Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turn that frown upside down


Mastering my headstand has been the highlight of my year.
It has been a very challenging yoga post for me and I am sure it has very thing to do with the amount of surrender it really takes to achieve. The headstand turns perspective upside-down. Which, really makes everything literally turn upside-down. Mental clarity and an open mind are the rewards.
I attempted, got scared and fell many times before I was finally comfortable enough actually benefit from the pose. And now, headstand feels very natural for me, my body craves it. And I love it.

It is an amazing ability to turn perspective upside down, to think about the your world (the world) from a different angle. Amazing.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Branding

Recently, my dad left his company and made the lofty decision to start his own construction company. He had unanimous support coming from my direction and I realized that the idea of supporting your own parent's dreams comes rarely in our lifetimes. I love the idea, of course. He knows so much about the business of building beautiful structures and has been changing the landscape of the environment for over 35 years!

Once his decision was made... the next natural step was to CREATE A LOGO. Fantastic! Here is where I am allowed to help out. My Dad really was a difficult client that pushed me to my boundaries and then forced me to expand beyond them to complete the task. Which, is basically what parents do.

The company is called Double Eagle.
A double eagle is a score of 3-under par on any individual golf hole. To make a double eagle, the golfer must:
  • Score a 1 (hole in one) on a par-4 hole
  • Score a 2 on a par-5 hole
Or score on a 3 on a par-6 hole, but par-6s are rare. Double eagles on par-3 holes are not possible. Double eagles are extremely rare, more rare, in fact, than aces.

Fitting.

We went through 3 rounds of complete revisions and then Dad led me to the exact direction he was envisioning. Amazing.


This is where we landed. I love the logo (and so does my client). Hooray for Double Eagle! Good luck out there!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Passage of Time

I can't believe that is has been almost 3 months since my last entry. The entries were much more frequent and came much easier in the past. However, the last few months I have really been questioning the value of my thoughts. Is anyone actually paying attention when there are so many other things go on in the world?
And I got my answer, my small validation, last week while visiting my home away from home -- Austin, Texas.
Randomly, I was able to attend a tacky Christmas Party hosted by the Beauty Bar where many of my past co-workers -- from my days (well, 4 years to be exact) as a Whisky Bar bartender -- work now. I knew many more people in that bar that night that I ever do when going out in the town I currently live in! I was a nice feeling. It felt like seeing old family again. And one friend hugged me, we briefly chatted -- as he was also mixing vinyl records in between -- and as we wrapped up our conversation he said "Oh, nice blog by the way." :) (Thanks Lee!)

So my validation made me pick up the pen.. ahem, login -- and blog.

During my Whisky Bar days I designed a lot of posters for events we hosted in the bar. Some good. Some bad. (the posters, not the events. the events were all good.) But the experience lead me to be the designer I am today.
And yesterday I was given the fast deadline unfriendly task of designing a poster for a friend's show here at a bar in Lubbock. It has been years since I have designed such a thing. I gladly accepted and am very pleased with the artwork which ensued.



Throughout the process of designing the "Holiday GIT Right" poster my mind fondly remembered the Whisky Bar poster designing days. So, I pulled up an old one! From 2006!
Ha!



And it has been insightful for me to see how far I have come. Literally. I am thankful for the events in my life that shaped my future and have made me the person I am today. <3

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dream a Little Dream


Last Winter, I read Christian Siriano's Fierce Style cover to cover.
I love Project Runway and totally adored Christian's style and attitude that went along with it. He was 22 years old and the youngest person to ever win Project Runway.

I remember reading a chapter in his book: "Finding Your Own Inspiration". He describes the scary and anxious feeling of having your dreams come true.

"When you're just reaching for something you want, the possibilities seem endless. But when you've got it, that's where the stress comes in."
"It can be scary when your dreams come true, because then there's a danger of it ending."

He goes on to write that "there are no guarantees in life, but I'm living my dream now, and dreaming up new ones while I am at it."


Apparently, "Living The Dream" is hard. For everyone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When I grow up...

Something quite extraordinary happened in my life recently.
One of my oldest (and forgotten about) dreams came true!

When I was little, my favorite aunt, Tia Tenchi (short for Hortencia) worked at a Car Wash.
She pick my sister and I up from school and gave us rides often. I have the most fond memories of seeing her car and knowing that I would be greeted with a smile, a joke and August's fried pie when I hoped in. Every Friday, my Mom paid Tia Tenchi with a check and 1 Coors Light. She was one of the most carefree and independent people that I have ever known. She was partially paralysed and could not walk very well, but that didn't stop her from living a happy life.

From a young age, my sister and I decided that we wanted to be like Tia Techni and "work at the Car Wash!!"

Tia passed away when I was in Junior High. I was lucky to inherit her beautiful wood headboard and dresser which I have to this day.

I recently connected with a random client who "needed some business cards." I worked up the business cards and my client said, "I might have a really big project for you. You can design anything, Right?"

Well, the big project happened to be the remodeling of the Car Wash where my beloved Aunt used to work. And the project I was hired to design was the signage for the new Car Wash.

It seemed surreal that after all of these years -- my dream of working at the Car Wash has finally come true! Life is amazing.


View the Sign Installation of Brown Design for Racer Car Wash

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh My Stars

I spent this past weekend on vacation. A real vacation. I thought for a while that I would even leave my laptop at home.. but in reality there is little that could separate me from my laptop. I am proud to say that I only checked my email twice while on vacation! wooohooo.

Family friends invited a huge group out to their ranch for the weekend. We were south of Dallas in an area that reminded me so much of the Hill Country near San Marcos. 2 fishing holes, a swimming pool, fire pit, delicious food and great family.
 We built a "Tent City" and slept under the stars. Each night as I lay down in my surprisingly comfortable tent on the earth -- I heard coyotes! Real Coyotes.
The air was crisp, cool, and filled with stars! I don't think that I have ever seen so many stars. It was beautiful.

And unlike I had lead myself to believe. The world (my world) did not crash into an oblivion because I took a day off of work. There were no Design Emergencies that couldn't be left for another day.
My mind and body are now thanking me for the sense of clarity which comes with a little rest and relaxation.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Life in not about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself."


I am traveling my chosen path in life and beginning to understand that my path, my road is definitely not one of the smooth, commercially paved roads that sees modern vehicles with voices and navigating systems during rush hour. My road is much more of a back road. A dirty, natural and desolate road. I am sure a people have traveled it before, but... I feel alone.
Not scared. Just alone. But I persist. I must. Because on this road, there is absolutely no turning back. Nothing behind me could possibly be better than what is ahead of me. So, I persist, faithfully following the bumps and curves with the idea in the back of my mind that I am not the first person here.


Marfa, Texas | Chinati Mountains | 2008

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

World Wide Web at my finger tips!

Last Friday I officially launched the Brown Design website!

www.valbrowndesign.com

There is no doubt that the site will change overtime however for now -- I feel it is the epitome of Brown Design.

Simple. To-the-Point. Content-rich. Minimal. Brown.


Friday, August 6, 2010

first day

Monday was my first day of my life as a self-employed full time artist. And today marks the first Friday of my self-employed lifestyle. I can honestly say that Friday is no longer more exciting than Monday, Tuesday or any other day of the week. Except for the fact that this Friday I feel much more settled in my new work space.



I officially spend more time in this room of my house than any other. It is quite lovely!


Gone are the days of working with other's inabilities to lead organized and productive work lives.
THIS is my organized workspace.


In the past I looked to a color wheel for inspiration. Now I look to my Color Wall. Thank you to my local hardware store for the paint swatches. <3


I have always wanted a natural-lit space within my work environment to relax, clear my mind, read a book or stretch my legs... And now I have one!

So far, I am dedicated to starting my work day just after a breakfast, a cup of coffee, and a bit of yoga. I have allotted myself multiple breaks throughout the day for the daily grind and then another bit of yoga. I am sure my new schedule will become routine as time wears on. But all in all, this all feels like a vacation. And I think that is a great sign of good things to come!

Friday, July 30, 2010

last day

Today felt like the Last-Day-of_School.
Today was the last day of my corporate job.

I still feel attached. But just as I have overcome and moved past many things. This too soon will pass.

Exciting things on the horizon.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Free to be.




My sister's dog destroyed this happy stuffed baby octopus. Yet he remained incredibly happy.


Last week, I made one the most serious decisions of my entire life. I quit my day job..
I graduated from the bartending 3 nights a week/college routine in 2007. And for the past 2 years and 9 months I have worked professionally for companies. All the while struggling to maintain my individuality, my style, my creativity, my life.

Some aspects of working the 8-5 developed as they should. I learned to wake up early, eat a good breakfast, turn on my creativity at 8 AM, detach myself personally from every piece, take criticism, and most importantly I learned to believe in myself. My capabilities.

I learned my worth, what I am made of, what I am capable of, and what I am not.


I am not a one-trick pony, a follower, a negative person, a quitter, a failure, an irritating co-worker, lazy, helpless, depressed, unhappy, detached, bidding my time, untalented, worthless, ordinary, and I am not one of "them".

I am me. And now more than ever before -- I am me.
I quit my day job -- And that night I slept better and more aware than I ever have and I woke up with an exciting sense of clarity the next morning. Everything seems to be falling into place. And although I am very scared I truly believe that I am traveling the path that was meant to be.

Officially, I own Brown Design. It is mine. I am my company. And my company is me.

"Brown Design*
* Available in all colors."

Friday, July 16, 2010

This is my family.

I started practicing yoga after my friend Tom introduced it to me. My sister taught me how to sew, and now I am hooked. I recently developed a realistic optimism towards entrepreneurship because of Jon. And I feel comfortable with life's changes after listening to my friend Kristine tell me about her path.

We tend to take on characteristics and tendencies of those we are around. And anyone who has ever been around me knows that Design is my life. I live and breath it every moment of my life (even in my sleep) :)

So, it is no shocker that while sitting at dinner with my sister, my nephew and one pen -- we all had a logo to draw on the paper table cloth!

This was Taylor's tag (logo):


My sister's Therapy logo which we collaborated on:  (She drew it spot on!)


And my Brown Design logo, that is still in development:


And we gave a final homage to JMB with the "SAMO" tag:




Man, I love my family!

oh that feeling!

My sister and I took my oldest nephew to his first concert last night.
IT was EPIC.
One of my favorite bands. I remember the first time I heard the Ghostland Observatory, and recall knowing that I would never be the same.

I stood at the concert last night, feeling the heat from bodies packed in and wide-eyed, my entire body vibrating from the physical sound of the music and that familiar and wonderful feeling rushed over me. Like being hit with a wave of music that makes me smile uncontrollably.

It has been a while since I have been to a concert and I almost forgot what it felt like.

Pure Happiness, I missed you.

video

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

taking shape

The past few weeks my mind has found itself on a particular shape. Like a leaf or a petal in rows upon rows.

I took the healthy artist approach and started sketching the shape in my sketchbook. on notepads. receipts. during meetings. everywhere.

 



I finally decided to cut the shape out of fabric and make something. 
This is where that shape is now.


  

A Happy Pillow :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

on the grid

The unfortunate fact that the sewer line in our new house had to be replace actually led to a really great opportunity.


We designed a DIY back porch for under $40!

Monday, July 5, 2010

wait.



It feels like, in life we are constantly waiting for something to happen so that something else can happen.

As in,

"I am waiting to hear if I get hired before I can quit my job."
"I am going to start working out when I start feeling better."
"We are planting a garden when the weather clears up."
"I am waiting to see if I get better before I call my doctor."

"We are waiting."
"I can't wait until..."
"I have been waiting all of my life for..."

At what point can we just accept that things do not always go according to plan? And should we, every once in a while just do something spontaneous and forget about all of the "rules"?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Nest: Part IV

This will serve as my last post (for now) about The Nest, because as I am learning... a house is a work in progress. There are many garage sale and craigslists finds yet to be discovered!

The master bedroom has wonderful vaulted ceilings and has become a beautiful place for resting, rechargeing and dreaming.


This was the last room to be painted. I was so ready to be done with the painting so I painted this entire room (2 coats) in one day!



My affordable DIY headboard: stencil and paint directly on the wall!
(Click here to download my template)


Hypo-allergenic bedding, and some of my favorite art helped to make this room one of my favorites in the whole house :)


DIY curtains:


And one detail of this gorgeous Tord Boontje curtain:



I am still on the hunt for the perfect chair to compliment the other pieces. But for now this room is done! Ah, I feel fortunate to have such a lovely place to wake up to each morning.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You are a bird in the storm.


"There is no escape. You can't be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don't try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much have you lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. My God, what a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror man is- particularly the artist- particularly myself!"

                                                                                        -Hermann Hesse

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Nest: Part III


Alright, three rooms down and a few more to go...

This was our first glimpse of our bathroom :|


So Jon began stripping the floor. My nephew, Taylor helped Jon and our good friend, Brian, finished the stripping job down on the floor with a pair of needle nose pliers. (we have the best friends!)





Jon bid and won this piece from an art auction called Art & Music Saves Lives. All of the proceeds went towards Breedlove''s relief efforts in Haiti.