this is going to be hard.

My entire life, I've kept my personal life personal. 

Starting now (and technically since last night), I am changing that, and making my personal life public.

Here's why:

1) I've struggled to keep a diary for my entire life.

Writing to myself, FOR myself, always felt self-indulgent.

Not that it's any less self-indulgent to presume anyone wants to know this much about me, but at least it doesn't feel as self-indulgent if others might learn from it.  

2) I'm forgetful.

It's really, REALLY hard for me to remember things, both simple and complex, sometimes even just hours after they happen.

This means I unfortunately lose a lot of memories, ideas, and thoughts.
Recording and writing down is my effort to preserve the best ones.

3) I want real connections.

My relationships with people (save a special few) are limited to polite conversation or jokes. 
I say I'm worried about offending people, but I'm really just afraid of being vulnerable and exposing myself to people.
That last sentence makes it sound like I might enjoy flashing people, so please don't take it out of context.

The point is, I'm just realizing life's way too short to worry about making an ass of my self, or to avoid amazing opportunities out of fear.

4) I want to share things with you.

If you're a fan, you're going to be able to learn about me.

First and foremost, I want you to know about my incredible family, Michele (human) and Eddie (not so human). 

You'll also have the opportunity to learn the origins and secrets behind your favorite piece, watch your ideas come to life in real-time, peek into brainstorming sessions where I work through new piece/project concepts, participate in contests, and much more stuff I can't think of right now.

It might also just be fun to joke around to joke around with each other while I draw, like a virtual studio visit.

 

If you are an aspiring artist of any age (or just want to be more creative), I can probably help you, too. 

I am grateful to say that I'm making it as an artist (thanks to the amazing support and generosity of my fans), but not without a lot of hiccups along the way.

No, I won't be able to tell you how to become world famous or make a best-selling __________, but I can chronicle my journey and share what I've learned from my successes and many, many mistakes. 

As a sufferer of creative blocks, I can also give tips for how to break them, with a library of reference books, tools, and practices I implement to keep my imagination flowing and the work coming.

Maybe you're not an artist or looking to be more creative.
Maybe you just want to be a fly on the wall, and get a glimpse into another person's life. 
Anyone who treats others respectfully is welcome.

Here's how I'll use social media and this blog going forward,  in order from least to most personal.

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1. The Blog

This will be the main hub; a collection of my best ideas, thoughts, pictures, and more, all categorized for your convenience. You'll also find contests and polls here. And great garlic bread.

Not actually the last part but I wanted to make sure you were still paying attention.

2. Facebook (Link)

This will be a space for sharing new pieces and making big announcements.

3. Instagram

A) @realweirdart (Link)

This is my main account, for publishing finished work and making big announcements. 

B) @realweirddoodles (Link)
 
I host live doodling sessions, where you tell me what to doodle and I doodle it live.
Like a tuna can prankcalling an ex-boyfriend or a carrot and broccoli reading in bed.

4. Live Streaming (Link)

I spend time each morning and throughout the day brainstorming new ideas and working on current projects.
Feel free to chime in with comments and questions at this time.

In the evening, I will broadcast a show.
I'm currently doing live doodle show, but more are coming soon.

Have an idea for a show you'd like me to host?
Let me know in the comment section below!

5. Twitter (@realweirdart):

This will be my stream of consciousness, my life's minutia.

Snapshots of my life, process, random thoughts, quotes, announcements, and the like.

From debating which project to work on next, to technical issues, glimpses into my workflow, down to the latest oils Michele is trying to slather on my face.

You'll also get asked random questions, find out-of-context quotes and moments from home, and endure bad puns that I already know are bad before I hit "send."

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If you're confused about this new direction Real. Weird. Art. is going, you're not alone.

I am scared.
And excited. 

Wish me luck.

"and I spent the next part of my chronological existence as an infant freefalling down its very first identity crisis."

Hey Matt,

Is Matt too forward? 

I internally debated until landing on the theory that any customer of mine is now a friend of mine, and since Matt is what I call every friend named Mathew I know (admittedly only one), then your name is now Matt. 

If that seems weird to you, you should know that everyone else who meets you engages in a similar struggle. 

If you're like me, you already know, and there's a teensy tiny secret part of you that relishes being responsible for it. 

(And if so, don't be ashamed, we all got our thing.)

What I should call you got me thinking about what I call me, because it wasn't my first name.

I was born Michael Joe Allgood, after another Michael, my father's best friend at the time.

I say "at the time" because father may have a new best friend now. We don't talk about stuff like that. He probably wouldn't want me to tell you either way, so I won't bother calling him at work to ask. But know that I seriously considered it.

Anyway, right around the moment I was beginning to really understand the concept of identity, having this revelation that I had my very own identity, "Michael", in this ever-expensive universe, that precious gift was promptly ganked away.

Suddenly I became Joey, a bastardization on my middle name, and I spent the next part of my chronological existence as an infant freefalling down its very first identity crisis.

In other words, if there is a god, it probably likes my sense of humor.

Anyway, now I'm only "Michael" to car salesmen, because I know they'll call me "Mike" when they think that I trust them. 
I plant it like a secret alarm to alert Future Me when we might be trapped in the gravitational pull of his vortex of lies.

I might be a lot of things, but I ain't no Mike, buddy.

I've never sent an order status update like this before, but then again, you have to have expected it on at least SOME level, considering the name of the site you ordered from.

So please thank whoever named you Matthew, for creating this spark of inspiration to speak to you in earnest.

Or blame them, I guess, if it was too weird.

Your friend,

Joey

"statistically closer to 1/3 of a horse, but that's just gross to think about."

Hey Amy,

It's hasn't been easy to articulate my appreciation for folks who support my work by purchasing pieces, but since I'm trying a new thing where I share way too much of myself in the order status updates I send out, I thought now might be a great time to tell you just how much your support means to me. 

[It feels only right to tell you that some or all of these words may be sent to people in the future. I hope you'll understand that this isn't intended to dilute my words, but rather that I would prefer spend more time creating the stuff you and I care about and less time writing and re-writing a simple truth.]

So, thank you. 

I don't know how you found my work (although I'd love to find out if you're willing to share) but that doesn't really matter.

All that matters is that you took your (presumably) hard-earned money and spent it on three things I made, and directly supported this dream of a life that I'm living.

Growing up in a one-horse (statistically closer to 1/3 of a horse, but that's just gross to think about) town in rural Indiana, I never dreamed one of my weird ideas would ever actually exist, much less provide for myself and the woman I love (plus our cat Eddie, but his vices are inexpensive).

My life has taken some unexpectedly delightful turns in the past couple of years, and as I look toward an uncertain future, I am eternally grateful when the colloquial (and in this case, literal) you spurs this dream along with your support.

You are amazing, and awesome, and I thank you from the bottom, the top, and all the middle bits of my heart.

Your friend,

Joey