That Time I Failed in Front of Everyone I Knew…

That Time I Failed in Front of Everyone I Knew…

Trapped and Miserable

A funny thing about our apartment in Argentina – you had to have a separate key to get into the building and another to enter the apartment door (both of which locked automatically), but you also had to use a third key to get *out* of the building.  

Picture me on June 6th, 2012. My Kickstarter campaign was set to end that evening and not end well. Charlie, my ever supportive partner and some-times therapist, had his luthiery class, so he wasn’t home. He offered to stay, but I said I could suffer the defeat alone. 

By alone, I realized, I didn’t mean *totally* alone. I decided that I wanted to have some tall company – by that I mean a **Quilmes Stout. This flavor of decision always comes with a ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ debate. Classic angel and devil shoulder sitting and all that. Devil won and won so hard I rushed out the door before the angel had time to talk sense. Rushed out with out my wallet I realized while I was in the hallway. Rushed out..with out my keys. 

Since Buenos Aires is in the southern-hemi, it’s cold in June. Especially cold if you’re wimpy about cold and you’re trapped in a hallway, no way to get in to your apartment and no way to get out of the building to a coffee shop. 

This is the part where I sat and ugly cried in the stairwell. It was the point where my miserable surroundings matched my miserable mood. It also gave me a solid stretch of time to think about what went wrong with my Kickstarter campaign. The campaign that failed in front of everyone I knew.

Reasons for A Failed Kickstarter Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. I wasn’t Molly Crabapple. (aka – The “Hey if they can do it, so can I!” fallacy. )
    • At the start of this whole Kickstarter business for me was brilliant Molly Crabapple. Her Kickstarter for “Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell” was the blueprint for my own. She locked herself in a hotel room for 5 days, covering the walls with paper, and then covering the paper with art. Her goal was $4500. She got $25,805! 
    • The concept was the same, but the people were decidedly NOT. I’m very, very pleased to be Skye Lucking, make no mistake, but I am no Molly Crabapple! Ms. Crabapple is/was a full-time artist working in the Lower East Side, Manhattan, NY. She’d started an art school called Mr. Sketchy’s. She had several successful art shows…well, you get the idea. In researching this blog, I see she’s grown an even more impressive portfolio. Go Molly Crabapple! Always an inspiration. 
    • Bottom line – Kickstarter success is very much about the network you already have. Don’t mistake the fact that you have a similar concept as another person to mean you have a similar circumstance or chance for success. 
  2. Math (aka – I didn’t know my numbers.)
    • It’s not that I’m bad at math. I’m fine at math. I’m no Dr. Frances Allen but I’m fine. It’s more that I can’t seem to be bothered with figuring out the numbers until I realize that not figuring out the numbers is a HUGE bother. 
    • I wasn’t sure how much it would be to ship out some of my prizes from Buenos Aires, Argentina to my backers. I wasn’t sure exactly how much the materials would cost. I wasn’t sure if I’d lose a great deal of money or walk away with a nice chunk of change. I didn’t know and couldn’t be bothered. So – I just padded the amount I was asking for. By…um..a kind of ridiculous amount: $7,654. 
    • Why $7,654? That’s a great question! Answer? Red wine and hubris. Also, not knowing my numbers. 
  3. “What to do tonight? I know! I’ll cruise around a crowdfunding site to find strangers whose projects I can back!” – Said no one ever.  (aka – I didn’t realize how reliant success was on friends, family, and acquaintances.)
    • At the end of the day – my Kickstarter was just a way for me to have an amazing good time just before leaving the movable fiesta that was Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    • In my mind I was giving people this wonderful opportunity to be part of an event. I imagined this fun intense whirlywind of art and collaboration – finished off with the shipping out of my work that everyone was eager to get. 
    • It wasn’t to start a business. It wasn’t going for a good cause. It was just to fund my great arty adventure. Those who backed it probably weren’t excited to get that piece of art. They were excited to show me support and love. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding if you really want to go down the crowdfunding road. 
  4. A super long, super cutesy, super cringe-worthy video. (aka – I didn’t keep my video short and sweet.)
    • That video, tho. I’m going to be honest. This right here is why I’ve never written about my failed Kickstarter campaign.  I realize now, 5 years hence, that I was trying to woo some stranger into giving me money for my art. I was trying to be charming. I was trying to be cute and it is very, very obvious. Cloying even. For FIVE minutes. Frankly, it is embarrassing. However, we struggle through vulnerability to come out stronger on the other side. So, here it is. Feel free not to watch it all. 
  5. Total Preparation Time Was Not Enough (aka: I didn’t research my market, potential media options, how it would ‘work’ if I did get backing…) 
    • As I said, I didn’t really do the math. However, there was more to it than that. For example, I had a solid group of arty friends in Buenos Aires who wanted to support the campaign…and they were not able to. Kickstarter used Amazon Web Services (or something like that) which was completely unavailable for use by people in all of Argentina. So, that was an awkward setback. I had more than a few people say that they tried to back the campaign – and they just couldn’t. Doh!
    • I was begging to get interviews and press during the campaign – instead of researching the best podcasts or ezines or what have you to be in well before. Don’t do this. It’s kind of a pathetic exercise. 

Reasons Why I’m So Glad My Kickstarter Failed

In the end – it was likely a blessing that my Kickstarter Campaign failed. I’m not sure how it’d have all gone down had I actually gotten that cash and needed to fill 27 feet of canvas, cut it up, and organized shipping for all of the pieces. Also, it would have been hella stressful given we were preparing a big international move back to the US. 

More than that – I was so heartened by those that were supportive of me. Also, I made note of those folks for whom I shouldn’t look for support. The concept that I really need to know those numbers was reinforced (constantly so). The understanding of who I do and do not want to portray myself as was made clearer. This is all very useful information. 

It’s good to fail. I know that isn’t what our ‘winning’ societal message is these days, but winning takes some failing beforehand, no matter how good you are. You fail when you get a rejection letter from a publisher. You fail when you hear nothing back from a retail shop you’ve sent your catalog to. You fail when a painting doesn’t quite work. Does this mean you stop? No. You change your approach. You learn from your mistakes. You fail some more – until – you don’t. 

There is a large part of this story left unwritten – and that’s a renewed gratitude to those that helped me in this process – Charlie, Beatrice, Haje, Vivi, and all of those that backed it. Thank you for believing in me back then. Thank you for believing in me now. 

**Bonus Surreal Video: Quilmes Stout Commercial

Why Representative Ilhan Omar is Important (Videos)

Why Representative Ilhan Omar is Important (Videos)

Representative Ilhan Omar in Minnesota House 

Portrait of Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar by Skye Lucking.

Portrait of Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar by Skye Lucking.

It was tough times between November and January in terms of political feeling. I was (and still am) energized and ready to take action when and where I could. If art was associated with that action – all the better. One of the opportunities I had was to donate artwork to the “Nasty Women – Phoenix Unite” Art Show. My idea was to look for the positive and I identified 3 Notable Women that gave me hope and inspired my action.  You can read more about that here. 

One of those notable women was Ilan Omar. 

Ilhan Omar is the newly elected, Minnesota House Representative for District 60B. She is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level. After the start of the Somali civil war in 1991, she and her family left the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

I was so pleased to see that Representative Omar was a guest on The Daily Show last night. She’s one of those people you want everyone to know about. A child refugee. A Somali-American, Muslim woman. She’s strong. She’s eloquent. She’s American through and through. She’s part of a government that is increasingly hostile to those people exactly like her. She’s crushing it. 

Representative Ilhan Omar on The Daily Show (Video)

 

Time-Lapse Video of Representative Ilhan Omar Portrait

Peace comes by way of inviting and understanding those that are different from you, not blocking and hating them. This is why Ilhan Omar is important. She shows us that there is no one-type of American and that’s what makes America great. 

Pillow Parade: Blues Prismagic #14

Pillow Parade: Blues Prismagic #14

This pillow has a story.

What I love about creating art is that each art piece and art product encapsulates a story. There was a certain timeplace and personspace that occured during the moment of its first creation and then again in its iterations. A perfect example is this pillow: Blues Prismagic #14. 

The positive mantra is also translated for the Tagalog, Spanish, and Dine (Navajo) versions.

First: A Drawing in A SketchBook, then a Coloring Book

Before it was anything – Blues Prismagic #14 was ink in a pen and a blank piece of paper. That transformed into a drawing. That drawing went into the coloring book for adults I’d created: Prismagic Coloring Book For Adults  It was the 14th drawing in the book (hence Blues Prismagic #14) and the positive mantra that went with it was “I breath in calm and breathe out anxiety”. Nice, eh!?

Prints created from the digitally colored image Prismagic #14 in Prismagic Adult Coloring Book.

I liked that design so much, I decided to make a print out of it. I played around with a few different color palettes and ordered them printed on canvas (there was a sale – what can I say?!) (Side note: these prints are now hanging in the very hip halls of F.A.B.R.I.C. – the Fashion and Business Resources Innovation Center – in Tempe, Arizona! )

Here’s one of the most fun parts of this process. Art is not created in a vacuum and no artist is an island. My brother, Zac, saw the print and asked “Hey, could I get a pillow with that design?” And…BOOM…the Blues Prismagic #14 pillow was born. 

 

There was some research into where I could get the best possible quality of pillows with my design printed on them, and I think I found it. I ordered a sample for myself (also hanging out in a chair at F.A.B.R.I.C) and then sent one to my brother. 

The Pillows Have Arrived!

Now, finally, they are available today! I’ve just put this on my website. I really love all of the pillows – but this one has a special place in my heart. It was the first. 

A few mock-ups of Blues Prismagic #14 – the first decorative throw pillow I’d ever created.

 

Make Your Own Play Dough (Then Send it to a Teacher!)

Make Your Own Play Dough (Then Send it to a Teacher!)

Phoenix toddler Mom ‘n artist, Skye Lucking, makes DIY play dough at home for her son’s pre-school summer camp class. Because you can bake cookies in your car these days with the Phoenix climes! This means teachers are spending most of their time inside with the tots. They need all the help they can get. Really. When asked if they’d like some play dough, they said – “We need all the help we can get!”

You can find the recipe I used below (one of many from this website) !

DIY Play Dough Recipe (From the Family Education Website)

Colored Playdough

Materials

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

  1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour.
  3. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don’t have it on hand.
  4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

There’s something bigger here that I buried in the intro. It’s not just pre-school summer camp teachers trapped in the treachery of the Arizona heat that need help. ALL teachers can use a hand. You can help with something as simple and fun as do-it-yourself play-doh, volunteering, holding a bake-sale for supplies.

Or, perhaps most importantly, you could participate in social and political activism toward  elevating the teaching profession to the status it has long deserved – one of reverence, respect, and with a livable wage. Here’s a link for that kind of thing, too!

http://saveourschoolsarizona.org

SQUISH! 

Makeyourownplaydough

Skye’s 100 Blogs begins with this one…

Skye’s 100 Blogs begins with this one…

Short version

Skye is writing 100 blog posts. Maybe in 100 days. Maybe not. But, she’s starting with this one and hopes you enjoy forthcoming commentary on life, art, food, momming, and miscellany. 

NanoWriMo Manuscipts

My Scrivener collection of Nanowrimo manuscripts.

Longer Version

 I used to write – a lot. I did slam poetry for a time. I started my first novel in 2003. I was a travel writer when we lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina…. But now – all of the writing I do in a year is packed in to the frenzy of National Novel Writing Month – a wackadoo creative adventure which has so many merits and is likely a very good way to produce a decent novel, in the time after November 30th has passed. Maybe. If you’re not me. 

While I do love me some NanoWriMo – it has not been satisfying to burst out 50K words and then slink back to a non-writing existence. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a creative person. So, creation is happening.  However, it’s been art and product and…business. Also cooking and crafting for and with my boy…all of it good and great. But, the writing. I’ve suddenly really missed the writing. 

So – I am writing 100 blog posts. Some will be short. Some will be long. Some will, I’m warning you now, be vegan-y. Some will be about amazing organizations helping people around Arizona. Some will be about momming. Some will be about how danged hard it is to be an artist trying to rub two paintbrushes together to spark up a living. Some will seem like an over-excited commercial to buy my artstuff and designthings – because they will be just that. This acknowledgment will be as close to an apology as you get for that one.

Some will be about people, places, events, or exchanges – real and imagined. Some will just be videos! Some will be sad. No, just kidding, they’ll all probably be happy. Too happy. Really annoyingly happy. (See comment about apology for commercials about my art – that applies to this as well.) Some might be about you. Yes, you. If I know you. Do I know you? 

A blog seems so 2003, doesn’t it? However, 2003 was a pretty awesome year!

Let the blogging begin!!!