios . If you do end up marching with my sign, I would love love love to see it!
One of my favorite christmas traditions is one I've made myself. 4 years ago I randomly clicked on food blog, Food 52, and noticed that they were doing a christmas food swap. I signed up for it with out giving it too much thought. A few weeks later I received in the mail a treasure trove of home made pickles, vinegars cookies, sauces. It was crazy. My poor person definitely got the short end of the stick that year. I think I sent some home made chutney I was crossing my fingers didn't contain botulism (I had just taken an intro to canning class). This year swap haul came all the way from Hawaii which delighted me in such a way you would think air travel had just been invented. Thank you food52 user elbe!
What's better then one corgi? 25 corgis in 25 days. Also check then out on my instagram @ecampanellastudios !
We've all been there. You meet a new kick-#ss person at a large event, exchange cards, and tell each other you'll talk soon. Chances are that business card will just end up in a drawer with the rest of your lost connections. When you go to an event like the Providence Lady Project Summit, almost everyone is someone you want to keep in touch with. That's why myself, Jenny Faw of Dibzy and Corrine Hurshe of Corinne Hursh Events started brainstorming a fun way to follow up with the great women we met at the summit. Last wednesday we hosted cocktail party at Jenny's beautiful loft space in Providence. Our party planning was made even easier by using fellow lady project member and seminar leader Maureen Petrosky's book, "The Cocktail Club" . Each chapter of Maureen's book is devoted to a different liquor, and a selection of cocktail and appetizer pairings based on the liquor. "The Cocktail Club" is basically a blue print for a flawless party. The weather is finally warming up in New England so of course the liquor we picked was tequila! It was a blast. Shots MAY have been done...which would explain the photo shoot that happened in the bath tub later that night. I was so thrilled at how Jenny, Corinne and myself skills complimented each others, creating the most stress free party I've ever thrown. Did I mention that one of the new connections Jenny and I made at the summit was Corinne? We'd to love make this party the first in a series that promotes other lady's endeavors and products. We're looking forward to inviting more of our new connections to the next event!
*special thanks to Daniel Imondi for event photography
The Lady Project is non profit organization that "inspires, connects, and showcases the talent of women" as their website puts it. As a member, I can enthusiastically say that it does just that. Since opening it's first chapter in Providence, it's quickly spreading to many other US cities. Really, I'm just a silly loud fan of this group. The yearly summit is coming up, a day of learning and meeting other cool "ladies". This is my blog entry and illustration that was recently featured on The Lady Project blog about my past summit experience.
Luck + Preparation = Opportunity.
Luck for me in this case happens to be the Lady Project. When I attended the 2014 summit, I had just moved back to Providence and was a fairly recent member. A friend had introduced me to Lady Project and after attending the birthday bash, I was sold.
The summit was a humongous success for me. I met Monica Lee when I may have, kind of, sort of, snuck into her full class. Shhh, don’t tell Sierra. I was, and am still, a huge fan of her Smart Creative Women podcast. Since then, we’ve become friends. I took her great online style course, and have been featured on her blog.
Summit win 1.
I paid off 3 THOUSAND DOLLARS of debt with money I didn’t know that I had until I attended Maureen Kerrigan’s “how to take charge of your financial future” seminar. In case you were in that class with me, I was the one oversharing and generally flipping out over her own financial cluelessness. After class, Maureen gave me her card, told me to email her and we would figure things out together. At our meeting a few weeks later, she showed me that I had money in an IRA from my deceased mother that I could use to help pay off some of my debt.
Summit (HUGE) win 2.
My third summit win is “luck + preparation = opportunity” exemplified. As an illustrator, I am constantly producing new work that I am sending out there into the world. But with most artistic professions, sometimes the most I get is 30 likes from my friends on Facebook, a nice phone call from my grandmother, and that’s that. Then I heard Rebekah Epstein, founder of fifteen media, speak of this amazing thing called the “press release.” I knew what a press release was; it just never occurred to me that it could help my illustration career. And so when one of my custom bridal illustrations part of The Rhode Show’s feature on the Lady Projects summer guide, I sent out a press release to all the RI media outlets in RI and… nothing. But 8 months later, the Providence Journal Bulletin, who was one of the organization who received my press release, contacted me. They wanted to write a feature on my bridal illustrations. I was interviewed, had my photo taken, and was looking forward a few inches devoted to me at the back of the lifestyle section.
When a relative calls you at 7am on sunday morning it’s either a very good thing or a very bad thing. As I mumbled into the phone “Ok, who died?” My aunt screamed back “OH MY GOD! Have you seen the paper?!”. My article was not two inches in the back of the lifestyle section, it was two humongous pages with my face plastered on the cover. That article has resulted in new customers and new work opportunities. Oh, and I got recognized at the gas station.
I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities this year’s summit brings. Because not everyone can get recognized at a Shell station. But being a Lady Project member helps.
If you had told me a year ago that I would have moved back to childhood home in suburban RI, I would tell you to please leave my sight because I don't talk to crazy people. There are things I aspired to in life and living out a Kristen Wiig movie where she has a break down and moves home to live with a zany parent, was not one of them.
According to me, I was living the dream. I labored through 8 years of the NYC fashion industry trenches designing art for kids clothing to get the the ultimate NYC goal, an apartment with out room mates! It was in tree lined Park Slope, made fun of for ( justly) over priced boutique grocery stores, 1,000 dollar designer strollers and babies in bars. And I LOVED it.
Every grocery store that I had to walk 15 blocks to get to.
Every day-care that only taught in French.
The NPR tote bags.
These were my people! Bring on the 10 dollar jar of artisanal pickles! I was thrilled to finally be there…except I really wasn't.
From 2008 on, I was downsized repeatedly by struggling companies. Thanks economy. The stories I have about jobs are worse then yours. I promise you. Unless you went to Afghanistan, or prison, in that case, you win.
This would've been the paragraph where I told you about my work place woes in DETAIL, but I'm over it… really… I am…stop looking at me like that. Anyways, I worked hard, kept my head down, telling myself that someday THE job would come along. And then it did. You know that feeling when you meet someone and you are so head over heals for him automatically, you're worried that this is too good to be true? That was me with this job. The people were creative, engaging, and most importantly, sane. My bosses were collaborative, interested in my opinion and protective of their employees. Free lunches. After work sports teams. I learned how to be a better designer at this job. I was pushed. I grew. "That's it", I thought." I 'm going to be here for years". Not so much. It ended 5 months later when the owner, sold it to a competing opposite coast company, a company that did not need two of every position.
I would like to bore you with the details of the following year, but honestly, there's only so much doom and gloom you can put in one blog post. I was fighting with myself all day, every day to keep going and I was moving around fast enough that I could ignore the brewing storm in my chest. My birthday in May was really the turning point. At my party I looked around, at my friends (who I love and have supported me), my boyfriend at the time who was one of those genuinely good souls, my perfect Park Slope apartment, and my at home studio with a desk full of work. A year ago, in a moment of cheesiness, I had written down all things I wanted in my life. Everything on that list now surrounded me. I assumed that when I had the things on the piece of torn out note paper, I would be ecstatic. What's more depressing then realizing you're not happy with the life you wanted? Realizing it at your birthday party, that's what.
Some advertising genius thought that the way to make anti depressant meds less threatening to the masses was to personify depression a cute BUT sad cartoon of a rain cloud. Thanks to some stellar genetics in my family, an "artistic temperament" as my mother put it, and some hard life breaks, me and that cloud had circled around each other in the past. But that next morning, sad cloud might as well have taken up residence in my apartment. I ushered my boyfriend out by 8am claiming the worst hang over ever and sat on that couch for the next two days. Weeks later, I ended things with him. I was so upside down I was barely seeing straight. I didn't know if I was right thing to do but I knew I couldn't keep track of myself, never mind a relationship. And maybe I knew it was going to get worse.
I was still freelancing but it had been two months since my last big project. I was worried. And then it came to me. If I worked as hard as I possibly could, I would succeed! How could I not? I had always told myself that I could do more when it came to my work, that I "wasn't dedicated enough", that I "was lazy". I committed to working in a way that I never had before. In an unrealistic crazy, unhealthy way. At my desk from 8am to 11pm at night. 15 minute meal breaks. Going out rarely to see friends, and maybe to the gym if I needed a glimpse of human interaction. In July I had my first panic attack. It was most likely a two day panic attack. If you're sitting at your desk trying to talk yourself out loud into not breaking down, that's pretty high on the "Dude, get some help" scale. But, in the first incident of a series that I believe saved my life, the physical manifestation of the panic attack just happened to go down in a doctors office. Pure divine intervention. My behavior was completely out of character by that point. I was hopeless. I was numb, my voice was flat and emotionless. I had no interest in food.
I realized a truth about myself. That as an artist, an illustrator, I thought what I did, was who I was. That is how I defined myself. That was how I always defined myself. From childhood on. If something went wrong, I had my art. If wasn't happy with my friendship or relationships, I had my art. And if I couldn't succeed at that, at the only thing I used to define who I was…well, you can guess the rest.
I'd like to say that was my a-ha moment but I got a lot worse before I even began to slightly get better. Because when it rains it pours…and then it hails…and then you get hit by lightening. I found a job, it was awful. I randomly got diagnosed with a pituitary tumor, bring on months of tests. I was frantic. I'm a worker by nature and my mind was racing to find a solution to a situation I could not solve. There comes a point in an illness where you are not going to be able to help yourself, only an objective, trained voice will. It wasn't until I saw the shock in my therapists eyes that I finally realized how bad things were. My therapist, who I began going to when my mom passed away, but had barley seen that summer due to cost, took me on gratis. The doctor who I had the panic attack in front of, did so also. It is a kindness I cannot ever begin to thank them for. I started to process of getting better and that meant making some annoyingly hard decisions.
I did not want to be defined purely by what I did. It's a dangerous thing. I wanted to have a more faceted balanced life that gave myself room to become more then just a cog in some big design wheel, more then just defining myself in one way. My sister and brother in law encouraged me to move out of Brooklyn, but I vehemently said no. It wasn't until I heard myself say to them " But I can't give up my apartment! It's the only good thing I have in NY right now!". "Ok, that DID NOT sound good out loud", I thought. Maybe staying for a piece of rented real estate wasn't a good choice long term.
But where would I go? I was too tired to figure that out. I was too tired to even think about getting another job. I truly knew that I needed some rest when I realized that I was, god help me, ok with moving in with my dad for a bit.
I didn't know how I was going to figure out my next step but I knew if I was going to I needed to start making some deliberate yet very kind to myself, steps to do so. In the coming entries ( she says optimistically) , I'm going jot off the steps that have helped me the most. Particularly, how I'm trying to find my own artistic voice and my own best life.
Cue the Kristen Wiig movie.