Valentines Dates

Happy Valentines Day!  I personally love this holiday mainly because of Chocolate (yes yes, sweet tooth is my weakness… I don’t ever need any encouragement to eat more sugar…! I need encouragement to stop myself for my own good), but whether you are spending it with your significant other, family, friends, or your dear pets, it’s a great excuse to celebrate people and things you love.

There used to be a ton of ideas I had about promoting my business relating to the Holidays and time of year.  For example…Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Breast Cancer Awareness, Black History Month, Asian American Heritage History Month – other holidays and festivals like Lunar New Year, Dia de los Muertos – So on and so forth.

The reality of being a small business owner and prioritizing clients quickly squashed the excitement I had felt over doing cute marketing promos or projects.  On top of that, as an Artist, and as a functional human being, there needs to be time dedicated to nurturing the Artist and The Person.  The person requires things like…chores, and you know, useful activities like Sleeping and Eating!  I joke, but it’s so true ;) Most importantly, during my “personal time” I try to squeeze in at least one Artist Date with myself or my creative peers a week.  Like a Play Date. You might have read or heard of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and may have heard of the term,  what an Artist Date means to me is activities that access my creativity {p.s. Here are 101 suggestions here for an artist date for your reading pleasure}

“Serious art is born from serious play.” – Julia Cameron

If one is making a living out of their artistry, it’s always Art x Commerce…the commerce is running a business (you know, paper work, taxes, emails, phone calls), but the in order to tap into new ideas, find inspiration & rejuvenation of one’s passion, it really does comes through SERIOUS play.  We artist work hard, but we must play very hard.  I get fearful to use the word “play” because I don’t like the stereotype that Creative Professionals undoubtedly have to combat is that work is not work because it’s creative, so it must be fun and stress-free all the time! It’s a deep-rooted, systemic stereotype engrained in our brains as schemas via society accumulated over the centuries – people who use their Creativity are less productive, less disciplined and have inferior work ethic – because it’s creative. You know, when compared to a ‘regular job’…I’m totally scoffing at this here because creativity is required for most jobs I can think of…I mean, a CFO and CEO needs to be creative and innovative with their strategy and leadership…! A scientists needs to tap into their creativity to come up with new theorems or new ways to test out their current hypothesis.  A great server at a restaurant needs to use their creativity to find ways to solve problems for customer and cater to the needs of demanding and hungry guests!!  I’ve done grooming/hair and makeup for many CEOs/CFOs/Presidents/VIPs, and while I only spend at most 20-30 minutes from start to finish  (CEOs are busy…I pretty much need to finish in 5-10 minutes tops if I am lucky, and then they take their portrait for the remaining 20 minutes) and sometimes they ask me a few questions, other times I get to ask them a few questions.  This is a fact…these successful VIPs all have their own place to Play.  Golf, skiing, wind-surfing, cooking, doing homework with their children.  Over the years, I began to learn effective ways to play and arranging various types of Artist Dates for myself.

A few years ago, I was helping out my colleague’s wedding with the bridal party, and as I rolled in with all my equipment, the bride said hello, and then proceeded to asked me if I do this for fun or part time.  Honestly I was caught off guard, as before then it has been a while since anyone had asked me if this was not my full-time profession.  It’s a legitimate question, as some artist do it part time, but for me the part that jumped out was “Is this for fun…?” and the subtext behind that was this must be my hobby and not my ‘real job.’  I just politely said I do this full-time, but in my heart I was thinking: Hey…just because I have fun at my job doesn’t mean this is not a real job or it’s hard work!

For the above reasons, this is why I personally reject the binary or dichotomy when describing work and play:

Work <——–|——–> Play

Or like when one is ‘off duty’ for clients or jobs, the rest of the time is simply personal time.  The binary suggests that creative work is simply ‘work’ and other times if it’s my personal project, it’s simply play…!  That doesn’t feel applicable to me.  It looks more like a random squiggly, with circles and loops, like when you are doodling when you are really really bored.  I play when I work, but I also work when I’m playing.  It’s not Work/Play, it’s Work & Play or Play & Work.

All this is to preface how excited I felt when Sandra of Sandra Fazzino Photography asked me on a “Play Date that’s valentines day themed.”  I didn’t have to think twice – I’m like PLAY DATE!!! How do I sign up for this??  Sandra and I bounced a few ideas, and I was really excited that we were on the same page.  Sandra hand-painted the backdrop, and made the hearts you see Taylor and Alyssa was holding below.  Photo shoots where the goal is to play is one way I really LOVE to play.  Taylor is holding a heart-shaped makeup sponge that came with my Japanese Beauty Magazine that my husband bought me from his last Japan trip – the February issue, of course.  It wasn’t part of our original discussion, but Sandra said: Sure! I’ll take the photo for you! :) :) :) I love them !!!  Even if I don’t think this is my strongest makeup/hair work.   My friend tells me I need to calm down on this self-criticism, but I cannot help myself.  My eyes immediately goes to the things that are slightly out of place or could have been done better for the hair and makeup.   Sometimes when I meet new people, and they find out I do what I do for a living, they told me they felt self-conscious about their makeup that day.  Please believe me…I reassured them that I can turn my profession ‘off’ – I don’t look at someone’s makeup unless it’s my own work….!  But when it’s my work, every lash, every hair, every knuckle I comb through, with a finest tooth comb, under my pretend magnifying lens.  But while I’m in the process of creating, I try to do my best given the time constraints or challenges, but at the same time be fully present, and most importantly, ENJOY the moment, whether it’s bridal, special events, ads, catalog, corporate grooming, film.  For this photo shoot, I try to remind myself how happy I am at the amazing opportunity to give myself one full day of having the freedom to do what I “feel” like doing, not what I’m supposed to do, just for the day!  No amount of money can buy that gratification and happiness of an artist’s ‘flow’ when they are accessing that sacred creative space.  Is it spiritual to me? Yes.  Sacred? To me – absolutely.

My leaf blower arrived in time, so it was perfect that I got to ‘play’ with it as well.  I am no stranger to a leaf blower…trust me, it’s why I get wrist pains and swollen tendons.  (Ok, that and the Marcel Iron together…but I digress)

I am simply grateful that a) I *finally* managed a blog post right on the actual holiday, and b) I’m at a place were I am sharing these images with the world just like that.  As in…I am not fussing over the imperfections in my hair & makeup work; by hitting “publish” (of this blog), I am committing to not going back and ‘deleting/editing’ what simply ‘is.’  It was my artist date for myself, a gift I gave to myself made only possible with Sandra’s invitation and making everything happen! Thank you Sandra!

This Valentines Day, I hope you have an amazing day celebrating with your loved ones, and giving yourself an artist date!

Photography :  Sandra Fazzino Photography Makeup & Hair :  Liz of Skyla Arts Gowns :  BoLee Bridal Couture Hair Accessories :  Twigs & Honey Models :  Taylor & Alyssa of Stars Model SF {in order of appearance}