A couple of weeks ago, my friend who has been doing my website and album art for more than a decade told me he can’t do the job anymore. Total bummer because he is brilliantly talented, but wonderful because the reasoning is that his more substantial work is taking off and he deserves it.

I have been working hard on all of websites and socials, getting everything uniform and rebranded in preparation for my Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary residency that starts next month, so it was rather frustrating timing. I moved forward quickly and met up with another graphic designing friend who has come up with an outstanding new logo for me, but she can’t really commit to designing the plethora of cover photos and headers and album art I need at once.

I found myself feeling so angry and frustrated yesterday. I really want to present myself as an artist in a professional way, but there is only so much I can expect from other artists on a budget/barter system. Honestly, that is exactly how it should be. As I work harder to respect my own work, it is imperative that I respect and lift up the work of others. But that left me feeling frustrated and discouraged. That nagging voice came back to me that says “This is why you should just stop this bullshit. You are making plenty of money as a teacher. You can’t be an artist. It’s too hard. It’s too complicated. You’re not good enough. Get a real job!

I stewed about it most of the day, but at some point a little glimmer came through: “you can do it yourself.”

Of course, my criticnegativeinnershittalker came up BIG time, but I kept thinking. I thought of artists like Christopher Willits whom I admire immensely and who has been, in many ways, my creative North Star. His work has always incorporated his own graphic design, and then photography and then film. Wouldn’t that be an interesting stream to dip my toe into? Then I thought of how drawn I have always been to the music/design aesthetic at Ghostly International. Then I saw that I could get a monthly subscription to Photoshop CC for ten bucks a month, and remembered that I taught myself Ableton Live via YouTube and used those skills to make my own solo show and album. Well, then I talked to my tirelessly creative and wonderful friend luke kurtis who does all of his own everything.

And then I thought:


And now I feel empowered and alive and thrilled with the idea of creating a visual aesthetic that goes with the music and words I create. I am energized and curious about where this road will take me and how it will weave itself into my work. I’m excited about the designers I have followed over on ello with quiet admiration who I now realized were planting seeds in my garden by sharing theirs, fully bloomed.

I feel happy and satisfied to be on this creative journey, in spite of the pitfalls. Maybe it’s even because of the pitfalls. Right? That seems to be where I have the greatest potential to wake up and climb.


2 thoughts on “Wake up and climb.

  1. Janice Young

    You my friend are an inspiration to me! I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile but too scared my own mind can not process like it used to. The site is beautifully done. Brava!!!!

    1. Michael Harren

      Janice! I was really scared to get in there and screw with things, but once I did it turned out to be a little easier than I thought it would be. Let me know if I can help you get rolling!

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