On Andy Warhol, Art and Business

I’ve been thinking a lot about Andy Warhol lately. He’s an artist I have a lot of respect for because he was so financially successful in his lifetime. And he got to have an awesome warehouse space filled with rad musicians and other artists.

When I win the lottery, the first thing I’m going to do is take a month-long European vacation. The next thing I’m going to do is rent a warehouse space and deck it out. I probably won’t paint it silver, but I promise, I will paint it. It will be the best few weeks ever. Then all day, every day, I will create–movies, paintings, sculpture–whatever strikes my fancy. I’ll invite other artists to share the space; rent out the film studio to artists for rock bottom prices. I’ll immediately take up neon sign making, an interest I’ve always had to forgo pursuing due to cost. Continue Reading

blah blah blah content!

I am so used to nudging and coaxing content out of my design clients. I always had sympathy for them, knowing from personal experience, how hard it is to define and talk about oneself or ones business.

I gave myself this week to finalize the content for my design portfolio. I decided after a few years of free-lancing it was time to finally pull a portfolio together. I have my table of contents (that was easy!) and some sentences here and there for the content. By goodness me, do I want to sit down and create the content? Not at all.

My life coach says that when you get it right, it’s fun. I can imagine that it is supposed to be fun, the way exercising first thing in the morning is supposed to be fun and set the whole tone of the day. So will the content for my design portfolio–it will set the tone that clients see, they will know me, they will want to hire me. That is the goal. I can see the goal, I can taste it. I’m excited to create the graphic of myself fishing in the pond of amazing creative ideas for their design. It is going to be awesome.

But structured content creation is not the creative process I relish the most. I love rewriting and editing. I love creating graphics, designing websites. I love analyzing other people’s words for the different meanings the audience might accidentally construe, providing advice and searching the lexicon for the perfect marketing words. I love messing with photos and playing with video editing.

And it is this joy that I must keep in mind as I wade through my puddle of content, slowly straining out the gold pieces and setting them next to each other till I have a castle of sorts. A glorious castle that I’m proud to share.

Oh yes, that is the goal.

The Year in Review

Dear friends,

It has been such an exciting year! If you remember, one of my new years’ resolutions was to utilize technology more effectively. To that end, I started off the year purchasing my first smartphone, an HTC Kaiser, or AT&T Tilt. Let me tell you, that $400 was wasted, but, looking back on the year, I wasted more money on bank fees. I’m looking forward to buying an unlocked Google phone in the new year.

One technology purchase that I was happy with was the tiny 9″ ASUS laptop. It’s so cute! And wonderful for looking up recipes (from your mom in your gmail) in the kitchen without lugging in your 17″ inch Dell Vostro (5 stars).

Another one of my new years’ resolutions was to utilize the vodka martini. I performed remarkably well.

For the second year, Sue and Phoebe joined my family at Mother’s Day Brunch. The crab tasted fresher than usual. I was pleased. I am glad that Sue and Phoebe have chosen Mother’s Day Brunch with the Hellers for a holiday tradition!

Will and I got back together in March. We have been strong ever since. In May, he and I joined Sue and Phoebe for a weekend camping trip. We floated a cooler of Tecate to a secret location and Phoebe found Will’s sunglesses in the bottom of the creek

I started planning Jenfest in June this year. Planning Jenfest is always a challenge. This year was no exception. When I think of heaven, I know it will be Jenfest 07. I was sad to have to plan a party that could never compete with heaven. Jenfest wound up as a picnic in Dolores Park this year. How wonderful was it to see everyone! This year was the first year that I did not ask Alex to design the invite. She is married to Patrick now, you know, and we hardly see her. I did get to see her at Jenfest, and it was delightful! Despite it not being Jenfest 07, Jenfest 08 was truly wonderful.

The night before Jenfest, I managed to mess up my back again. The week following Jenfest I was bedridden. Finally, I had an MRI in August. The results showed that I had a disc bulging 7cm into my spinal cord! This explains my severe discomfort. I went to see a new chiropractor. He spent some time with a rubber skeleton and explained my condition. Everytime I bend or twist, the disc bulges into my spinal cord. Well, my previous chiropractor had been recommending that I do bends and twists twice a day over the course of the past two years. That was upsetting. I am happy to be getting some relief.

I am satisfied with my professional success this year. I took on the Co-op’s 75th Anniversary Gala and a new supervisory role in January. It was a challenge taking on such a large event with nine months to plan. My Virgo moon kicked right in, though, and the details were (for the most part) nailed. One detail was regretfully neglected; we did not collect the donation envelopes from the table and the servers threw them away! In general, I was unhappy with H’s Lordship’s food and service. Narsai David had graciously donated ample wine, but it was simply not served fast enough!

During my year in charge, I also revamped the Co-ops website (www.bsc.coop). The new website offers much greater information to the students. It is also easier to update. I debuted the website on August 15th. Then, in the early hours of Labor Day weekend, I received a phone call from Jordan. “Are you ready?” he asked. “TELL ME,” I ordered. “The website has been hacked.” It was true! Turkish death metal blared from my computer. However, our work was not lost, and with the help of Dave in Argentina, we had the website back up in a matter of days.

In the early part of the year, I was hired to create a website for a martial arts school in Portland. As part of the trade, I was able to attend a very cool self-defense course. If you are ever in Portland, and are female, you should definitely take this course. It is worth every penny. As part of the curriculum, you physically attack the “padded attacker” which gives you great confidence later. I was even attacking people in my dreams! The website, www.onewithheart.com, turned out well in spite of some design sacrifices. I am looking forward to including it in my portfolio at jenniferheller.com (currently under construction).

In November I decided to host a Holiday Gift Bizarre at the Cottage Table Company on Pearl Harbor Day. I called it a Gift Bizarre in hopes of suggesting that you never know what you might find there. I am pretty sure that people just thought that I didn’t know how to spell bazaar. I invited all the artists I know locally, and advertised for artists on various websites like etsy.com. I was very pleased with the selection of artists. The crowd was certainly lacking, however. I will plan further ahead next year. One problem that I ran into was an issue with the original design of the flier–I hadn’t meant to, but I had included imagery that was offensive! I am still using the offensive version of the flier as one-sided paper, and suspect that I will for the majority of 2009. Check out the inoffensive version of the flier at www.holidaygiftbizarre.com

The Guster has been well this year. As you know, I started feeding him twice a day instead of just once. We think that he has lost some weight as a result. I am thinking that his metabolism is such that he needs multiple small meals in the day, just like me. An unfortunate consequence of feeding him in the morning as well as the evening, is that he very persistently tries to wake me up in the morning. He even goes so far as to pull books out of the night stand to make noise! It is very irritating, but it is nice to wake up to the cold nose of someone you love every morning.

I do hope this letter finds you, my friends, happy and well. I am in the process of constructing a self-video-taping-camera-holding hat. My new years resolution for 2009 is to produce a video a week!

Much love,

Susie J.

I've mentioned before,

but it’s worth mentioning again:

I have a new job.

It’s my old job, but with more responsibility, and more work and a little more money.

I’m a supervisor.

When I got this (temporary) promotion, Sue went to the Berkeley Public Library and took out books on effective management. From the eighties. It’s actually quite amazing how the same ideas are relevant today, even though they didn’t have computers back then.

Can you imagine?? Maybe you can. I used to have a job where I had to process hundreds of thousands of records and it took so long I read Atlas Shrugged while I waited.

So, new job. For the first few days I’d leave and I wouldn’t make it to MLK & Alcatraz without bursting into tears. I’d remember nostalgically what it was, oh that week before, when I knew what I was doing, and when I was doing it. And how long it would take.

I now supervise two departments of which I know almost nothing about the operations of, and which are both at important stages in their lives. Our 75th anniversary!! A fundraising golden year the likes of which we will not see for 25 years! And don’t even get me started on IT. If those resources were used effectively…

So, anyway. I’m overwhelmed. I don’t cry anymore, but most days are really just painful. Sure, the challenge is good. And I’m learning so much. It’s amazing to be part of such an important phase of an organization that I care so much about.

Blah blah blah.

I wonder sometimes, and it might be so, if these reactions are what I’ve heard of as growing pains, and comprise yet another indispensable reality of these ever still formative years.

my flailing tupperware business

somehow doesn’t matter.

my website has the March specials….though they are thankfully not labeled as such.

I haven’t had a Tupperware party yet this year.

Not one person who leaves me a message neglects to tell me that my voicemail still advertises the value of the 40% off April Gift Sets. What a value those were!!

And this, Tupperware’s birthday month. A month jam packed with specials.

Maybe I’m not meant to earn thousand(s) of dollars a month working just four hours a week!

Maybe I’m just a Tupperware fan, and not a Tupperware lady.

Or maybe I just have a life, and a sufficient enough income.

I’m boring.

Please accept my apologies.