Just five days into the year, I celebrated my 33rd birthday with my nephew Ryder and brother-in-law, Shaun, at a Nuggets game. It was a magical night I will never forget.
While recovering from the holidays, I spent the first week of the month painting two large, wooden paintings just to see if I could. It was a blast and I hope to paint somewhat regularly in the future. Annie joined in the fun and made two precious little paintings for her two pregnant best friends, Bethany and Madison.
Sometimes, January can be a slow month work-wise, but we were both quite busy. Annie grinded away in her office balancing her clients 2017 books while I worked on a Nike Basketball “Equality” installation at the Nike SoHo store in New York as well as a Nike installation at the Mall of America for Super Bowl 52.
In our off-time, we spent a bunch of time with our Pretty People Pictures partner, Jon Stevenson. When we weren’t playing every VR game we could find on his new HTC Vive in his garage, we were collecting Power Moons in Mario Odyssey on my new Nintendo Switch. When we weren’t playing video games, we were working on Jon’s first feature film, Rent-A-Pal.
The month ended with extremely exciting news that we secured $25,000 from an investor and can now start reaching out to actors. Looks like things will stay busy for a bit.
3 days after we secured financing, the stock market crashed and our investor pulled out. We were back to square one and took a break on prepping Rent-A-Pal. Aw, the movie biz.
As a change of pace and to do something fun and creative, Annie, Jon and I made a music video using glowsticks, ferrofluid and macrophotography. It was a fun day of playing with glowing ink, blasting music and making creepy liquidy magic. It was so fun, we're hoping to make a series of videos just like it.
I worked on another Nike project for New York Fashion Week as well as a Denver Art Installation called RiNo Side Stories. At Futuristic Films, we spent three days building a custom fish tank and filled it with fish and ink (not at the same time) where it was projected on the side of a building for the final week of February. Annie spent her off time creating a new private Instagram account where she posts her art and doodles. I would link it here, but the anonymity is what makes it stress free and fun.
After spending the first six weeks of the year at Futuristic, I created three new graphics packages for Drift Masters, British Drift Championship and Irish Drift Championship. It was a busy job with a lot of details, but it was fun to work at home for a few weeks.
In the little off-time that I had, I made three new paintings. A gift to Jon for his office and two "Better Than People" paintings. The three of us also played a LOT of Puyo Puyo Tetris and Annie and her Mom made plans to go to England in September! Holy crap!
Even though I thought I was all finished with Drift Masters, British Drift Championship and Irish Drift Championship, I ended up spending the first couple weeks of the month finishing up this job. Much like the tournaments themselves, it was a great race to final deadline to get everything in shape for Adrenaline Garage. I also finally delivered the VFX work I did for the upcoming horror film Hoax! I started working on this project last October, so it felt great to finally be done with it all.
Once that was finished, I was back at Futuristic helping out with a cool Reebok installation starring Devonte Freeman, Gigi Hadid and Ariana Grande. After a few days on that project, I quickly jumped to this year's Colorado Lottery 360 VR Project. This year's video focused on Ben Berand, an Olympic Ski Jumper who just returned from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The VR experience was centered around one of Ben's big ski jumps. It was easily the most awesome VR project I've worked on to date.
Annie had her busy time of the season, wrapping up taxes for our plethora of companies as well as the ones she works for. If we weren't watching basketball or playing Tetris, I was usually over at Jon's playing more VR. Jimmy and Jon beat Arizona Sunshine which Jimmy swears is the "best gaming experience of his life." We also discovered our local donut shop, Walton's Donuts, was/is delicious and quickly turned it into a weekend tradition. To make it even better, they bake Texas-style Kolaches. Needless to say, we won't stop frequenting there any time soon.
By the end of the month, Annie and I did everything we could to get ready for our family vacation to Hawaii. We were both busy with work and to make matters worse, we both got bad colds. However, we were able to plan it out and schedule it so both of us were feeling MUCH better by the time we actually left for Hawaii.
While sitting at home sick, Jimmy found himself embroiled in a Kardashian Instagram controversy. Kendall Jenner promoted her friends company (Pizzaboys) that is clearly a ripoff of an art collective Jimmy follows on Instagram (Pizzaboyzzz). Being friends with a lot of people involved, Jimmy posted "a statement" about it on Instagram which was quickly reposted by Pizzaboyzzz and somehow became the unofficial "image" of the Pizzaboyzzz protest. The post spread everywhere online and even made its way to Seventeen.com. After following so many Kardashian controversies over the years, it was weird to be kind of sort of involved with one.
I continued painting! I made a Saved by the Bell piece based on one of my favorite photos from the show. Cardi B had a viral outburst about where our American tax money actually goes that I found kind of funny, so I painted a tribute piece for that. And shortly the Kardashian/Instagram controversy, I painted a "I stole this idea from someone on Instagram" piece.
The month ended with Annie and Jimmy on a plane on their way to Hawaii!
April was certainly one for the books. On April Fool's Day, me, Annie, Laura, Shaun, Ryder and my Mom traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii. Annie and I were still pretty sick so the flight out there was rough. But it wasn't long before everyone was relaxing in the big house we rented while taking daily ventures to the beach and pool. During the trip, my Mom, Shaun and I explored a cave but I got freaked out a couple miles in and turned around. There was also a LOT of time spent with Ryder, which was a special treat.
The biggest event took place just before we left. I took Annie to a beach by ourselves, got down on one knee and proposed to Annie. It was a magical moment that we will both never forget. And about 10 minutes after we got engaged, we decided not to tell anyone until we got married.
Once we got back, I spent the next week painting more stuff. I made two Simpsons paintings, one of "Sad Bart" that represents the depression I feel when the NBA season comes to an end. The other was "This is the worst day of my life" which is a popular meme that accurately expresses my day-to-day feelings. I also wanted to make two more wooden "Statement" paintings so I made a "Beer is Gross" and "I Hate the Beach" painting.
The calm relaxation of vacation and week of painting was quickly wiped away by two-three weeks of being double booked. As soon as I was booked for a few weeks at Futuristic, a new client along with a new job, came along. I always try to work with new people to add to my network, so I didn't want to turn it down. For the next few weeks, I would wake up at 7:30 am, send off any last minute emails or renderings to the new client, go to Futuristic until 6pm, come home, eat dinner and then work until midnight before starting the process over the next day. Before the "at-home" project was even finished, he offered another job that I would moon light as well. I turned that one down.
When I wasn't working (or, sometimes while I was working) we watched the end of the NBA regular season and start of the playoffs. The Nuggets season ended with a bang. It was an all-or-nothing, loser goes home, game seven-type final regular season. It couldn't have been more exciting. Even though our boys didn't win in the end, it was one of the best games of the year and a hell of a way to end the season. I can't wait for next year.
When we weren't working or watching basketball, we were pretty bored. Jon got hired to travel the world and film a super cool TV show with Kal Penn. Meanwhile, Annie and I stayed home, played Puyo Puyo Tetris and any other video game we could find to occupy our time. Annie found the old typewriter Jon and Brandon Fryman gave me after our Arrow commercial shoot. She got it fixed up and has been typing letters and keeping up with her correspondence.
May seemed to be the "fastest" year so far. My stay at Futuristic turned into a two and a half month contract through mid-July. So until August, I basically have a day job. After tax season, a Hawaiian vacation and a number of other big expenses, the steady work is a nice break. The projects have been pretty fun too! Besides your normal day-to-day editing tasks, I've made a 15 second video compilation of the VR projects I made for Colorado Lottery. The montage will play in movie theaters to advertise Colorado Lottery's handful of VR experiences. So that's pretty cool! I'm also working on yet another Nike installation at the Nike Store in Soho, New York. This time it's for the World Cup. The amount of big-name projects I've worked on this year thanks to Futuristic and Hovercraft Studios has been insane.
Pretty much every day, I'd go to work, come home and Annie and I make dinner and watch the NBA Playoffs, then play some Tetris, then go to bed. It got to the point where there was a game every single night of Memorial Day weekend. It was a lot of basketball and will truly be missed when it's over. The NBA Finals start tomorrow night. It's ending soon :(
Annie's back and neck gave her lots of troubles throughout the month. It made the easiest things (sleeping, watching TV, reading in bed) miserable for her, so that was a struggle. With the constant stream of projects and while still recovering from being double-booked, my carpel tunnel really flared up too. There were a couple weekends where Annie and I were basically bedridden with all kinds of different wraps, ice packs, heating pads and other remedies strapped to various parts of our bodies. It was a mess.
Once we started feeling better, Annie and I finally got back into the swing of getting stuff done around the house! We cleaned the basement storage room, added curtains to the guest room and reorganized it, cleaned up our back patio and ordered patio furniture, the works. In fact, the moment I attached the hose to our house and prepared to spray off our back patio was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. For some reason, that was the first time in my life I actually felt like an adult in his early 30s who owned a house. It was truly weird.
With basketball finally and truly coming to an end, Annie and I have finally started to put in the effort to watch more movies! I'm VERY excited about this. Just over Memorial Day Weekend, we watched Ex Machina, Ingrid Goes West, 13 Hours and even a TV-showing of Point Break. And after nearly a month of avoiding spoilers, Annie used her Regal gift card to score us TWO free tickets to Avengers: Infinity War. Since we saw it so long after it was initially released and at 10:20am, we were literally the only two people in the theater. That means we got a FREE and PRIVATE screening to Infinity War ... which was fucking awesome by the way ...