It is the last day of 2015. Everyone is posting their “most liked photos of 2015” on social media, which I guess is mildly interesting. But I’m not going to do that. I’m just as interested in the failures as I am in the successes. As nostalgia is both bitter and sweet, it’s been both fun and horrible to compile this list. So, feel free to pour yourself some of this frighteningly cheap boxed wine and join me as I reminisce.
January: I launched a new website
The whole process was like conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to an illegitimate child: the idea was conceived after I got home from the bar; I spent the next nine months developing the idea, eating weird food, and crying uncontrollably; and finally, when the idea was ready to come into the world, I hired a developer who, like a doctor, had me up at 4 AM–screaming and on strong drugs–and who in the end charged me a huge sum of money.
And the launch party was like a baby shower: all of my friends were there (Bess); it was catered (by Dominos); and there was a photo booth (provided by Macintosh).
Now that the site is a year old, the metaphor still holds in that my site makes huge messes and keeps me up at night.
I can only hope that this is where the metaphor ends, because I don’t think I can handle the Terrible Twos.
However, it might be nice if the site grew up and was able to pay for my hospice.
January: I was in Austin Monthly
This was pretty out of the blue but very timely (because my site would be launching in the same month) and undeserved (I didn’t even know how to digitally paint that well!).
That was my old place of residence. I moved my bed to the backyard to make this shot happen.
Either way it was pretty cool. Bess loved the camera. Link to the article is here.
February: I started Philanthropomorphize, a monthly fundraiser
The beginning of the year is particularly difficult for non-profits because the giving season is over. People are less compelled to give, since many have already given their money to other non-profits or to The Mall. So I wanted to help my friends at Love-a-Bull by having a fundraiser to help boost sales during these slow times. Also to drive traffic to my site.
Anyway, because these shirts were being sold to raise money, I would be ordering the exact amount after the fundraiser was over, which meant that customers who chose to participate wouldn’t actually be receiving their shirts for like a month. Which sucked, but I tried to warn everyone everywhere. Most people received the message and were happy to be helping Love-a-Bull. Others were not, which was disappointing, but probably inevitable.
Then, with the help of Love-a-Bull’s marketing skillz and a feature on 365 Things to do in Austin, I got a shitload of orders. So I had to carefully calculate every single order to be sure that I got the right number of shirts. As a fairly right-brained person, this was a challenge. A huge challenge, and I hated it. I mean it involved a fucking spreadsheet, for chrissakes.
But, during that month, we were able to organically raise over $1200.
That experience sparked two things: the first was doing it every month, and the second was automating the process.
Regarding the former, I reached out to groups, made some web pages, designed some shirts, and branded it with a short, easy-to-say name: Philanthropomorphize.
Regarding the latter – automating the process – I got my friend Jim the Developer to write some sort of nerdy code thing which creates a crazy file whatnot that I now send to a fulfillment company, who processes the orders, all so that I don’t have to deal with any of those horrible spreadsheets.
So, in 2016, I plan to continue with this, except I hope that the shirts, like my work in general, will be much better than my last round.
March: I learned how to paint like a normal person
Although I’ve been painting digitally since the beginning, I was doing it horribly wrong. The result? Horribleness. I figured that since my whole business is now based on digital work, I needed to perhaps formally educate myself. Thusly I attended the prestigious School of YouTube Videos and practiced a lot.
May: Paws ‘n’ Pints
If you thought that the inclusion of my guest appearance in Austin Monthly was really just a cloaked form of showing off my wild success, this should ground your perception.
Through a weird connection, I had a meeting with the lovely people at Scoot Inn, who were interested in having a dog-themed happy hour thing. Having been in the underground pet-portrait game for over three years, I’ve developed a variety of contacts. So the plan was to brand the event, schedule rescues and vendors, and raise some money.
That didn’t work out at all.
First, it was on like a Tuesday during happy hour. The city is gridlocked during that time. People have been running around all day, working, trying to get home, picking up dogs and kids, blah blah blah. So, asking them to come out was like politely asking Bess to stop chasing a squirrel at full sprint.
Even when some vendors and neighborhood folk did come out, it was either hot as ballz or raining.
But, on the bright side–both literally and figuratively–the Pet Costume Party was pretty legit.
And plus I had every excuse in the world to get sloppy drunk on a Tuesday evening, and by anyone’s standards, that is a success in its own right.
August: I started this blog
Again, Jim the Developer helped me out with that. Thanks, Jim the Developer.
At first I really didn’t know what to write about. Writing about artwork seems boring, so I knew that I didn’t want it to just be about that. What seemed interesting to me was illustrating my life as a dog owner through pseudo comics. It involves a different style of painting, which has been great fun to explore.
Speaking of blogging, I find it incredibly irritating when bloggers blog about blogging, so I’m not going to write about it anymore and instead show you pictures of animals.
All Year Long: People’s Pet Photos
People upload photos on my site everyday. Just as people are looking at their “most liked photos of 2015”, I would like to present to you “the photos that I liked the most during 2015.”
And there you have it. That was 2015. Sure, there was some shit that I left out, but, to be totally frank, I have lunch plans in half an hour and I haven’t showered.
So have a happy and safe New Year from your friend at Coat and Tails Pet Portraits!