Getting Serious

Just a note, this post is a duplicate from my new blog at Websterville.net. I won’t double post often, but since it’s my first one over there, I figured I could hype it a little extra.

So, here it is, the all new Websterville.net! I’ve been working non-stop to get this site up and running, and I’m very happy with the way it has turned out. I’d love to get feedback on the new look, so feel free to leave a comment.

If you’ve been following my page from the beginning, you know that this site is not the same site that was on Websterville.net a week ago. The look is different, the focus is different, and even the hosting and framework for the page are different. I really liked my last page and the company that I worked with to put it together was great. You can make some really great sites with them, especially if you’re building a site for a church. It was a really difficult decision to leave that site and make this one. I may have even hurt some feelings in the process. So why did I make the change?

It all came down to one question: Do I want to do graphic design/website building as a side business or is it is going to be my real job?

When I built my first site, I knew I wanted to do graphic design, but I didn’t have any real focus. The site was scattered, with links to 100 different project types and the general message seemed to be, “I’m desperate. Please hire me.” Even though I can still work on all types of projects, if I wanted to be serious about graphic design, I had to find my focus.

Since launching Websterville.net, I have been blessed with a pretty steady stream of work and a majority of it has come from small business owners wanting me to build them a website. After investigating my options for site building and trying a lot of possibilities, I’ve fallen in love with building sites using WordPress and the Headway Theme. (See why here.) After working on six or seven sites this way and getting completely sold on the idea, I realized that if I was serious about selling this to clients, I had to get on board myself.

If graphic design was just going to be my hobby or side business, I could keep my old site. If I was serious about making sites for living, I had to make some hard decisions and build a new site.

I chose to start getting serious.

I am now a full time freelance graphic designer making websites mainly for small businesses. I love my new WordPress site and the control I have over every element. I love working with clients and delivering websites and graphics that make them happy and help their businesses. I love learning new ways to customize the sites I build with CSS and HTML. I love the freedom that freelancing offers. I’m serious about graphic design now and I’m seriously happy about it.

Ready For Some Raw Rock

Tomorrow night, Alanna and I heading to Rocketown in Nashville to destroy our eardrums at a concert featuring Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Showbread, and a couple more hard hitting rock bands. I’m pumped! Plus, this is going to be Taylor’s first concert! (Don’t worry, we have solid ear protection for him. Ben’s first concert was a Family Force 5/tobyMac show from the third row when he was just a few months old too.) Usually I’m down in the mosh pit with all the rowdy teenagers, but with the baby there, I think for this show I’ll get up in the balcony and watch. This seems like the type of music that could inspire a little aggressive behavior.

I realize that most of my blog readers (i.e., parents) probably have never heard of these bands, so I’m gonna post a couple of videos below. You won’t be able to see them through the email updates, so make sure and go to the blog to check them out. Showbread and Maylene are definitely Christian bands, but they know how to rock as hard as any other band out there.

First up, here’s a little Maylene and the Sons of Disaster for you. Heavy Southern metal with a little screaming thrown in for good measure. In the midst of the screams, you get lyrics about having faith in the midst of trials, “Thank God grace has come my way. Tomorrow hope awaits living closer to the end.,” and having bold faith, “I’ll never stop believing, but today I’ll stop the pleasing. Lay it all down and the judging will come. To people like you we’ll never be good enough,” Solid Christian themes and some of the most aggressive Southern metal out there.

Next, Showbread is definitely not your typical Christian band. Their lyrics are full of symbolism and can be challenging. Their latest album is a double disc entitled Anorexia Nervosa and is the soundtrack for an extended allegory about the futility of a life lived for either selfish pleasure or for good works for one’s own gain. Heavy stuff there. Here’s one of their older songs… last time I checked it was one of the most played songs on my iPod.

It’s going to be an awesome night. I offered to take some of the teenagers in the youth group with me, but they all decided it was a little too hard for them. Maybe I’m not that old after all.

Edit: At the show, I was also introduced to another band I like now, Attack Attack.

Subculture?

Originally posted on my MySpace blog.

I’m always excited when I hear a Christian artist getting some radio play on a secular station. I was especially excited on my way to work this morning though because I hear two underground Christian artists getting some play on my favorite radio station, 90.3 WUTK, the University of Tennessee’s college radio station. College radio is great because you never know what you’ll hear. They’re willing to take risk and play stuff you’re definitely never going to hear on top 40 corporate radio.

When I flipped over to the station, I heard a hip hop song that I thought was pretty awesome and then midway through the song the guy gave shout outs to Deepspace5 and Lightheaded. I love these groups, soI called the station and found out the song was by Ohmega Watts, a member of the Lightheaded crew that I just discovered a few weeks ago. A couple of songs later, I heard the unmistakable sound of Danielson. If you’ve never experienced the Danielson Famile, well, it’s definitely an experience. To hear such great music by Christian artists stuck in next to a song with the F-bomb bleeped out at least once every 30 seconds was a pretty cool experience. Maybe someone hears that song and, just like me, calls to find out who the artist is. Maybe that artist then influences their life in someway through the message of the music. That’s what Christian music should be all about. Listen to good Christian artists. Listen to college radio (and don’t let corporate radio tell you what songs you should like.) Request good Christian music on their request line.

Anyway, all this to say, these artists wouldn’t be getting any play if they weren’t putting out music that’s up to par with what secular artists are putting out. Christian music has come a long way since I was in highschool. I remember when dcTalk released Supernatural on Forefront (Christian label) and Virgin (secular label) at the same time. The way some people talked about it, you would have thought they’d made a deal with Satan. But, the music got out into the secular world. “Just Between You and Me” got a lot of play and paved the way for Mercy Me to hit the top of the secular chart with a praise song. People were slow dancing at their high school proms to a song about heaven and what it will be like to be face to face with the One who created us. It blows me away.

As Christians, we’re called to do everything for the glory of God. To me, that means that we should strive to be excellent in all that we do, including making music. The stereotype is that Christian music is usually just a crappy knock-off what’s popular, but some really unique, excellent artists are changing that perception. I love it. We’re also called to be salt and light in a dark world. Christian artists on the college station is pretty dang salty.

Scary Art?

Originally posted on my MySpace blog.

I’ve always loved horror entertainment. This is a big thing for me to admit because horror fans are always treated like we should be a little ashamed of liking to be scared, like we’re somehow a little sick for reading books and watching movies about ghosts, the living dead, psychosis, vampires, werewolves, and the boogeyman. I’m coming out of the creaking closet and taking a stand for scary books, movies, and old time radio shows (yes, even those).

Can something be horrifying and also be art? I just watched a haunting movie from Korea called A Tale of Two Sisters. This movie definitely had some scary moments. Even more, this movie was beautiful and touching in a profound way. I was moved by the sadness in this film more than I was scared. Horror can be art. I could go into a big discussion about catharsis and confronting fears, but I’d rather not.

But you know what? Horror doesn’t have to be art. It can be cheap and exploitive… and I’ll still enjoy it. I’m just thinking with my keyboard, not attempting to justify my interest. Maybe I’ll take this issue up again some other time when I’m a little less tired and a lot more articulate.

Eden

Here’s the only other drawing that I’ve scanned so far. It’s another one I did for Alanna called Eden. I hope you all are liking these. Let me know what you think. (See, I like to consider myself an artist, and artists are needy people. Affirmation! I need it!)

More Drawings

I’ve had a few requests to post more drawings. I drew this one a few years back (while I supposed to be paying attention to a history class.) It’s from a photo I had of my sister in her ballet costume. I’ll post others as I get around to scanning them.