Since graduation, I've been longing for a space where I might concentrate on nothing other than my art and design projects, whether they be commissions, personal or purely exploratory. I am in a part of Downtown Oakland where I once shopped with my mother and sister at places like Newberry's and Milen's on Telegraph near 19th. This building, with its gleaming marble Art Deco fasçade is across from the Fox Oakland Theater that lay dormant for many years after the 1989 Loma-Prieta quake. I am also close to the Paramont Theater where I saw my first concerts with my Godfather Sam who also lived in Oakland until his passing not too long ago. I saw Atlantic Starr and The Ojays there as well as what I think was a Sesame Street on-stage production with a Batman and Robin cameo. My great-grandfather would also take me to this area when I was small. He lived with my great-grandmother on Milvia right across from Oakland Technical High School into his early 90s.
Working here is its own experiment. I've always been in the habit of making work when I don't have work, but getting up and "going to the studio" on my off days is a little tough. It takes discipline to make it a routine.
Things are looking up, but it's hard to shake the shame and depression that comes with chronic underemployment, dependance on family and the challenge of building a freelance illustration and design practice. Things would be so much easier if I could drive a truck or even fling boxes with the stability and security of union behind me. The uneasy and narrow space between fear, hope and confidence somehow fits snugly like a warm coat during this summer of uncertainty.