I recycled 14 years of sketchbooks today. Was really starting to take up some space, and I’ve never really liked having too many things. I did flip through them all one last time though. An experience that was part nostalgia, part rescue mission. I tore out and kept any page that held any ideas that were never seen through, or just plain forgotten about. I’m sure some still may have slipped through the cracks though.
It was fun finding scribbled notes in the margins here and there. Everything from questions I thought were important to ask on my first career job interview, to a list of things I needed in order to get settled at my first apartment I ever lived alone in. Plenty of directions and phone numbers to places and of people that I don’t remember. And to do lists, so many to do lists.
Flipping to the occasional personally potent illustrations brought me pause. Remembering how hard a time was or what I was feeling in that moment. This is something I do from time to time looking through Six Foot Giraffe, but running my palm across the actual page I drew on so many years ago is something different. Like reaching out and touching a piece of the past, wanting to tell my younger self connected to that page that we’re gonna be alright. Seemingly dramatic, I know, but very true.
If I’m being honest, writing these words is giving me a sudden sense of panic to leap out of this chair and rescue these relics of my life from that recycling bin. Preserving tangible facts that I was ever even here. But I still think it’s okay to let them go. I already preserved the works I thought to be important, keeping them safe here on this site. I even have them stored offline at a much higher resolution to preserve fidelity. So I tell myself again, it’s okay to let them go.
If I start losing sleep over it, recycle collection is still a few days out, so I may possibly be getting fitted for a hazmat suit this week. Luckily, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over many years making Six Foot Giraffe exactly what I need it to be. So I think I’ll be sleeping just fine tonight.
UPDATE: I panicked about 48 hours later. Got some gloves on and went on a rescue mission. I decided there’s value in having the work exist in some tangible form. Just not in the way of scattered throughout a stack of sketchbooks spanning over a decade. So I think I’ll make something of a coffee table book. Like this site, something that curates the meaningful parts in and organized and interesting way, but now in a tangible form. Until I complete that, there’s a chance I might need those sketchbooks. Maybe a file went missing, maybe I didn’t scan something at a high enough resolution. Who knows. I decided once it’s done, I’ll let them go for good.
Long Form Project. This one was kind of a loose one. Much of the work I share on Six Foot Giraffe is often made with more of a quantity mindset than a quality one. Quick visual experiments to satisfy a visual or technical curiosity. A post usually doesn’t take me more than an hour or three, from start to finish, and once I call it done, I never revisit it. There are exceptions where I spend a few days on a single longer post with a lot of writing, but in general it’s been a never ending mindset of quantity.
The idea for a long form project month was about seeing what I could come up with when I focused on quality instead of quantity. Coincidentally, as the year wore on, I already found myself working increasingly more and more on just a single project instead of my usual slew of one-offs. At that point, I didn’t know exactly what to do with the month.
As luck would have it though, my website unexpectedly broke one day, and I didn’t know how to fix it. I didn’t know how because I hired someone else to build it a few years back, instead of doing it myself. I reasoned that even if I could patch it up, the site would still have plenty of problems. It was poorly made from the start. So I decided to spend the month redesigning and rewriting the site’s code from scratch. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
It was kind of a tall order considering my knowledge of writing custom code for WordPress was pretty limited. That’s what’s kept me away from dealing with the site’s problems for so long. At first I was breaking more things than I was fixing, but day by day, little by little, I got it figured. My aim was to drastically simplify the site. Making it lightweight, responsive, and bringing what matters most to the foreground. I still have a long list of to-do’s, but it’s a start, and finally a way to take control of a situation that has bothered me for years now. I won’t ever need to hire anyone to touch Six Foot Giraffe again, making it that much more mine, and saving me several thousand dollars in the process. It was 31 days well spent.
10 years ago on this day I made my first post on Six Foot Giraffe. A doodle of a giraffe standing on a rocket blasting off through the stars. A bit of low-hanging fruit symbolizing the launch of my student portfolio site. I was twenty years old, and had no idea or expectation that my little website and modest doodles would end up largely shaping the course of my life and identity.
The past 10 years of Six Foot Giraffe have largely been a chronicle of my twenties. My achievements, failures, adventures, loves, and losses. It’s all here. Some written out in plain english, and others requiring a bit of reading between the lines. Memories the years might have stolen from me had I never stopped to reflect and share.
It’s also been my main outlet to fulfill my thirst to create. A place to make good art, bad art, and everything in-between. Somewhere to satisfy curiosities. It’s been fun and luminating for me to see how I’ve grown and changed artistically over the years.
What I’ve been doing here over the past 10 years has brought me joy, clarity and on occasion even resonates with others enough to inspire. Looking ahead, I have no doubt that this space will continue to grow and evolve. In to what, I can’t say. I do know that I’m just as in love with making art as I’ve ever been. I know that I’ll never stop.
To those who have supported and encouraged me all along the way, thank you. So much.
Hell, did that take a long time.
Six Foot Giraffe last saw a major redesign almost 5 years ago. It’s been long overdue to say the least.
I’ve made a lot of work over the years, and now I have tools in place that can help people (and myself) find things they’ve forgotten, or just plain never seen. Posts can have a lot more depth now too. I can write and show more, in higher detail.
A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. There’s a lot of nuances, and there’s still work to do, but in the meantime, I’m getting back to the art.
Hope you like it.
My one-thousandth post. Took me seven years. A lot of time and work. I wonder now, have I accomplished anything? Was I even trying to? Have I gotten back what I put in? Absolutely.
I started doing all this when I was twenty years old, jobless, and in college. Thought employers might like it. Turns out they did. It brought me 2,700 miles to California, and changed my life forever.
I’m twenty-seven now, and still at it. After seven years, my work now rests in the homes of good friends and total strangers. The times I live in have allowed it to be seen and appreciated by tens of thousands of people, across entire oceans and languages. Weird and awesome to think about. I never set out to accomplish any of these things, but I’m glad I have. I’m sure this is all sounding a bit pretentious, but I don’t care. I am proud of what I’ve done here.