Looking for inspiration and motivation going into 2018? Then boy, did you miss out! Illustrator, speaker, and podcast host Andy J. Miller stopped by last week to discuss The Creative Career Path and embracing the journey, refusing to take shortcuts, and believing it’s a path that is leading you somewhere special. Talk about a pep talk!
Lucky for you we documented the whole thing and put the best of the best right here…
We start our journey at the sign in table. Because no good quest starts without a name tag.
Next up, MERCH.
Posters, t-shirts, and books. Oh my!
Some folks got thirsty on their journeys and made a pitstop at the bar. Thanks 8.2.0!
The room was packed and buzzing with excitement!
Enter, Andy J. Miller…
He told us stories of humble beginnings…
“In high school, I had two things in common with Napoleon Dynamite. One, I had no skills and two, I did this dance to Jamiroquai “Canned Heat” at the dance off. I thought this was going to be my moment where I was going to be the most popular kid in school…but it backfired because nobody in my school had seen Napoleon Dynamite.”
Everyone needs a plan B, right?
“I remember thinking, “If I can’t be a cashier, what am I going to do with my life?” My plan B was, worst case scenario, I can fake insanity…”
Things were looking up for our hero!
“Finding Modest Mouse was like an experience where there was this whisper and it was saying to me, “You have a creative destiny and the key to unlock it is waiting for you whenever you are ready to get started.” It was like a weird call to a magical world of creativity that I never knew existed. And for the first time ever, I was like I think I can do that…I had a hope for my future for the first time ever.”
This guy looks ready to get started!
Things aren’t always as easy as they seem. Andy’s whisper took him to the beginning of a maze but Andy tried to bypass the maze causing him to fail miserably at his dream opportunity with Yo Gabba Gabba…
“Short cuts make long delays” – J. R. Tolken
dun. dun. DUUUUUUUN.
“I realized if I focused more on developing my thing before I focused on getting paid for it, I would have been half way through the maze by that time instead on the living room floor…”
After getting blown back to the start of the maze, Andy didn’t give up! He took his time, met a mentor, and began working though the trials and tribulations of his creative journey.
“The first half of the maze is finding your gift…It’s not something think of in an afternoon. It’s something you learn while you are on the road, in the journey, getting cuts and bruises, trying things…”
“The meaning of life is to find a give. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso
Andy started asking the tough questions. “Who am I? Am I an illustrator? What is illustration?”
Andy started drawing like crazy, learning the tools of the trade, and dedicating himself to working thought the maze. He spent the next few years mastering his craft, putting his work out into the work and slowly began picking up clients until…
“I felt the pressure. I felt like I’m back at the dragon…but this time, no magic whistles, no short cuts. I’ve gone through the maze, I’ve worked up my creative muscles, I’ve met the mentor, I’ve climbed some mountains…Last time I came to the dragon I had nothing and he blew my butt away.”
Andy was ready. He gave it everything he had and defeated the dragon!
Even though Andy had defeated the dragon again and again, the whisper wasn’t quite satisfied. It wasn’t until he gave a talk in his hometown that his metal detector went off and he figured out exactly what he wanted to do! He started the podcast Creative Pep Talk and began giving these talks every week. Andy was on fire!
“With this podcast, though analogies, and metaphors, and stories, you could take a thing that looked like a vast expanse of random chaos and start connecting the dots and all the sudden you could navigate this territory.”
“I realized illustration is not about picture making…illustration is supposed to show you something you can’t see any other way.”
“It didn’t matter if I was making verbal illustrations or visual illustrations. It didn’t matter…I realized that the purpose of illustration is making abstract things concrete.”
“The whisper said the key to my creative career destiny would be waiting for me but instead I found a maze…”
The maze is the key. – Andy J. Miller