To My Sixteen Year Old Self,

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To my sixteen year old self,

Don’t worry friend, it gets better.
Not easier, but better.
Not simpler, but better.

Once you stop focusing on everything that makes you angry and begin putting energy into what makes you happy.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find, the one thing you’ve been searching for all this time.

A little peace of mind.

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What a find.
There I was, packing my worldly possessions when I began going through some old art stuff.  I found this gem stuck between a self portrait (omg I created that thing… smh) and a poster size rendition of a superhero based on myself.

This was from 2000.  I imagine it was a school project, because I can clearly remember my younger self firmly disliking collages (I felt it was cheating using other peoples work… Which is hilarious considering how much I enjoy creating Photograph Composites in Photoshop now :D), so I can only imagine this being a school assignment for my 10th grade art class.

I took a picture of the collage and decided to post it, but the picture wasn’t clear at all (camera phone), so instead of pulling out my real camera, I decided I’d play with some image adjustment layers in Photoshop and see if I couldn’t make the image more readable.

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I did and after cropping it, I surely felt it was a step in the right direction, but I still wasn’t content.  Maybe part of this need to go farther was influenced by the fact about an hour later on a food break I realized I did not post anything yesterday, thus missing my first day all month.

:Shakes Angry Fist at the Sky:

So, I decided I’d play with some filters and see what would happen.

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I settled on a texture filter (Filter>Filter Gallery>Texture>Texturizer) and played with the idea of erasing the borders of the original image, with my waterbrush brush I created the other day.

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Well I couldn’t stop there…

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Border was starting to disapear, but now I had this floating madness I needed to connect with everything else.

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I began working up the shapes and volume.
But when I began adding outlines, to separate the different photographs from each other I saw a real difference.  I also painted over some of the letters with a bright white to make the sentences easier on the eyes.

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Happy with how it was looking I saved it as a jpg (50% of it’s size) and then opened it back in Photoshop and added another texture filter to unify the whole image.

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I ended up going back and lowing the settings on that filter, which helped it not look so Photoshopped, but the hand coming down from the clouds really felt flat and just stuck out to my eye.  So I did the squinty eye thing and just looked at the shapes, colors, and values.

That bottom right corner just stuck out as a dead zone, with the “Question Mark” floating by itself, disconnected from everything else.  So I began getting rid of the straight lines by adding more cloud like stuff that matched the angle of the arm coming down from the clouds, which seemed to bring everything together seamlessly.

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After a couple hours of work, I brought my sixteen year old concept out of the dusty tombs of my cardboard high school portfolio and into the digital world of my wordpress blog.

*Side note – This is why I suck at packing.  I always managed to get suckered into taking a trip down memory lane and loose focus on the task at hand.  Luckily when I look at the collage, I feel like my younger self is giving me a thumbs up.  🙂

All is well.
One more post and I beat my best record of 28 posts in one month.

-Jesse

“Stop with the labels… because we are not jam jars; we are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.”  – Caroline Casey

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