Fresh off a summer trip to Japan, I returned to New York in July full of inspiration—the kind that you just have to get out on to paper. With my rekindled love of Japanese prints/patterns and a very specific creative vision brewing in my head, August turned into the perfect storm. All the while, a question that was posed to me at a conference last year had been slowly working its way into my psyche:
“Because you have power, who in turn is flourishing?”
One could easily replace “power” with other commodities such as time, skills, abilities, or resources. Every one of us possesses something that can be used for the flourishing of another. I think back to the friends (and even strangers) who gave me their time, their gifts, their words, or maybe just their ears when I needed them. I am consistently humbled by the sacrificial generosity of those around me. In my own life, I find that busyness is often the greatest enemy to human flourishing. Personal work has become so much more important to me this year than ever before—no longer a maybe, but a must. Creating things for the sake of creating has helped me reconnect with unfinished ideas and rediscover why I love what I do so much. It’s given me a lot of freedom to experiment with no one watching.
So, looking for an opportunity to play with different mediums, as well as create for the sake of creating, I was reminded that most times you just have to initiate those opportunities yourself. I had a dream of drawing all over a dark-colored wall with gold paint pens—the metallic sort that ignites when the sun hits it just right, and recesses when in shadow. I envisioned a vast, open interior space somewhere in New York City, with beautifully worn wood floors and an abundance of natural light. Unsure whether this ideal location even existed, I moved forward.
When I put out feelers to my circle here in the City, my friend Michael Rudzena providentially had the keys to the exact kind of space I was envisioning—a second-floor loft space in a Tribeca landmark built in 1857 with original wood flooring, and two large windows on the South wall. And most importantly, an 11’x36’ wall already painted in a deep charcoal color. After learning all this, I must’ve sat back in my chair and laughed to myself.
From there, I quickly looped in my dear friend, Andrew Shepherd—whose storytelling abilities, photography, and cinematography have endlessly inspired me over the last few years—to capture the whole process on video. I desired to bring this idea into existence simply for the joy it brought me. Yet, I also knew that the vision I had inside me was (hopefully) something worth sharing with the world. We loaded into the space on Monday, August 26th and wrapped that Wednesday evening.
And now two months later, I’m excited to share the process with you. Please consider this video a personal thank you letter from me to all those (read: you) who have put their weight, time, resources, and energy behind me these last few years. I hope to do the same for you. —dt