Maya Johnston Design
Dusk in Lot 1
Dusk in Lot 1

Entry Five - "Being There"                  April 2019

There are often moments this year where I've felt totally debilitated, creatively speaking, as well as emotionally (and even physically, though I think this could be avoided if I stopped crashing my bike into things). Academically, I've struggled with flying inside the constraints. At times I've let my ego get in the way of personal growth and development, and by narrowing myself into stubborn corners I forget that I'm still learning, and actually a very naive artist. It's interesting trying to exist in that space between artist and designer. Reasons for compositional decisions come from concept as opposed to client, and yet they interweave in terms of trying to communicate something, anything.

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Spring in Berwyn
Spring in Berwyn

In the end I'm grateful to have professors that challenge me, despite the emotional angst that I've vented out to my peers. I hope I haven't taken this time for granted.

All things are well, with my relationship/s, with my family and with my friends. I guess that's what makes my internal struggle with finding out what I'm communicating in art so difficult and isolating. It's good that there's some discomfort though, I think that's where most good things  (creative revelations, athletic achievements, the best relationships) are generated.

I hope in these next couple weeks I can let go of my ego and dig in to what my professors seek to get out of me. And by May 23rd this giant bruise on my thigh will have formed into just a slight discoloration to match my blue graduation dress. Discomfort, or Type-2 Fun, allows for the best stories, and the most human experience.

Pinterest has become essential to this process. Feels like more of a layered collaboration than solitary state of grey cubicle.

Moss at Reed College in Portland, Oregon
Moss at Reed College in Portland, Oregon
SO MUCH, TOO MUCH, Gabriella Sanchez 2018
SO MUCH, TOO MUCH, Gabriella Sanchez 2018

Entry Four, what we have (to change): March 2019

Lucius, Hop Along, and Caroline Rose have been big influences lately, as well as the work of artists Ryan Tippery, Dave Kloc, Gabriella Sanchez, Hank Willis Thomas and Jessica Gatlin. I’m finding that I can’t ignore being attracted to rich typography and bright colors, and delving further into that, especially in screen printing, has revealed truths in terms of taste and style. Of course I’m always trying to limit the “comedic” side of my work in order to be taken seriously, yet the dozens of lucha libre photos always make their way into my pinterest board. It’s interesting overlapping in fine art and design, only to go to improv practice two hours later and pretend to be someone named Dave Blinkin, the inventor of the mealiest apple on the planet. How do I separate these, and why do I? Despite this, I’m trying to accept the genuine moments and reveal a sense of self awareness. 

This period has been wildly productive, I’ve been making more than I ever have, blazing through sketchbooks and working late into the night alone in the studio. Of course it’s heinous but it’s also fun (most of the time) and I have a strange energy that is usually reserved for the warmer months. Maybe I’m just in love with these last moments of school, and my friends, and riding my bike at midnight through College Park. Nostalgia for the present I suppose. While I am so happy to be where I am I also can’t wait for the real fun to begin, entering the next chapter of my life. 

Hyattsville, weird to think my Mom was born here? kindof full circle moments
Hyattsville, weird to think my Mom was born here? kindof full circle moments
Untitled, Ryan Tippery 2016
Untitled, Ryan Tippery 2016
Quick moment on my street in the early morn
Quick moment on my street in the early morn
Jackson, Molls, and my backpack
Jackson, Molls, and my backpack

Entry Three, EXPLOSION! DISARRAY! CHAOS! October 2018.

Have I said it enough? What a time to be alive, and a YOUTH no less! Hehe. Just kidding. I do slightly feel like I'm riding my bike at 60mph and just crashing into signposts left and right and for some reason I'm just sticking with this totally ridiculous speed that will ultimately end in injury. And (non-metaphorically) it has. I've been on and off sick for the past two weeks and have this totally bizarre stress knot on my back that looks like it could initiate a plot to a really bad science fiction movie (oh and also I actually crashed my bike in real life).

That being said, life at this speed is pretty fun. You see more, you do more. Maybe this desire is fueled by my latest inspirations, fast moving, energetic artists like Ralph SteadmanRaymond Pettibon and Molly Crabapple, and also music like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Joy Again. Art and music that feels improvised in form, and often the results are surprisingly bizarre and beautiful.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sykora
Photo courtesy of Sarah Sykora
UMD's ~secret~ dark room
UMD's ~secret~ dark room
gloves
gloves
At work! hehe
At work! hehe

Despite the chaotic state of the work/play environment, there are times for true and honest relaxation, running has become a good friend to me and I hope once this illness is gone for good I can get back to where I once was. There is also great nurture in my College Park home, which I feel I've mentioned before but I can't express enough how lucky I feel. This weekend we hosted an improv show and somehow crowded 40+ people into our living room to watch college kids play make pretend on a Saturday night. I was reminded of how people just want to be entertained, to be told a story.

Whatever I look for in a career it will be something along these lines, of communicating good design yes but most importantly to tell a story.

When going down a pinterest worm hole this month I found this old travel journal that communicated just in small hieroglyphs. I think artists, designers and writers, myself especially, focus too much on what is there than what isn't, which is usually more interesting, that negative space.

 

On the press, the top 2 layers of my first print.
On the press, the top 2 layers of my first print.

I don't remember this improv scene but I did fall off my bike one hour before these were taken, and it looks like I'm dealing with the ptsd from that accident onstage. Hey man we all cope differently. Photos courtesy of Sarah Sykora

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Entry Two, jumping the ship. September 2018.

Fall came with a crash and a bang! The past few weeks I’ve had trouble sleeping because I’m afraid I’ll miss something if I close my eyes even for a second. I’m trying to battle the oncoming grey hues of winter with bright colors in my work and in the music I’ve been listening to, but I’m afraid the dullness is inevitable.

Despite the busyness of this semester I’ve found comfort in doing improv, cooking with my roommates, and finding movies and illustrations that make my heart skip. Lille Carré is a great influence, her work is bright and sort of unhinged, sort of like the music of The Go! Team.

Though I love working with motion graphics I can’t deny the debilitating energy looking at a screen for 6 plus hours takes out of me, so as always, I’m really grateful for the time I spend away from the screen, whether it’s in screen printing class or running around the lake. I’m trying to pay attention to what my mind and body needs. 

Mustardseed; from a midsummers night's dream party
Mustardseed; from a midsummers night's dream party
Community Forklift in Edmonston
Community Forklift in Edmonston
Maintaining focus in a sea of disorder
Gif by Lilli Carré
Gif by Lilli Carré
From a house in Berwyn earlier this month.
From a house in Berwyn earlier this month.
woman

Entry One, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb. August 2018.

Hoping this space will be an all-inclusive space, maybe for my process sketches and illustration or other self-promotional stuff; or maybe a space to notice progress as an artist, seasonal change, etc. Ah, whatever works.

Part of the reason I want to start this portion of the site was to have some sort of blog/writing space (ehem, without having any audience interaction). I've wanted to give myself the opportunity to write publicly for a while now, even if it's just speaking into the void, it's vital to participate in the digital age.

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This is an old, old sculpture, from Spring 2016 I think. Right now it's getting broken down by the elements in my Dad's backyard.

I was also hoping to have some way to document, to collect in a way of hyperlinking instead of clipping cool typography out of a newspaper [Not that these methods are lesser than].

In the past month or so I've been scanning different artists all over digital forums like Awwwards to Instagram, from designers, tattoo artists Julio Betancourt to painters Zio Ziegler, Kylie Akia to cartoonists Dylan BallietPolly Nor.

I've really been into looking for artists who sample, whether that be in music or visual collage, layering elements seems to be the most powerful form of narrative. I'm optimistic for the fall; getting back to some sort of work ethic again after a summer of indulgences.