Now Is the Time For Design (and a background)

Well, hello there, world!  The name’s Freyja Taylor.  Artist and designer, at your service!  Okay, well honestly I’m more at my cats’ service these days, but what cat owner isn’t?  They like to demand things, uncap my markers, and chew my pencils.  Sit on my Intuos 5.  Stand on my sketch book and portfolio case.  The usual.  Can’t have anything nice.

tater on the sketchbook

I mean, look at Potato, the ribbons from his KitNipBox he threw on the floor, and my work pile slash mail slash bullet journal!  And a chewed-up lightning cable.  It just never ends!  But I’ve got a nice big Maine Coon Cat to snuggle, so that’s good.  No idea where Ace the Siamese is.  Probably sitting on my paint box, trying to figure out how to open it so she can be the next Da Vinci.  She would.

Oh, where was I?

So in Norse mythology, Freyja is one of the Vanir traded to the Aesir.  Her title is Vanadís, “goddess of the Vanir.”  And since my preferred (though not legal yet) name is Freyja, I thought that would be a good name for my brand.  She and I are similar you know, have two cats, blind people with beauty (and baffle them with bullshit,) and oh, the things we’d do for a shiny necklace!  Some people throw Freyja out and go with Frigga only, but Freyja is honestly pretty damned entertaining.  I’ve loved Norse mythology ever since my dad won the Volvo VISTA competition and the grand prize trip to Sweden about two decades ago and he brought me back a book of Scandinavian mythology since I loved to read literally anything I could get my hands on.

I am fortunate to live in the lovely sparkling city Corpus Christi, Texas.  Right where we can surf, day trip to the magical land of kolaches and klobasniky, and get smashed along the Riverwalk in San Antonio after a short drive.  Just… you know, don’t drive back the same night.

So that said, I am a graphic design student going online at Full Sail University.  I am constantly burnt out and overwhelmed but to be honest, that feeling forces me to produce some of my best work.  I work best under stress.  Always have.  I am not in any way an amazing designer.  I like to think of myself as a creative waiting to bloom.  One day I’ll be creative.  Possibly tomorrow, possibly during my midlife crisis, or possibly the day before I die when I’m old.  But one day, for sure.  I can feel it.  If it were material, I would be able to lick it.

So, I didn’t always want to be a digital artist or designer.  I wanted to be a painter.  I imagined myself having a studio underneath the loft I’d live in, in a big city, maybe not NYC but probably Chicago or San Francisco.  I started drawing seriously at the age of five or six.  When I was six, I did “my early work,” which is my family’s inside joke for the picture I drew of my grandparents’ dog Rocky’s toy, Roadkill.  It was I think a weasel, but he was so beat up I wasn’t really sure?

roadkill

I was six when I drew it, as I said, but I didn’t like saying “kill” so I called it “Road Pizza,” which is… pretty damned gross.  They have it laminated and hanging on their fridge to this day.  Anyway, a little after Road Pizza, I got into painting.  I liked to stick one of those stiff and horrendous kids’ watercolor brushes in water, push it down on the hard watercolor tablet, make it fan out in a circle, and spin it around.  I figured that was the most effective way to get hella bright paint output.

I grew up watching Bob Ross.  I loved him, and even was him for Halloween one year.  I remember the day my mom said that Bob Ross was gone, and I vowed to carry on his legacy!  So when I was 12 my mom got me a Bob Ross oil paint set for Christmas.  I used every tube to its last drop.  I didn’t have any formal training in painting, other than what I’d seen artists do on TV, but I did some pretty cool paintings nonetheless.  When I got into high school, I started art classes.  My high school basically had a “you have to do a certain track of study to graduate” and mine was fine arts, both performance and visual.  I was on the flag corps all four years, art club four years, and theatre for two.  I designed prom two years.  It was enough to make me not want to jump off a bridge, as I was generally disliked by most of my peers because I was the shy, weird goth.  I was an easy target.  I did have friends, but just a handful, and most of them were in lower years.

I had an art teacher who was amazing, taught me how to paint dark to light, and told me that my pointillism  painting wasn’t pointillist, it was impressionist.  Whoops.  But it was still nice.  I found I really liked impressionist painting.  I also kinda dug watercolor.  Then my junior year she got in an accident with an 18 wheeler and though she survived, she was paralyzed and had to retire.

That’s when the next art teacher came in.  I registered for “Drawing” but he stuck me in the “Design” class.  Imagine how pissed I was.  I didn’t want to learn design.  I wanted to learn to be a fine artist.  Most of his assignments were super religious, which I didn’t really like because even if I did have to do design, I’d have liked to you know, not be drawing hundreds of crosses.  I’ve never really put too much thought into religion, and though I do have one, it’s not the main part of my life.  So anyway I managed to leave my senior year with absolutely zero portfolio pieces because he always made us work in groups.  So I couldn’t claim, you know, all the work.  He kinda screwed me over a bit!  Though I did manage to sell a painting to another teacher, and she provided me with a copy of it for my portfolio, and then I was commissioned to change the colors of flowers on a painting to match another person’s decor, and that went in as well.

Unfortunately, that was before digital stuff was really all that accessible (an 8 gig flash drive cost about $70, which I didn’t have…) so I kept everything physical, and I lost it in a move overseas from Guam to Chicago.

In the Navy, I was a nuclear machinist’s mate.  My proudest accomplishment was graduating nuke school.  Then I was injured pretty badly (read: fell 15 feet off a ladder, breaking a hip) and well, I tried to change rates to a hospital corpsman or a yeoman, but once a nuke, always a nuke, and they discharged me.  Honorably with medical benefits, but still I was out after just a few years.

I delved into Sims for a while.  I got into Sims modeling.  I got into putting my sims in fashion shoots, drawing backgrounds digitally with my Bamboo Fun tablet, drawing their hair and makeup.  I found out I really liked it!

acemagnolia.png

I fell farther into the rabbit hole, starting to make custom content.  3D models.  Aesthetics.  Custom hair colors, custom tattoos, and custom objects.  It was then that I basically thought… well, I guess I’m into graphic design after all!

caponemug1

I learned, in Sims, how to make things I liked myself.  I have an Al Capone mug that I got in a train station in Chicago and wanted it in my Sims game.  So I 3D modeled and painted it and ported it into the game!

Not long after that, I applied to Full Sail, and got in.  I ended up being hospitalized for a few days just before I started.  I was having massive anxiety about going back to school, so I had to go in and get my medication changed in an emergency.  But I only saw it through for a few months before I started having horrible physical issues.  I was diagnosed, after three years, with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Fibromyalgia.  The medications from those plus the mental issues led to Tardive Dyskinesia, but if I wear a compression glove when working on my Wacom, my hand is usually fairly steady.  Plus Illustrator is hella forgiving.  And I’d rather my limbs jerk than my brain act up, really.

So I started back this year in May and I have a 3.88 GPA which I’m totally thrilled about.

I’m a creative person in progress.

I am not the most creative person that ever created.  I’m just not.

But I do work hard.  You could be a very creative person and not work hard and just stay at the same level.  But not me.  I am fairly creative and I use hard work to expand upon and better my work by critiques from professors and peers, and then analyzing it myself and trying to see where I can fix things that don’t work.

There will be a TL;DR on my about page, but these are the events that led up to where I am now!

Thanks for reading and I hope to communicate with you guys soon!

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