work

FLIGHT

Posted in work on April 5th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on FLIGHT

I am not the same person I was three years ago.

I am leaner, but not meaner. I am confident, patient, stronger, and wiser. I am committed to both artistic and personal growth. I am committed to a lifetime of minimalism, moderation, and simplicity. I am committed to a lifetime of art, advocacy, charity, healing, and spirit of service through my work.

I am committed to living with purpose. I know who I am.

I am formidable.

Please allow me to reintroduce myself.

FLIGHT 8″ × 10″ India ink on 140lb hot press watercolour paper. Lines inked by brush, with texturing done by 100-year-old crow quill pen given to me by friend and fellow artist Lance Ward. Details and original for sale at Etsy.

Pre-order my 2018 T-shirts and Happy Rats colouring books at Etsy.

FLIGHT

My newest video is complete — slightly later than I planned, but the bird took a tremendous amount of effort. Each of these projects becomes a little more complicated and ambitious, and I thoroughly enjoy blurring the lines between so many varying art forms. There are no boundaries to true creativity.



These are among the greatest works that I have created so far, and among the weakest works that I have yet to do. The road ahead of me is long, and I am only getting started. Have no doubt, I will make the journey.

Happy Happy Rats

Posted in general, work on March 13th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Happy Happy Rats

Another four days off this week. The fogginess is clearing away from my head and it feels like I can breathe again. Stephen has been giving me much more space, and my productivity is increasing proportionally. Yesterday I went back to the gym for the first time since before the holidays. I am starting out with a trainer to learn how to correctly use the free weights. The plan is to come up with a three-times-per-week workout aimed at building strength that will be the most efficient use of my limited time. My weight loss is also starting to plateau around 120lbs. I have been holding off on the gym in anticipation of that. The addition of hard cardio and starting weight training should hopefully help shed the last 10lbs to my target. Once I am the size I want to be, focus will shift to health and strength, rather than the number on the scale.

Losing more weight has aged me somewhat as my face has thinned out, but I have found that I actually like it. Whatever has been happening to me over the past year, and even moreso in the past few months, I feel much older. In a good way. Perhaps saying I feel more mature might be a preferable way to phrase it. Not that I don’t enjoy a good fart joke, but overcoming my anxiety and self-control issues came with an indescribable aura of adultness.

This poor painting, languishing for two years in the background of most of my in-office videos, is finally finished. Happy Happy Rat No. 0007 is the next in a series of no-two-exactly-alike Happy Rat paintings, none of which since 0001 will have prints made. Starting later this summer, I plan to begin producing at least one per week, and have them displayed at local Twin Cities venues to the general public (coffee shops, antique/resale shops, galleries, etc). There are also several comic stores soon to be carrying my mini-comics.

Happy Happy Rat No 0007

There is also a Happy Happy Rats colouring book in the works, planned to be ready-to-ship by the end of April. Visitors to my Instagram will have seen the pages as I am drawing them. The originals are for sale fairly inexpensively in my Etsy shop. I might do a colouring book pre-order with the T-shirts.

Am I happy? Honestly, I do not know. Sometimes I am. Even often. But other times I am overtaken by a sense of nebulous loss, and of restlessness. I am coming to the conclusion that it is not in the creative nature to be happy or content for very long. Creativity and stagnation are antithetic to each other. I believe it is stagnation that is at the root of my depression — in myself, and when exposed to it too much in the people around me. It is not my place to judge other’s life choices or priorities, but time is so very precious. Right now I have managed to surround myself with dynamic and growth-minded people. I need to challenge myself, and I need to be challenged by my environment. I am not the same person that I was only two years ago, and in another two years, I will be different still. I want to live to my fullest potential, and be the best version of myself that I can. Let nothing be squandered. I have goals, and an actionable, realistic plan to achieve them. For the first time in my life, I have patience. Keep working on myself, and let things happen naturally.

Clean

Posted in work on March 8th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Clean

Thanks to a serendipitous blizzard Monday afternoon, I had four consecutive days off this week. Though I have been distressed again about the volume of stuff in my apartment, after around two days I finally, FINALLY started to feel a little better. For my birthday, I got an overdue phone upgrade, and I have recently purchased an inexpensive assortment of lights, mounts, and tripods to better help me accomplish my ideas on my own. Monday I headed out as the storm blew in, and captured some footage that I have been planning for weeks. The perfect conditions finally presented — fast heavy snowfall, during daylight hours, while I was available, with temps in the mid-30Fs so I would not freeze to death. I still have some footage to make, in addition to creating the core artwork timelapse for this video. And now I am using different video editing software, which will slow me down, but ultimately be good because it has many more capabilities and options. New video ready by April, I think?

Blizzard

As of tonight, the Queen of Assholes website is live. The next few pages are in progress, including the “playing card” Queen logo to be offered as a T-shirt presale in the coming weeks. There will also be a second printing of the Stop Fuckin’ Around T-shirt so please watch for that, especially if you need one of the extra+ large or small sizes. I am so ridiculously excited to make the room in my schedule to work on Queen — this book is going to be the intersection of everything that I have learned, experienced, and created, and stretch my artistic and storytelling abilities beyond anything I have ever attempted.

Queen of Assholes

The Have Tablet Will Scribble comics were pulled from that collection and given their own archive. That series will continue to be updated on an “as I feel like it” basis, as an outlet for Dollar Late and Lunch Break style material set in the present. Even though they are lower resolution than most of my work, I have printed them successfully, so I imagine at some point I will collect a smallish book of material. Currently I have about four to six written to draw.

Devilled Eggs

I will be live-streaming artwork soon via Twitch — schedule to be determined. Last week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the Indie Huntress for her website. Please give that a read! If you write for a blog, host a podcast, or participate in other media and would like to talk with me, please contact me by any method you prefer. As Queen of Assholes unfolds, I am passionate to discuss issues of forgiveness, personal growth, and self-acceptance.

Down to Business

Posted in work on October 17th, 2017 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Down to Business

Progress, progress, progress! After chipping away at the work all summer, my arts and crafts website is back up and available. I am still gradually adding in images, titles, and information. I upgraded the content management system behind the site, and at the same time, updated my photos website because it uses the same scripts. The newest version of the scripts required a rebuild of my whole custom theme from the ground up, something I learned when I accidentally broke my photos website earlier this year, rendering it unusable. I also had to finish some incomplete graphics. Currently I am working on my comics websites, setting up the pages for my new projects, and tweaking the old ones so they have a consistent look and layout. My To Do list for back-end maintenance is miles long, so I am segmenting it into manageable chunks.

About one year ago, I recorded the first two episodes of my podcast project, JIN ABOUT TOWN. I envisioned it as a fun way to unite many of my passions, such as autobiography, real-life stories, exploration, education, photography, food, and travel. It was also intended as a way to collaborate with my friends that is accessible to anyone, regardless of experience or professional status, so that I can share my little corner of the Internet spotlight with them.

I struggled with the audio editing, and eventually I moved on to other things. After setting this aside for so many months, something finally “clicked” and I was able to edit both of these pieces with ease. I am especially proud of the second episode, because I condensed roughly three hours of conversations into 45-minutes mostly on-topic. So I must pat myself on the back, just a little bit, for finishing what I started for once, and doing a pretty okay job.

Since these two outings I have purchased appropriate equipment, so quality should improve on future recordings. Getting back to this and knocking it out is a big personal acheivement for me! I feel much more confident in the ability to continue coming back to unfinished work, and tie up the loose ends.

My other podcast, COMIC BROS, has suffered from the difficulties coordinating three overworked, busy schedules. Now that I am more comfortable working with audio, I am looking forward to some “extended family” episodes with my MSP compatriots. (With the blessing of my original co-hosts, of course!)



The first of my two latest videos, QUEEN OF ASSHOLES, was created to tie in with my newest project of the same name — a chronological, tell-all graphic novel biography of the colourful, often dramatic, and sometimes questionable life that I have lived. The video is about my journey to the city of Saint Paul, where I have finally accepted and “found” myself, and a place to call home. It is about the freedom of embracing imperfection, and the joys of being true to yourself. It is also a love letter to some of my favourite places in Saint Paul.



The second video showcases highlights from MSP Fall ComiCon last weekend, with video footage generously and skillfully recorded by my friend Jon Heller. It was created to promote my convention appearances, especially the FREE 60-second sketch cards I debuted at this show. They were a smash hit with those who came to my booth! Feel free to share this video when requesting me at your local comic convention or event! I am dedicated to engaging and entertaining attendees at all of my exhibitions. Hey, umbrella twirling!



I feel very strongly, in the depths of whatever passes for my soul, that I am beginning the work that I was born to do. What, exactly, is art? What defines a comic, and what is the difference? Who is the arbiter, the judge, the jury drawing delineation between the realm of prestigious museums, and more ephemeral pop-culture? Are not all expressions of art the same end product of the basic human need to speak out, be heard, and be understood? Labels are completely artificial, limiting constructs and completely subjective. Is the crude street graffiti and pottery of ancient civilization not of equally profound value as the works of Picasso and Van Gogh? We might sit in awe at the skill of a hyper-realist, but it is the mad scribblings of a schizophrenic that offer us unique insight into the human psyche. I believe that all human expressions have intrinsic value and lessons to teach through shared perspective. David Bowie — a pop-culture figure — artist, actor, musician, and revolutionary that caused many to re-examine ourselves. We are saddled with a President that has broken down the walls between fictional “reality” television and blurred the boundaries of objective fact itself. Comedians and cartoonists carry the torch once wielded by journalists. With advancements in artificial intelligence, consciousness and the nature of life itself will soon come into question.

What am I? I could not exactly answer that, but I can tell you that it does not matter, not moreso than the process of actually being. All my adult life I have worn men’s clothing almost exclusively, and in many ways I am acutely aware of my femininity as a performative act. Yet I have never identified as anything but a straight woman. We are all the sum of expectations that our societies place upon us, and experiences that carve out the shape of our lives like a river through rock. The uniqueness of each path and voice is fascinating, and to be celebrated. I would only have you consider — are you going to discover and grow your headwaters, or simply drift? I choose to master myself.

I have been in a good head-space lately. Life is never perfect, of course, but I have received many excellent reviews at my day job, and I am getting much, much better at handling stress. The day after Fall ComiCon I came down with the nastiest cold I have had since moving to Minnesota — aches, chills, runny nose, cough, sore throat. My computer, after weeks of developing odd quirks and deteriorating performance, chose that day to finally stop working at all. I spent two days troubleshooting with a new video card, replaced the power-supply which was beginning to fail, and finally, I resolved critical overheating by successfully removing and replacing the CPU’s heatsink. I have assembled my own computers for years, but this is the first time I have had to solve a hardware problem without physical help. And I have always been intimidated by working with the processor chip. So to remove the heatsink, clean off the dried thermal paste, and reinstall the chip and heatsink without any damage was a big deal. I danced a happy jig in my office, and I am fairly certain the aftermarket heatsink runs cooler than the original build. Someone is donating a used computer for backup, as well, so I will not have my work interrupted in the future. I managed to eke out almost a full work week while sick.

This is my life — five days per week, I spend about nine and a half hours on my day job including my commute. Most days I have dinner and some quality time with Stephen. And then I devote the other two to four hours that I am awake to my projects. Artwork, comics, photos, writing, websites. Whatever strikes my fancy at that moment in time. I read a little bit, but I do not really watch television or movies. I spend money on almost nothing but necessities, project supplies, and business expenses. I do my best to visit a friend about once per week. There is almost no fat left to trim, my days are very full, but I do not feel anxiety about it. I feel a sense of calm, and intensity of focus, and resolve. I do it because I need to. I do it because I have to. I do it because it is who I am. I do it because I love it. I have turned my work into a meditative experience. Now I have to execute the transition to full-time artist again.

My inner fire will outlast all those who have tried to smother it.

[ Listen to this post. ↗ ]

MSP ComiCon 2017

Posted in work on May 22nd, 2017 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on MSP ComiCon 2017

WHAT A WEEKEND!!! SO MANY FIRSTS! MSP ComiCon 2017 was Saturday and Sunday, and what an amazing convention it was! Before I say anything else, I want to specifically thank all the volunteers that make this show possible!!! This was my third Springcon, but my first event participating in almost all of the volunteer activities, including set-up and break-down. Stuffing envelopes, distributing flyers, stuffing the grab bags, hauling and unfolding hundreds of tables and chairs and later pulling them down again! It is an UNBELIEVABLE amount of work! Thursday morning turned into Sunday evening in the blink of an eye — by the end of it all I was starving and tired, with raw blistered feet and a literally bruised body. But it is SO worth it! I can’t wait for next time!

I will not lie and claim it is IMPOSSIBLE to do the things I do alone, but having the right support makes ALL the difference! In the weeks I worked preparing for this convention season, my boyfriend Stephen and my best friend Al have been invaluable making sure I stay focused, fed, and rested. Thanks to their help, I was able to meet EVERY major goal I set for this show. My friend and fellow podcaster Mark Wise offered his graphic assistance with my drawings, so that I was able to finally assemble the dream booth I have been gradually building for the past two and a half years. When my nearly-new car decided to flood its engine and malfunction Friday afternoon — Al came to the rescue, getting my car to the dealership and my merchandise to the Grandstand. And my friends Lance Ward and Matthew Eng offered the extra hands needed for the beautiful backdrop. Stephen, a long-time volunteer with the convention, kept myself and everyone else at the show fed in the dining hall. (Even if he did give my Rockstar drink to someone else, haha!) Lastly, extra thanks to Al, and to Lance’s daughter, Ruth Ward, for being the best booth assistants!

My girl friend Taya is not mentioned above because she did not table with me this year — she has her very own space now. I am incredibly proud of her!

Part of my success belongs to you, and you inspire me to work!

Jin Wicked Booth

Thanks to the many people willing to purchase in advance, for the first time in my career I am selling screen-printed T-shirts! A T-shirt may seem like such an insignificant thing, but I have always struggled with designing them. Creating something people actually want to wear is a HUGE mental victory for me!

Stop F#ckin' Around

This was HANDS DOWN the best performance at a show I have ever had! We grossed as much as I have probably made at every other show in my career COMBINED. Most events I go into hoping to break even, with the main goal of exposing my work to new readers. I made a gamble ordering merchandise up front this year, and the excellent response at this show has taken a BIG bite out of that debt. I am so immeasurably grateful and thankful to all the people who have supported and continued to support me. Most of all, I appreciate the stories others share with me about how they have been inspired by my personal journey to pick back up their own creative passions, or to push their existing projects to the next level. You have one life, stop fuckin’ around!

Picture of Jin

This year I conquered the remaining vestiges of my anxieties and stage fright by carrying my mobile speaker and casually Rick-Rolling the entire convention floor, dancing down every aisle. Some scowled, some ignored me, some gave fist bumps, some laughed because I am an idiot, some laughed because they found it funny, and THE BEST people stopped and danced with me. Any way I can accomplish it, I want to make the world a bit more colourful and fun.

Autographed Baseball

Highlight of the show? Someone requested that I draw and sign a baseball. I do not normally do convention sketches (I prefer focusing on interaction with attendees), but that was too odd to deny. He was thrilled with it, win-win!

Stephen and I will be at BlizzardWorld in Mounds View, MN, on June 24th. He will mainly be vending Star Wars and Batman toys, but I will also likely have a few T-shirts and mini-comics available. Then I will be exhibiting at ChapelCon in Albert Lea, MN, the weekend of July 22-23. As always, you can find my full event schedule on my homepage. Expanding my range outside Minnesota is the next step! Please request me with the organizers of your local event!

Now that my convention preparations for this season and largest event are done, I am excited to shift my focus back to creating new artwork and comics, and getting my much-neglected body into the gym. I also have plans for more offerings through my Etsy store to come soon. Thank you all so much!!!